Spirits, Wine, and Beer Sampling, Tasting, and Activations Utilizing a Blue Ocean Strategy Six Paths Framework. Our Final Path: Looking Across Time

We have been looking at Blue Ocean Strategy’s Six Paths Framework as part of a company’s move to uncontested market space and growth. For a quick reminder and for context here is a graphical reminder of what the Six Paths are.

Six Paths Framework for Spirits, Wine, and Beer Marketing

The final path is looking across time. In the context of what role time plays in the exercise, think in terms of trends.

Note the objective is to adopt trends and then ultimately SHAPE them.

In looking at trends across time let us first qualify what constitutes a trend.

1) A trend will significantly shape what buyers value over time.

2) A trend is irreversible. Once the shift takes place, there is no turning back.

3) A trend shows a clear trajectory up or down.

I’ve identified the three biggest marketing and sales trends in the sampling and activation of alcohol brands.

TREND ONE – Experiential Sampling and Tasting

Brands are adopting unexpected sampling experiences for consumer entertainment and pleasure. Realizing that consumer loyalty requires more than just unique flavors and packaging, alcohol brands are turning to bar and store features that integrate media, technology and dual-purpose function, as a way to add a one-of-a-kind experience to traditionally routine activities.

Industry Affected in This Way:

Experiential sampling is a rage and a trend. It has proven to influence buyers and there is no going back to solely using in-store sampling once the train has left the station. The impact makes sampling more expensive and increases the stakes. With higher costs comes higher risk and small brands are oftentimes unable to adopt.

How Shared Spirits is Innovating in the Area:

Shared Spirits has technology and methods to inexpensively target potential customers and once in a low cost/low-risk in-store sampling, weave in an experience, unlike any other promotion. With our campaign management software, merchant partnerships, and work with Vsite technology, SS can deliver experiential type tasting experiences for far less money while delivering better intel and activation metrics than ever before obtained for the brand.

TREND TWO – Technology and App Driven Intel and Marketing

In today’s programmatic advertising world, targeted audiences may be found via geo-fencing, phone IP targeting, cross-marketing to specific purchases of products via intel derived from the Visa/MC stripe at point of purchase and other methods.

Industry Affected in This Way:

Entities like Cardlytics and other point-of-sale data-driven firms are able to deliver actionable data to brands allowing them to target specific consumers. VSite allows for the near-instant gathering of intel from mobile handsets that have frequented any geographic location and deliver targeted creative via programmatic advertising. These methods will soon dominate the way smart alcohol advertising takes place.

How Shared Spirits is Innovating in the Area:

By delivering consumers exactly what they want based on what they’ve bought and where they’ve visited, the brands and suppliers in the spirits, wine, and beer space are more likely to make marketing spends appropriately. Shared Spirits may open up unprecedented utility for customers by integrating drink and coupon offers that are immediately measurable and relevant.

TREND THREE – Alcohol Delivery via App

The move toward being able to order and have delivered alcohol by the bottle is a growing trend. Huge adoption has not yet occurred. The trend will grow thanks to growth in more uniform legislation and adoption across states and municipalities. Consumers want the service and are willing to pay premiums and trade data that is obtained for the convenience.

Industry Affected in This Way:

Alcohol delivery via direct mail and via mobile app ordering is impacting the industry. Online sales of beer, liquor and wine for delivery grew 32.7% in 2017, according to Slice. By far the most popular kind of adult beverage bought on the web is wine, which represented more than 65% of online alcohol sales during the 25-month period from Jan. 1, 2016 to Jan. 31, 2018, according to Slice. That’s followed by spirits, at 21.2%, and beer, 13.8%.

How Shared Spirits is Innovating in the Area:

SS tech is the first mobile technology attached to a campaign management system that marries marketing spends with retail, on-premise, sampling, activations, and ambassador marketing. In addition, it’s the first marketing method where depletion targets are assisted by virtue of the business model itself.

If you’d like to discuss Shared Spirits work for your brand, please shoot Sherman a message via LinkedIn or reach out to sherman@sharedspirits dot com.


Sherman G. Mohr is an Insead Blue Ocean Strategy Institute Certified Blue Ocean Strategist. He also serves as CEO and Co-Founder of Shared Spirits, Inc. Shared Spirits is a digital marketing, events and activation agency serving spirits, wine, and beer brands.