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When it comes to small business marketing one thing is almost universally true. We tend to skip over the marketing basics and rush right to the tactics before we have built a solid foundation. Then, we’re disappointed with results, start putting marketing on the back burner and begin the slow march toward losing faith in marketing entirely. Or worse, convincing ourselves that we’re different and it won’t work for us the way it works for (millions of) others. Leading to inadvertently limiting our brand’s true potential. The exact opposite of what we need for our business to succeed!

I say we, because I’ve been guilty of breezing past the marketing basics too quickly myself as well. And I know way too many marketing agencies and experts who let their clients off the hook for skipping over marketing basics too. Why?

  1. The important work is often the hardest work.
  2. It often feels intangible with the downsides hidden or unclear.
  3. We want tangible results we can put our finger on now.

To develop these marketing basics, you really have to sit yourself down, ask some tough questions and dig deep. Which is one of the primary reasons this critical, up-front marketing work is so often passed over. Because it’s deep-thinking work rather than deep-doing work.

The Secret to Marketing Success: Go Slow To Go Fast

As craft makers and entrepreneurs, you’re busy. So doing the things that allow you to check the most tangible items off your list the fastest often get priority, even if they aren’t as high in long-term, strategic value. Things like hire a web designer, pick a brand name, open up social media accounts, start posting on social media: check, check, check, check. But the value of all of those items are greatly diminished without the foundation of your marketing basics.

Whether it’s wine marketing, cider marketing, brewery marketing, or distillery marketing I see it time and time again. By jumping into tactics before you have your marketing foundation built you’re missing the most important parts of successful marketing. You. Who you are. Why you do what you do. What you stand for. Who you’re talking to. Why you think they’ll care. How you’re different from others like you.

So how do we fix this? We get back to our marketing basics and go slow so that eventually our marketing can go fast and deliver much better results with fewer resources. We develop your S.M.A.R.T. marketing goals and plan, brand story, brand voice, and identify and understand your target consumer. And then we infuse them into every future marketing decision and tactic to make marketing work its hardest for your brand.

Marketing Goals & Planning

One of the very first things you have to get clear on is what you are hoping marketing will actually do for your business. The easiest way to do this, which we cover in our article Developing A Marketing Plan for Results, is to ensure you have S.M.A.R.T. marketing goals that clearly tie back to your most important business goals.

Then, and only then, you can start thinking about which marketing strategies and tactics to use in order to achieve those goals as a part of your marketing plan. Being super disciplined with this each and every time you even have a marketing idea you want to bring to life will save you time, money, improve results, and ensure you’re staying true to the goals most important for your brand’s success.

Brand Story

We live in a world today where consumers are surrounded by brand messages – in store, while out drinking, on social media, in articles, on websites, at community events, and more. We also live in a world where consumers want to know, understand, and like a brand before they’re even remotely open to hearing a sales pitch or promotion. Marketing today is like dating. You have to get to know each other, find shared interests, identify common values, and enjoy spending time together before you ask them to go steady, get engaged, or married and make a real investment. Or rather, choose to spend their hard-earned dollars with you instead of that other cute spirit, cider, wine, or beer across the way.

65% of people that feel an emotional connection to a brand, say it’s because “they care about people like me.” According to Harvard Business Review, customers who have developed a bond with businesses, described as “fully connected customers,” are over 50 percent more valuable, on average, than the highly satisfied customer. These customers are a company’s dream: Individuals who purchase more of your goods and services who are less price-sensitive and more focused on your messaging.

Your brand story ensures they are subtly yet consistently hearing the same key messages from you in a way that helps them get to know you, connects emotionally, and adds real value to their life. This helps them create a deeper connection to your brand while moving them down the consumer journey to purchase/visit, and eventually become loyal with everything that you do.

Brand Voice

Similarly your brand voice ensures that regardless of the content or location of the message they know it’s coming from you. Why is that important? So you get credit for it!

Consistent branding across all channels increases revenue by 23%

Consumers see so many marketing messages from so many brands similar to yours every day. You don’t ever want them to remember your content but not remember it’s from you, or worse think it may have been from one of your competitors! The best litmus test? They know it’s your brand even if the brand logo or name isn’t prominently displayed.

Thomas Smith, who wrote the book Successful Advertising way back in 1885 famously explained, below in an image from our Craft Alcohol Marketing Bootcamp, why consumers need to see ads repeatedly in order for them to be effective.

Consistency is one of the key marketing basics - visual of Thomas Smith's Successful Advertising 20 repetitions

Unlock Your Brand Magic, Craft Alcohol Marketing Bootcamp Course 2, Pillar 2

While all 20 there may seem extreme the idea of repetition is well researched and rooted in human psychology. So honestly, it’s not far off. And if you layer in today’s consumers and the content driven marketing world we live in the situation just gets exacerbated. At least back in 1885 consumers were seeing fewer marketing messages! Today they’re inundated. By us and our competitors. And realistically we don’t can’t ONLY show them the same exact thing 20 times like they used to…which is where the power of having a consistent brand voice comes in.

Your brand story helps you stand out and differentiate amidst all the clutter and your voice ensures they quickly recognize that it’s you who is standing out.

Target Consumer

Identifying and understanding your target consumer allows you to not only better find them but also ensures you’re talking to them in a way that will resonate while also being true to your brand story and voice. Just like any relationship the more you know about the other person the more meaningful and rewarding that relationship is.

“When dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion.” ~Dale Carnegie

And no…keeping your message broad and generic isn’t an option. By talking to everyone (or standing for everything) you’re essentially talking to no one. Today’s consumer values being heard, understood, and cared about. And the better you do that the more value each consumer you attract will have for your brand in return. If you don’t feel like you know your target consumer as well as you know your best friend it’s time to do the marketing basics work here. You want to learn everything about them to the point where you feel you can put yourself in their shoes and truly understand their problem/need/desire/opportunity.

Build Out Your Brand’s Marketing Basics Now

Without these 4 marketing basics – marketing goals/plan, brand story, brand voice, and target consumer – it’s incredibly hard to ensure that every piece of marketing you put out there represents your brand in the best way to drive results. This problem is exacerbated if you have more than one person or agencies creating content, since everyone naturally defaults to their own personal voice or interpretation of the brand voice in the absence of clear guidance.

Advertisement: Marketing Basics 3-Course Bundle for Craft Makers

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While deep foundational work can often benefit from some outside, objective help to get right, we know that isn’t always feasible…especially early on. We’ve designed our 3-course Marketing Basics for Craft Makers bundle so you can efficiently tackle everything we’ve discussed here yourself and put you miles ahead of any competitors who haven’t done that work (which, trust us…is many!).

The deep-thinking work gets you a lot further than the deep-doing work we all fill our time with. We all know that, yet it’s hard to have the discipline to do it. Marketing Basics for Craft Makers will hold your hand every step of the way, save you from going down epic google rabbit holes, and make sure you finally get your marketing basics set. Then, get ready for all of your marketing to start working harder and smarter for your brand.


What’s your biggest challenge when it comes to marketing basics? How can we help beyond our Craft Alcohol Marketing Bootcamp courses? Comment below and let us know! 

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