Florida-based regional whiskey brand Duke and Dame ramped up its digital marketing efforts, testing social video ads, influencer marketing and digital audio to reach more shoppers last year .

“When the pandemic hit, we had to reorient our marketing approach to the environment,” said Duke and Dame co-founder Amani Macaulay. “I needed to learn the digital space a little better.”

The four-year-old brand began experimenting with digital marketing channels during the pandemic, rendering its established face-to-face and experiential marketing strategies impossible. Even as many return to in-person activities, Macaulay said spirits brands will continue to invest in digital strategies to bridge the gap between online and offline.

“In-store POS can showcase your products to customers who walk into that one location, but with digital marketing, you have the opportunity to reach more people,” he said. Told.

This year, Duke and Dame will spend at least 40% of its budget on paid digital marketing, up from the 20% allotted last year, he said, though he didn’t provide an exact figure. According to Kantar, Duke and Dame spent more than $17,000 on marketing this year, but these numbers don’t include social media spending because Kantar doesn’t track those numbers. It’s also unclear how much Duke and Dame have spent on marketing in the past, these figures weren’t available via Kantar, and Macaulay declined to outline details.

Macaulay said digital marketing efforts will take up an even larger percentage of the budget as local brands grow and try to reach a national audience, Macaulay didn’t elaborate. But as the ongoing pandemic has eased curfews, brands have dabbled in in-person events, such as attending the Whiskey Festival in Detroit earlier this year.

So far, Duke and Dame have created digital audio for Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, digital outdoor advertising, and display ads and ads for social media. The spirits brand hired influencers like Garvey Alexander, who has more than 3,600 of her Instagram followers, to promote their products and local DJs.

More than ever, brands are using digital marketing strategies as the most flexible and efficient way to reach shoppers, according to industry experts.

Stephanie Ehui, Director of Group Connections for TBWA\Chiat\Day LA, said in an email to Digiday: .

Even as the digital marketing landscape continues to become more expensive and inundated with advertisers, Ehui said emerging channels like new social platforms, digital audio, streaming and connected homes are attracting smaller brands. He said there is still room for entry.

“By using digital marketing, brands can be more selective with each marketing dollar,” Ehui said in an email. “Instead of buying media for the masses, we can use data to be more targeted.”

As a small regional business with a limited advertising budget, the Duke and Dame co-founders said the brand will focus on face-to-face and online marketing to make the most of every dollar. rice field.

“We are still learning what works from a digital perspective. [strategy]’ said Macaulay. “From a consciousness standpoint, it’s something that builds over time.”

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