Have you ever looked beyond your industry for marketing ideas?

According to Garth Beyer, it’s a MUST. Sure, it might sound far-fetched, but you need to be bold and risk failure to succeed. 

In his January 30th Craft Marketing presentation, Garth opened with three top takeaways:

  1. Let go of originality; steal and refine ideas from outside and inside your industry. Holding onto originality too tightly will slow your growth.
  2. People die standing still; brands do too. Try new stuff out that’ll turn heads. When you aren’t producing, your brand falls. 
  3. Make your wildest ideas a reality by leading with “This might not work, but…” Doing so sets expectations and can help give you permission from your superiors or clients to give it a go.

Garth Beyer is both the Head of Marketing: Producer Solutions at Encompass and the Owner of AMA Craft Marketing sponsor Garth’s Brew Bar, along with being a certified Cicerone and freelance writer across Madison Magazine, Uproxx, and more. As a brew bar owner with years of experience marketing brands across industries, Garth has learned the power of repurposing ideas from other industries firsthand. 

Read on to get Garth’s top 10 brewery marketing lessons that you need to swipe for your brand, no matter your industry. Plus, stick around until the end of this article to get a to-do list of 14 creative ideas that’ll boost your brand awareness and delight your audience.

10 Brewery Marketing Lessons to Boost Your Brand

1. Surprise and Delight

Garth broke this lesson into two parts:

  • Proactive Surprise & Delight: Look for random opportunities to surprise and delight your audience. For example, you might pick two random people from your subscriber list and send them something cool. Or you could scroll through Twitter and find someone talking about your brand and DM them with a gift.
  • Reactive Surprise & Delight: When you experience a positive or negative event or interaction with an audience member, surprise and delight them. On the positive side, if a customer agrees to participate in a case study, give them a gift after the project wraps as a “thanks.” Alternatively, if a customer notifies you that you forgot to send an item in their order, surprise and delight them by sending not just the forgotten item but a gift package filled with merch as a “sorry.”

In short, the standards for surprising and delighting your audience are higher than ever. You need to go above and beyond.

2. Everything is Marketing

Everything you do as a brand sends a signal, including actions that don’t pan out the way you want them to, whether that’s low margins or a poor turnout rate. While these failures may feel like wasted resources, they can have a massive impact on your reputation and branding. That’s why it’s worth it to continue to try out wacky ideas and look for ways to add extra sparkle to every touchpoint. 

Garth shared the story of a brewery that partnered with an Etsy creator to create an elaborate goofy onesie with its logo on it. While the onesie didn’t sell like hotcakes, it caught customers’ attention, with the resounding reaction being, “Well, that’s cool!” 

You don’t need to make a sale to be memorable, and sticking around in people’s minds may just bring you a sale in the future. Garth said, “Don’t think of this like: what color paint should your walls be; think of it through the lens of ‘What more can I do?’”

3. Invest in the Senses

Exclusively catering to the sense of sight in your marketing is a missed opportunity. In the brewpub world, it’s called “sonic seasoning.” In setting his brew bar’s atmosphere, Garth put a lot of strategic thought into the sounds his customers would be encountering. He settled on upbeat jazz, finding it to be the perfect balance between being upbeat and low-key enough to encourage lively conversation. He took it a step further by installing felt panels below each table to absorb some of the sound echoing off the bar floors.

Garth also shared the example of a brewery that planned out its entire design and layout to capture the senses. It placed all the beer barrels, tanks, and other brewing equipment out in the open among patrons. This allowed them to see behind the scenes as they sipped and smell the various smells – good and bad – that accompany the beer brewing process. It’s about finding creative ways to make next-level sensory experiences.

4. Do Something Bigger Than Yourself

Donating 1% to a nonprofit or hosting a benevolence night is SO 2010.

These days, people want to be involved in your mission more directly. One brewery had a mission centering environmental preservation and sustainability. They had already been donating 1% of their beer sales to environmental nonprofits, but they decided to take it further and create an entire festival uplifting environmental causes. They brought in several of their favorite environmental nonprofits and had them create a limited edition beer that was only available to festival ticket holders. For food, they invited vendors that included their own charitable dimension. As a result, the brewery united its community with a fun event promoting brand memorability while supporting the causes it cared most about.

5. Blend Digital and IRL

Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve had no shortage of virtual events and digital experiences. 

Some prefer to be online, others prefer to be in-person, and many more want a balance of the two. That’s why you should go beyond simply offering an online experience and add an in-person element into the mix. For example, maybe your next virtual conference could have an optional in-person meetup after the day’s activities with dinner and drinks on you. Or you could add an AR element to your product’s packaging. 

6. Make it a Week-Long Event

As Garth said, what’s better than 1 day? Seven. Think Summerfest, Local Restaurant Week, or Oktoberfest.

While it’s a lot more work, hosting a week-long event allows you to catch a higher participation rate, greater brand affinity, and better ROI. It’s worth a shot.

