Are You Looking At The Right Issues?

Recently I got wind of a professional webinar within the beer world. It was supposed to be addressing the market, who and where the areas of growth for beer. Pretty straight forward idea.

I had registered for this said event and simply had to pass it up to tend to other business, though the topic is right up my alley.

Once it was over, I heard from a valued and reliable colleague that the talk had focused on areas of the market and population, yet not women. Apparently one slide of dozens addressed women as beer buyers and consumers. Excuse me, what??!!

What issues are you looking at?

What issues are you looking at? Are they right in front of you or elsewhere?

Instead the focus was on the Hispanic market. Yes, it’s growing globally. Yes, it’s an excellent population to work with and for. AND it’s still misses the point if the beer industry wants to really capture new, long-term, loyal market share that covers all ethnicities and facets of humanity: females.

After I shook my head in shock, and got my bearings again, I realized this: The Professional Beer Industry Community for the most part still has no foggy clue about who’s buying the beer in America. Scan data is a partial picture and dangerously lacking in deep lasting understanding of the female beer buyer.

I’d ask the people in business in the beer arena: What issues are you looking at? What do you want to accomplish, what are your goals, who is your target market and why, what are you doing to bring in outside expertise you’ll never have to build and support your brand?

Time and time again all someone has to do is to surf a bit on the web to find consistent and reliable data to support the fact that women are the primary buyers of all goods and services. Read here, here and here for a sampling.

So when you’re looking at business development – from beer to cotton swabs to cars to tools – take note. You’ll be successful when you carefully examine the female shopper and buyer.

Beer people beware: you’ll stagnate and deflate unless you make some drastic changes in patterns, habits, acceptabilities and practices towards and involving women.

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With a Nod to Marti Barletta

I’d be remiss if I neglected to thank Marti Barletta before the month was over. She’s been supportive and receptive and helpful. Marti is THEE one I go to for learning more about marketing to women.

Allow me to expound.

Marti’s book, Marketing To Women, was one of the first books I bought when I launched Women Enjoying Beer. It was fascinating, eye-opening and affirming all at once. I was no longer a lone voice in the woods – although there are still too few people who seriously even begin to understand the value, sustainability and loyal customers women can be. And the beer community at large is still in need of knowing – hence, why we keep forging ahead.

I was grateful to ‘find’ someone else in this forest of specializing in marketing to women.

Her second book, Prime Time Women, is equally helpful and “YES!” style.  In it, she talks very clearly and plainly about the fact that women in their prime time years are one of the markets for any marketer and hence business to pursue.

You can find her books here – and I recommend you buy them. I rarely give so strong of an endorsement. Marti’s due that, with a vigorous nod.

Today I want to thank her sincerely. Keep it up, Marti! Can’t wait to enjoy a beer with you again.

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Chick Beer Backlash

Have you read this yet? Please do – then continue reading.

This article in particular was forwarded to me by a few industry friends (thanks) and I am well aware of the beer and its founder Shazz Lewis.

I rarely comment online since I find the format to be too anonymous to really do any productive good. However, it’s a timely issue and my speciality so this is what I posted in comment:

Beer is beer, true. Marketing is not marketing however. You must know your market – starting with what they want, directly from them (your target market). Women Enjoying Beer is the only business on the planet that does just this. And interestingly enough Shazz called me a several months before the launch to pick my brain – ‘brain’ being the collected and ongoing research of hundreds and thousands of women who have participated in focus groups all across the USA.

Regardless of what she asked of me and I shared with her from these smart and engaged, brand savvy women, she chose to go forward with her dream. Power to her. No power to the idea. Because whether Shazz likes it or not, the beer isn’t about her and what she thinks; it’s about what the market wants and will positively respond to. Right now, it’s mostly negative and for good reason.

When you don’t know your market, when your efforts are misguided, then everything (business) and everyone suffers (customers, people in the company). And if you don’t know your market, you have no business aiming your product in their direction. (ever heard of the Della debacle??)

You MUST know your product AND how to respectfully and properly execute the marketing plan that will see it to successful fruition.

Women everywhere equate pink to Barbie, Victoria Secret and Breast Cancer. As a friend in the beer industry said, why would you want to relate a color (pink) per a deadly disease to your product? And as one person commented already, per the 11 year old – she’s right. Girly in research indicates 12 and under (age wise). No one in the craft/beer community wants to be seen as marketing to underage drinking.

There is no such thing as a women’s beer. Everyone wants the opportunity for flavor, whatever form that may be, and everyone wants to be treated and invited to the product with respect and in a genuine manner. And for the record, not all craft brewers get that either.

Suffice it to say, education is the key. And this is a big mistake and while I wish Shazz well, our research clearly and loudly states that this is insulting, patronizing and headed backwards. Will we see the day when ‘men’s’ beer is marketed in baby blue jockstraps?

Ginger Johnson, founder/operator, Women Enjoying Beer

p.s. I only wish that all the strong opinions out there were also strong enough to be proud and transparently post their real names. If there’s no shame, then there’s nothing to hide. Like my good friend Maureen Ogle states, “Don’t be afraid of your opinions.”

