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There are more than 400 craft breweries in Oregon, including 30 breweries in Bend.
Every brewery is challenged with how to distinguish its beers and how to attract their loyal followers, ultimately answering the question why should a beer drinker buy their beer over their competitors?
How is this challenge met? That’s where marketing comes into play. “You can’t just open a business and expect people to rush in. Marketing tells your story so people can find you,” Dan Mooney of Mooney Marketing said. “Marketing is everything that has to do with your business reaching potential clients.”
Mooney, along with Anne Marie Daggett of The Marketing Department, Arthur Wirtz of The Garage Inc., Torrey Sharp of Molt Brands, John Furgurson of BN Branding, Dina Barker of Brilliance In Branding (BIB) and Justin Bronson of zö agency recently shared their individual insights on marketing.
Barker shared basic marketing is sharing with the world or your target audience what you do, why it’s important to them and how you do it better than the competition. “How you accomplish this is a broader spectrum,” Barker added.
Furgurson said he could ask ten marketers their definition of marketing and receive ten different answers. He defines marketing as anything that helps you build your business. “Marketing is a broad, catch-all phrase that includes sales, advertising, social media, search engine optimization, pricing, distribution, web development and a hundred other specialties,” Furgurson said.
He prefers to discuss branding because every marketing tactic involves branding. “Everything you do in business influences your brand in some small way,” Furgurson said.
Wirtz defines marketing as the process of identifying a product or service, developing it, identifying the customer and creating and executing a plan to move it through the chain to the final consumer.
Bronson views marketing as the advancement of greater, grander ideas. He added that if people “don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it” as Simon Sinek suggests, then the stories we tell in marketing should be reinforcing why we do what we do and, why it matters to those we do it for. “Whether you are making a beverage or selling software, marketing helps to share your story and inspires the consumer to take action,” Bronson said.
Daggett said marketing involves educating and creating awareness. “It is ensuring people know about your organization and what it can do for them.”
Sharp cautions companies to avoid pretense by making something appear true that isn’t. Consumers will immediately recognize the trap and abandon your brand, he said. “Brands ultimately reflect ideas, values and a promise,” Sharp said. “But consumers are the ones who define brand success and often do so on their own terms.”
Sharp added the goal of marketing is to reinforce a brand’s true value and to establish authentic aspirational associations around the products or services.
A Wise Investment
Several marketing experts shared businesses often debate the value of hiring an in-house marketing team or contracting with a marketing company.
They have seen businesses try to do their own marketing, only to end up wasting time and money without tangible results. “Marketing is a must when owning a business,” Mooney said. “Having a website should be the first investment you take into your business. And yes, it takes money to make money. It’s important to invest in your business with marketing each year to watch it grow.”
Daggett has watched businesses “throw spaghetti at the wall and see what stuck” to decide how they were going to market their company. “Hiring a marketing team will help a business reach its goals efficiently and creatively,” Daggett said. “Every business is unique as should your marketing plan be as well. I recommend businesses hire a marketing team that is continually being educated on the possibilities and is passionate about their work.”
Sharp said most business owners are specialists in their specific field who don’t have the time or the expertise to market their company. “If done right, marketing is always a worthwhile investment because truthful messaging around real value leads to significant brand loyalty,” Sharp said.
Bronson said the internet has provided consumers with access to products throughout the world. He said consumers make buying decisions based on their own sense of identity and who they believe they are. “The last two years has caused people to slow down and look at what items they purchase or services they receive and decide if it’s meaningful to their own lives,” he said. “I have seen people become more conscious about their choices.”
With the vast amount of retail and online companies, Barker said the ways for consumers to acquire information, services and products has drastically changed. “If you don’t properly market your company’s goods and services — you can easily get lost or forgotten in today’s fast moving world,” Barker said.
Developing a marketing strategy
Imagine getting on an airplane, landing in Hawaii and then asking, “now what?” You didn’t pack a suitcase or arrange for lodging. In marketing, this can be compared to people who skip creating a marketing strategy and dive into tactics such as racing to create social media, email marketing and more without having a strategy on where they are going.
Furgurson said has worked with business owners and marketing managers who confuse a marketing plan with a marketing strategy. “Let me be very clear about this: Strategy is not synonymous with a plan,” Furgurson said. “Strategy is an idea. A conceptualization of how a goal could be achieved. The plan is a list of tactical approaches designed to support the strategy.”
Furgurgon added General Motors CEO Jack Welch once said strategy is about figuring out the big ‘aha.’ It involves insight, focus and tough decisions that produce a sustainable advantage in the marketplace. “It’s as much about choosing what not to do, as it is choosing what to do.”
Bronson advises companies to have a clear understanding of who they are and why they do what they do. “People, progress and purpose matter most, and that should be evident in every interaction we have with our customers,” he said.
Sharp shared when companies are crafting their marketing efforts, three concepts worth considering are to listen, pivot and create value. “Most of us don’t listen enough. We hone our messaging based on what we hope is true about our brand verses what is indeed true about our brand,” Sharp said. “Consumers are the most honest voices out there. We need to listen more to those that purchase, engage with and reject our product or service.”
Sharp said it’s important to be able to pivot, adding companies too often fall in love with an idea and fail to pivot as the market needs or asks. “Lastly, all brands either bring value or they don’t,” Sharp said. “No elaborate marketing campaign will fix your problem if you’re not delivering value. Spend time on refining and adding value and the marketing will be easy.”
Barker said Brilliance In Branding made the decision to invest in more equipment, offer an unparalleled showroom experience and pick up the phone and visit their clients. They also have a website and social media presence. “Our goal is to partner with our clients — provide them products, but also share ways they can expand business and increase their visibility,” Barker said. “BIB added new decoration methods in our apparel and headwear facility. We invest in our community by supporting local businesses and charities. We are blessed that most of our new business is from referrals and businesses looking to support local.”
Brilliance In Branding has more than 50,000 different marketing items. When visiting with clients, Barker said she first determines what will be the right items for her clients to get noticed, whether it’s baseball hats or coffee mugs.
Daggett shared there is a difference between the words, “strategy” and “plan.” “The marketing strategy is your approach to achieving your competitive advantage and the marketing plan spells out the activities that will get you to your goals,” Daggett said. “The strategy is the why behind the work, and the plan is the when and the what that describes the work.”
For instance, Daggett continues, say your plan, once your creative brief is done, says you need to market to a certain persona. It’s Margo and she has certain characteristics that will help create your strategy. “Where are you rather certain she will see and be moved by your creative message and what will spark her to convert and be your customer? This is your strategy,” Daggett added.
Marketing in 2022
Daggett said marketing has become incredibly more digital, with people dedicated to following their favorite brands. She advises her clients to wisely spend their marketing dollars where they will reach their target audience.
Mooney added marketing has changed since 2020 with more people shopping for home. “I think going digital is key in these times,” Mooney said. “Having a website is by far our number one marketing selling point. Most people search on Google, from there they will find your website. Social media used to be number one, but it’s changing so quickly that Google searches are the better option then social searches.”
It’s all about the authenticity of the message
Roy Williams of the Wizard of Ads said, “We believe the message makes the media work; the media does not make the message work.”
Daggett said marketing requires knowing who you are communicating with and having the message speak to them. “That is brilliant marketing. Be creative. Be bold. Be courageous. It’s important to separate yourselves and be unique,” Daggett said. “That’s what people want and in the end, want to be heard and understood. If your message speaks to them, they will be your customer for life, as long as you remain true to the mission.”