Garth started “Monroe St. Craft Beer Week,” which included a variety of events and activities like educational events, beer infusion day, and popups that partnered with other Monroe Street vendors. To get the vendors on board, Garth individually emailed the shops with specific ideas on how they could participate. For example, he pitched an idea to a financial consulting organization down the street where he would donate beer and personally pour it for their customers at an exclusive happy hour event. They agreed, and as a result, the organization itself looked good to its customers, and Garth was able to spread the word about his brew bar.

7. Value the Newbies (And the Forgetful)

Garth warned: You will get sick of your brand before any guest, customer, or client will. That’s why he’s always skeptical about brand and logo refreshes. Was it essential for the brand’s target audience or was the person(s) behind it just exhausted with the norm? Usually, it’s the latter.

Beyond rebrands, this principle applies to how you engage with your audience. Remember that while new people are joining your brands, there are also people who’ve been around for a while but have forgotten about you. 

Find opportunities to remind people that you exist. These reminders can be as simple as sending a “9 facts about [insert your company here]” email to your subscriber list. 

8. Create a Flyer or Editorial Ad

Creating a flyer or editorial ad might seem aimless and old school, but it’s a useful exercise. For one, it forces you to dial in on your messaging and visuals and prioritize copy down to what truly encapsulates your brand. And for another, it can be repurposed in a variety of ways. You can post it on your social channels, put it on your website, or distribute it as a poster or flyer. Garth tried this during the height of the pandemic, dropping off flyers at 20-some apartment complexes to raise awareness about his to-go beer offering. It was an easy, simple way to get a lot of eyes on his brand and generate word of mouth.

Added bonus: Viewers might think you ran magazine spreads and other publicly facing ads even though you didn’t. In short, it just makes you look cool.

9. Give Your Team Access

You can’t do it all yourself as a marketer. So it’s time to embrace delegating. Garth recommends lending your brand to employees who are excited to pitch in.

For example, every month, one brewery chose an employee who didn’t usually work on beer-making directly and had them collaborate with the brewing team to make their own beer. The employee got to make many of the core decisions along the way and even have the beer named after them. In the end, brewery customers got to try out the limited edition beer, which generated excitement and word of mouth.

Another brewery gave their TikTok access to their bartenders rather than just their marketing team. This move resulted in content being posted more often, and of higher quality, as it reflected the perspectives of the bartenders. In the time that’s passed, the brewery’s TikTok following and engagement has grown faster than other breweries. 

10. Treat Different People Differently

Garth advises that if brands want to be inclusive, they need to own it. You can’t just talk and not walk anymore. You need to go all-in. 

For example, a brewery created a “braille ale” with a percentage of proceeds go to a nonprofit that helps the visually impaired. But it also took it a step further and added a QR code on the can that led to informational content. The cans even had braille on them. 

When you go all-in to uplift the communities you care most about, the segment of your audience who make up these communities will feel seen. And everyone who doesn’t fit into that subset will still think, “Wow, that’s so cool!” and maybe even learn something new. 

Garth’s To-Do List for Marketers

    1. Assign a budget for surprise and delight. When you’re reviewing your spend for the month, you better have used the fund.
    2. Collaborate with an Etsy creator or local artist to create something together for your customers or even your employees.
    3. Write out how your brand impacts each of the senses (or how it could) for your audience.
    4. Ideate your version of a celebration around your mission, not your product.
    5. Force an IRL element in the next digital experience you create.
    6. Brainstorm how to get others involved in your weeklong celebration.
    7. Create your 9 “get to know us” facts and share them out with existing customers/subscribers.
    8. Make an editorial ad and find ways to get it in front of people.
    9. Learn your employees’ passions outside your brand – they may be able to boost your brand in creative ways.
    10. Make something for a cultural segment of your audience.
    11. Communicate more frequently than you are now.
    12. Put money behind everything you produce – especially social media posts.
    13. Invest 15 minutes in interacting with people every day, whether it’s face to face with your customers or neighbors or simply scrolling through Twitter looking for posts to comment on.
    14. Read a magazine that’s outside your industry and ask yourself, “What can I steal for my own brand?”

See You at Garth’s Brew Bar for February’s Craft Marketing

Craft Marketing invites you to its next live in-person event at Garth’s Brew Bar in Madison at 5:00 PM on February 27th, “Sales and Marketing: Enemies to Lovers” presented by James and Ema Roloff. James and Ema will break down why sales and marketing needs to work together now more than ever, and provide tips on how to align your strategy to drive revenue within your own organization. And as always, you’ll get to network with your peers and enjoy a delicious craft beer.

Register here for the in-person event.

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About the AuthorPicture of author, Kara Martin

Kara Martin, Content Writer at Naviant, specializes in written B2B content, from case studies to blogs and beyond. She transforms complex technical information into compelling, data-driven content that helps organizations turn their digital transformation goals into a reality.

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