Sunday, November 4, 2012

How Alcohol Marketers Leverage the Power of Social Media?

As a CMO, across all channels and industries, social media has become a new and effective avenue for marketers to connect with consumers. As a graduate in Northwestern, Medill school with specialization in digital marketing and interactive marketing, I consider that marketers can help themselves more easily accomplish their marketing objective such as increasing consumers’ engagement, monitoring customers’ feedback on new products, or cultivating consumers’ product knowledge by leveraging and incorporating different social media with diverse approach, 
Source: ZOGDigital

The entire alcohol industry is comprised of 3,500 companies and total 120 billion of annual revenue. As generation Y, Millennial, becomes a new alcoholic beverage consumer for this industry, this presents an enormous opportunity for alcohol marketers. Millennial, numbering about 65 million in the US who grew up with the Internet and social media uses social media and Internet as entertainment more than any other group. Furthermore, 15 % of social media users have purchased alcohol beverage as a result of social media, including brand promotion, an advertisement, or a mention form a friend. If you, as alcohol marketer, have never think about leveraging social media to engage consumer or promote your brand, following are some recommendations before you get started.

1. Being legal on any digital content: Being monitored by the Federal Trade Commission, any alcohol advertising is a legal minefield. In order to avoid companies getting any illegal trouble, it is definitely a good idea for corporations to consult your attorney to establish a set of guideline for social media marketing before executing any social media commercial or publishing any content and place their messages in platforms where at least 70% of the audience is expected to be of the legal purchase age. 
2. Be diverse but consistent: Nowadays, there are tons of different social media serve different purposes. For instance, Facebook can be valuable in understanding consumers concerns, interests and needs or producing relevant content such as tips for picking a good wine, and therefore marketers can build the brand as a thought leader and start to establish credibility. Before employing social media strategies, marketers in this industry should recognize the real mission in the social media war and corporate these different social tools with consistent actions, and therefore maximize their marketing efforts.  
3. Facilitate interactions:  In the social media world, brands cannot just make and disseminate messages like they did in television and print publications. In this mode of branding, marketers should motivate consumers incorporate the brand into their daily life and their cultural experience. On social media, brand should make value by promoting users’ sentiments. By allowing users to share their experience, photos, or check-in on social media with these material social events, brands can easily get embedded in the story users tell their friends and their enjoyment along with the brand.

In the United States, 93 % of adults are on Facebook and have an average of 229 friends. The popularity of these networks makes it impossible for companies to ignore its power. As a graduate student who has expertise in digital marketing and interactive marketing, I strongly encourage CMOs in this industry embark their journey on social media. By leveraging social media in an appropriate direction, companies can really connect with alcohol consumers, listening brand related conversations, and advertising on these platforms in a more efficient way.

Calvin Chang is a Master candidate at Northwestern University studying Integrated Marketing and Communications, and specializing in direct and interactive marketing, marketing analytics, and digital marketing. Calvin will be graduating in December 2012 and can be reached on his twitter handle at @CalvinChang1987 or on LinkedIn:

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