Introduce Your Beverage to a New Market Through Stronger Relationships


Introduce Your Beverage to a New Market Through Stronger Relationships

Within our industry, there are as many varieties of beverages as locations where they’re sold. And while sales tactics and trends may change, much of our business is fueled by the very human drive to socialize while having a drink — no matter what you’re drinking or where.

It’s no wonder that as you explore new markets, your success depends on the ability to build close relationships. The stronger your connection grows with the people who distribute your products, the more you’ll learn about the strategy for your brand.

However, building relationships with distributors and decision makers isn’t as simple as socializing at a bar, restaurant, or other destination. You need to foster a connection that will enable you to increase sales while also ensuring you’re casting a wide net to reach your customers.

Foster Relationships by Focusing on Shared Goals

There are three key players involved when you pursue a new market: Your brand, the distributors you need to form a connection with, and an experienced marketing agency who can foster those connections. 

Fundamentally, your beverage brand, your distributor, and your marketing partner all share the same goals. And the first among them is the need to connect with customers.

As simple as it may sound, your relationship-building efforts should focus on that overlap. You need your marketing agency to drive sales inside bars and restaurants. And your distributor is crucial to connecting your business with on- and off-premises sales. When these forces are working together for the same goals, everyone wins.

But how can you ensure that you’re consistently occupying the center of the Venn diagram in your relationships with distributors and your agency? You need to keep two key tips at the front of your mind:

1. Consider the Beverage Sales Landscape from a Distributor’s Perspective

When you’re planning to expand a spirits or other beverage brand into new markets, research is critical. Along with understanding the culture of the distributor and the brands it represents, you have to consider the market climate.

Is the region you’re targeting a control state — one where an alcohol board and the state itself control liquor sales? Is it a franchise market where multiple distributors are able to sell the same product? Or is the area an open market? How would that impact the way you and distributors potentially work together? Knowing about your distributor and their business goes a long way to working together in a strategic, mutually beneficial way.

For example, imagine your organization wants to bring a gin brand to market in a new city. You’re first going to need someone on the ground in that market to identify distributors and consider their existing portfolio.

Because distributors are likely to carry multiple gins in their portfolio, you’re better off identifying a distributor with a gap in their offerings that fits your niche. That way, you can avoid cannibalizing your brand with in-house competition.

The Advantages of a Marketing Agency’s Expertise

When you work with a marketing agency, you’re able to develop a fuller picture of the local, region, and national markets to identify your opportunities. The right partner will help you identify the timeline of your expansion and the areas to target first.

Your distributor knows their existing business, whereas your agency understands the broader consumer culture and trends at play in each area. By viewing your next market through both of those lenses, you’re better able to find the sweet spot for your brand.

2. Recognize Communication is a Two-Way Street

Distributors typically have a large portfolio of brands to offer decision makers at the venues your own brand needs in a given market. Any distributor worth partnering with will communicate with your brand on the rest of their business and ensure they’re the right fit for your needs.

At the same time, you should ensure that you’re using these conversations with distributors to identify areas where your interests overlap. Using our gin example in the section above, you should talk to the distributor to identify the top gin bars in a given city or state. Which one will be open to your product? You have to learn what people are drinking and what they’re looking for in a gin.

With that input from the right distributor, you can better identify how to select your target audience. At the same time, you better understand the distributor’s goals as they communicate how they operate to serve those needs.

Remember, you know your brand best — including how best to present it. The better you communicate these details with your distributor, the better equipped they’ll be to increase your sales — and theirs.

How an Agency Illustrates the Value of Your Brand

Ultimately, distributors, bars, and liquor stores aren’t bringing in new products so they can just sit on the shelf. With the right agency partner, you can show (instead of tell) exactly how your product will make them money.

With the help of an expert agency partner, you can schedule a demo with a distributor or direct-to-customers with a retailer that illustrates what makes your product so special. By showing them what cocktails your spirit plays best in and providing your distributors with the right tools to understand your brand, they know what will work for your product at a given outlet.

How to Improve Distributor Relationships and Grow Your Beverage Business Faster

If you’re a spirits supplier and want to establish your brand in a new market, you face an uphill battle gathering all the right information on your own. By partnering with a marketing agency, you gain a crucial ally in understanding the landscape of a local market and the right distributor for your needs.

The right agency will know the market you’re trying to reach and understand the right fit for your brand. At Enthuse, we understand how to apply these relationships to develop an informed strategy on behalf of your brand. If this sounds like the kind of collaboration that will help your business, we should talk.