Modern Marketing Metrics Can Help Sustain the Resurgence of Craft Beer

early-beer     Source:  Tucker (2011)

The production (and consumption) of craft beer is on the rise in the U.S. and around the world.

Definitions of craft beer are still being debated (Kirkegaard (2011) and CraftBeer.com (2015)) and refined, but it seems that to be recognised as a craft beer brewer brewers need to be small, independent and traditional.  This ‘latest development’ will perhaps take us full circle and allow us to experience flavours similar to those of the earliest brews.

History of (Craft) Beer

There is evidence that beer (in some form or another) has been produced since around 7,000 B.C. (Tucker (2011) and Wikipedia (2017)), with it’s earliest known origin from China’s Yellow River Valley (Tucker, 2011).  Early brews used ingredients such as those mentioned in the image above, and would arguably be defined as craft beers.

Over time, production of beer has largely moved from being undertaken by a large number of brewers on a small scale to being done by a small number of producers on a massive scale to allow for profitable commercialisation.  Trends in recent years, however, are seeing a resurgence of craft beer production in the U.S. (Moran (2013), Talbot (2015), Beer Healer (2016), Solomon (2015), Statistica (n.d.), McCarthy (2015) and Brewers Association (n.d.)) and Australia (Kelsey, 2016).

u-s-craft-beer-production     Source:  Based on Solomon (2015).

u-s-craft-beer-production     Source:  Based on Statistica (n.d.), McCarthy (2015) and Brewers Association (n.d.).

There are some indications that the market may be maturing, but it isn’t yet at the point of saturation (Brewers Association, 2016).

The Future of Craft Beer Will be Depend on the Clever Use of Marketing Metrics

Opportunities still exist for the further expansion of the craft beer industry – but, the
traditional push strategy used by the beer industry isn’t the answer (Talcraft-beer-drinkersbot, 2015).  Marketers will need to be mindful of the craft beer consumer demographic (Pinterest, n.d.) and their ‘shopping’ behaviours.  Many beer consumers are occasional customers who ‘knock back’ beers from a range of different brands (Dawes, 2008), and the majority of craft beer drinkers are young and walk into stores/bars already knowing what they want (Crowell (2013) and (2014)).

Marketing Metrics

Like all businesses hoping for success, craft beer producers aiming for a sustainable future need to collect, monitor and act on relevant marketing metrics to, among other things, justify the business’ spend on various marketing activities (Mintz & Currim, 2013, p. 17).  Put simply, marketing metrics include various financial and non‑financial performance indicators (Ambler & Roberts, 2008, p. 743) and other statistics that allow businesses to track and improve their performance over time.  Businesses need to measure their activities that ultimately contribute to short‑ and long‑term profitability, by getting more people ‘through the door’, getting those people to spend above the average each visit, and getting them to come back as often as possible (Chester et al. (2014) and Moran (2013)), as illustrated in a high‑level sense by Orban (2016), below.

the-role-of-marketing

Marketing (and the associated marketing metrics) needs to be aligned to the businesses (and brand’s) overall strategy (Talbot, 2015).  For the craft beer industry, in particular, those metrics need to be largely centred around social and other online media (Moran (2013) and Crowell (2014)).  This can concurrently serve as a relatively cheaper way of both advertising and promoting the product/s on offer than the traditional ‘offline’ approaches (Artemia (2013) and Lake (2016)) at the same time as collecting data to feed into metrics.

For ease of use, and to convey summarised information for decision makers, it is useful to depict relevant metrics in a series of one‑page dashboards (Ambler & Roberts (2008, p. 743) and Pauwels, et al. (2009, pp. 176-80)), as illustrated below.

example-dashboard

The choice of marketing metrics will vary from business to business, depending on their strategy and the way their business functions, but a range of metrics will need to be used to measure each of the activities that contribute to organisational (and/or marketing) success.  It is essential that the relative importance of each measure (or type of measure) is understood, and how it fits in the overall strategy (O’Regan, 2016) (see below for example).

pi-importance

Online data can be gathered, analysed and presented using tools such as Google Analytics once the suite of metrics has been decided upon, which for craft beer producers could include:

  • unique website visits, page views, bounce rate, inbound links and engagement (comments posted about the website, product/s and/or beer story (Bullard, 2013)) to gauge the effectiveness of the website and/or social media (Lazuka, 2014);
  • awareness, satisfaction, percieved product quality and general customer and consumer demographics to gauge consumer knowledge of and desire for our/other’s products (Mintz & Currim, 2013, p. 20), and assess future market possibilities; and
  • sales units and value/profit by vendor/region to assess financial performance (Mintz & Currim, 2013, p. 20).

Cheers

I’m not a beer drinker myself, but I can see the appeal in the variety of new potentially tasty offerings ….. cheers !!

beer-cheers     Source:  Nudelman (2013)

Posted by David Morgan 214465258

References

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Brewers Association, 2016. Brewers Association mid-Year Metrics Show Continued Growth for Craft. [Online]
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[Accessed 28 January 2017].

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Pauwels, K. et al., 2009. Dashboards as a Service: Why, What, How, and What Research is Needed?. Journal of Service Research, 12(2), pp. 175-89.

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