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Women And Craft Beer

Many thanks to Jill Redding of The New Brewer Magazine for the opportunity to share via an article written by your truly.

The current issue, Getting To 10 Percent, came out this week. It’s one of the member benefits of being a BA member which is chock full of interesting industry information.

Women can not only help the craft beer industry get to 10 percent; they can help them get well beyond it too.

With 50.7 – 50.9% of the total human population, woman remain a extraordinarily under tapped beer market share. And it’s not hard to figure out why and also how to engage them.

A lot of big data companies, while certainly in earnest in their efforts, fail to capture woman and craft beer specific data. I’d like to see more of it and the breweries, and therefore our communities, can certainly benefit from it.

Women Enjoying Beer is the business that can help breweries get stronger and stronger by focusing on improving women and their relationship with beer.

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Who Are You Out To Please?

How many hollow sounding mission statements have you read on walls, posters or otherwise plastered across a companies collective persona display? How many of those do you believe?

Do you know who your customer is now?

Who exactly are you out to please? The customers? Your employees? Yourself? Shareholders?  You have to be able to answer that question before you can plaster any message anywhere, even the bathroom.

A guess would be that, if you’re a brewer, you have a passion and the reasons you’re where you are is because of you. Fine. Now – are you going to be the one to buy your beer and sustain you? Are you independently wealthy?

When the laughing dies down from that last one, think about this. The customer is who you need to please now. They are the ones who will sustain and grow your business. No matter how good or poor your product is – beer notwithstanding – people will only patronize you sustainably if you deliver to them. What have you shipped to your customers lately?

If you still think it’s all about you, get another mirror to to look into. Yes, still grow according to your master plan. And you better be listening to them along the way too as they’ll help you make the best decisions you can make.

Maybe you’re mantra should be “We’re not here to please everyone. We’re here to please you.”

Just know who the ‘you’ is now. I have seen the customer and they are them. She, in particular, is ready.

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Marketing To Women

Marti Barletta's M2W - great resource

Yesterday I shared one of my highly recommended resources and today I want to share another.

Marti Barletta has been specializing in Marketing To women for a while now – she’s sharp, dedicated, knows her business and has been highly valuable to companies who want to truly and authentically market to women.

Women Enjoying Beer nods in her direction. I read Marti’s Book, Marketing To Women, 2nd Edition, when I started WEB. It is also one of my go-to and return-to resources.

Marketing beer to women, while not Marti’s specialty, is mine. When you can understand and acknowledge that marketing to different groups is just that – different – then you are headed in the right direction.

p.s. The Bittersweet group should read this book….

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Feel Free To Rant, Bryce

I raise my pint to Bryce today.

Of course women like beer. Why wouldn’t they?

p1020526Of course women are to be marketed differently than men. You market differently to men than you do women, yes? And you market to kids differently than you market to adults. You market differently to …well, hopefully you’re getting (if you’ve not already gotten) the  picture. It’s a no brainer if you’re using your brain.

And of course, you have to start marketing to a segment – yes, it starts small – to see progress. Every segment starts small. Saying women is a small segment is a HUGE mistake – they’re 50.9% of the population. Last time I checked, that was a majority. Want a piece of that marketshare pie?

Like I stated in Boston at the CBC presentation: it’s about a business opportunity. It could be brunettes or people with dogs. It’s a market segment.

Treat it like any other market segment you’d go after. Authentically and accurately.

Bryce, the next beer’s on me. Thanks.

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What Not To Do

Here’s a perfect example of an uneducated, uninformed direction.

Quite unbelievable when you think about it. How could a company that seems to be so progressive, on the edge, screw this up so badly??

Did they talk to their target market AT ALL?? Did they ask them what they wanted (not through the Dell lens or the expert lens of the mens lens) – obviously not.

Don’t be this example. Or this one – even worse!!! YIKES!!!

It’s not just an “oops!” – it’s potentially fatal and very damaging at the least.

It’s absolutely mind boggling to me that a company would put forth so much effort, and money, and be so terribly ill-informed and ignorant on purpose. It should be mind boggling to you too.

Still shaking my head…

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Learned Indeed

Andrea Learned has an appropriate name, however serendipitous. (I think it’s cool)

Her book, which she co wrote with Lisa Johnson (something about Johnson’s, eh?), Don’t Think Pink, is right on target too. I highly recommend it.

Beers on me, Andrea & Lisa, when we can connect. Thanks for a great resource.

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Nooze

Marketing to Women.

Marketing to Men.

Marketing to Martians.

Good heavens – if you can’t figure out that you first have to KNOW YOUR MARKET, then you shouldn’t be pursuing the share in the first place.

When you don’t know your market, of course, your efforts may be clumsy, off the mark, inaccurate, insulting. So – back to point A. KNOW YOUR MARKET (KYM).

Any market segment is no harder than another when you know the KYM rule first.

Booze News take note. (here are a few good ideas…not all applicable)

The answer is no because the industry has traditionally, not entirely though, seen marketing to women through a male lens. Of course that won’t work. Duh.

Stupidity is insulting.

Start with Marti Barletta‘s Book, Marketing to Women. That will start anyone wanting to authentically capture womens’ market share a good start.

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