Personalization on Tap: How the Beverage Industry Turns Data Into Profits

Personalization on Tap: How the Beverage Industry Turns Data Into Profits

Personalization on Tap: How the Beverage Industry Turns Data Into Profits

In 1999, Budweiser debuted its infamous “Whassup” ad campaign, with a well-orchestrated launch during Monday Night Football. The concept—dudes slurring greetings into their phones—illustrated mainstream beer’s dominance in America.

But times have changed, and Americans aren’t drinking as much beer. For beverage brands, staying top of mind—and in customers’ shopping carts—amidst a proliferation of choices has never been more challenging.

Paying close attention to consumer preferences can pay off for beverage companies. For example, while beer growth may have slowed, alcohol-free beer has been quietly taking off. Another sign of the times: in keeping up with current health trends, Reed’s Zero Sugar Ginger Beer is now keto-certified.

Capitalizing on Consumer Preference for Convenience

Adding to the competition, there’s a new kid in town: ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages. This category of pre-mixed boozy beverages offers the same convenience that beer drinkers have enjoyed for decades, available in cans or Tetra Paks, so they’re easily packed for a trip to the park or beach.

At least 40 new RTD products have launched in the last three years. Unlike commercial flavored malt beverages like Mike’s Hard Lemonade, the new RTDs are targeting millennials—the ones who grew up on organic foods and Kombucha—and are helping drive demand for low- and no-alcohol drinks. For example, MillerCoors launched a gluten-free low-calorie brand called Cape Line Sparkling Cocktails.

One component of the RTD market—hard seltzer—is a $550 million business and growing, with UBS estimating its worth at $2.5 billion by 2021. RTD beverages are the industry’s response to changing consumer needs, with convenience high on the list of factors driving purchase. But how do beverage companies stay ahead of the fickle consumer?

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Beverage Companies Unify & Make Sense of Data Using Customer Data Platforms

Beverage giant AB InBev—the parent company to over 500 brands, including Budweiser, Bud Light, and Stella Artois—is the world’s largest global beer company and one of the world’s top five consumer products companies. Its iconic brands are recognized everywhere. AB InBev not only produces its beer; it markets, distributes, and sells it. The company employs a customer marketing strategy the rest of the industry can learn from—revolving around a deeper understanding of their customer: what they buy, why they buy it, when they buy it, and how the brand fits into their lives. One thorn in the company’s side had always been its data silos, which until recently, they had no way to connect.

Lucas Borges, senior manager, consumer data strategy at AB InBev, tells AdExchanger, “We had too many brands, too many countries, too many people and too many ways of working.” Many of its brands work with different agencies, each of which is responsible for its own customer marketing campaigns. Without a centralized customer database, there was no way for AB InBev to know if the Corona customer in database A was the same one in Bud Light customer database B. The company’s marketing efforts lacked coordination and operational efficiency. And engagement data from multiple campaigns was never consolidated into a single repository.

AB InBev tapped Treasure Data to solve its data problem with its global enterprise customer data platform (CDP). Treasure Data worked with AB InBev to develop a standardized taxonomy, bringing all of AB InBev’s disparate data sources together into one database, where it could be enhanced and augmented. The outcome of these efforts is now one single source of truth, made possible through newly unified customer profiles.

Data on its own, locked away in silos, has little value to any organization. But unifying, augmenting, and analyzing data from multiple sources can pack a punch. Data sources can include:

  • Ecommerce sales data
  • CRM and campaign data
  • Social media trends and data
  • Geographic data
  • Demographic data
  • Seasonal trends and taste preferences
  • Nielsen and survey data
  • IoT data

Having done the groundwork to organize its data, AB InBev can now provide better personalization, conduct post-campaign data analysis more efficiently, and gain deeper insights. AB InBev can analyze combined data to deliver the right product mix and highly targeted marketing campaigns, such as real-time coupons at the point of purchase tailored to the right consumers.

AB InBev has also used Treasure Data’s tools for journey orchestration as well as data security and governance. Adding 20 new prebuilt data connectors—including The Trade Desk, Criteo, Magento, Snapchat and Facebook Leads—their CDP combines data streams from disparate sources, allowing everyone, including data scientists and hands-on marketers to access the data in one place. “It gives us more control over our data, which was very fragmented before,” Borges says. 

The Tapestry of Customer Data

Customer data is everywhere, and weaving it together is equal parts art and science. It can be used for everything from optimizing demand forecasting to developing high-converting campaigns. Data-driven marketing allows companies like AB InBev to analyze consumer behavior and respond with customized marketing and customer experiences that drive more conversion.

For more on how a customer data platform helps empower CPG brands, visit Treasure Data’s CPG Solutions page.

Tom Treanor
Tom Treanor
Tom Treanor was head of marketing at Treasure Data. He focuses on marketing, martech, CDPs, and digital marketing. Follow him on Twitter @RtMixMktg.
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