A Sense of Occasion: Using calendar events in your marketing strategy.

Image of Calendar Event: Thanksgiving

How calendar events can drive your on-trade sales

Celebration is a huge part of the drinks industry; there’s nothing like a special time of year for prompting people to enjoy a beverage together encouraging them into the bars or pubs. From Christmas time to St. Patrick’s Day, there are many calendar events where establishments can expect a boost in sales.

But as a drinks brand, how can you win big during these busy periods and ensure it is your label that consumers are choosing? The answer lies in supporting your customer network with strong point of sale collateral to drive sales uplift for your brand.

Special occasions: the size of the prize

Certain calendar events are a red-letter day for hospitality venues. Christmas alone is a major sales pull, with 30-40% of all alcohol sales for the year taking place in the 12-weeks leading up to 25th December, according to the CGA.

In the USA, meanwhile, Thanksgiving causes a significant uplift in drinking activity; Upserve recently noted that alcohol sales jump by 23% on Thanksgiving compared to an average weekday. And these are just two special occasions. From national holidays and festivals to sporting finals, cultural events and carnivals, throughout the year all over the world there are reasons for people to get together at their local bar for socialising and celebration.

Feel the spirit

Calendar events have a significant impact not only on consumers’ desire to go out and celebrate but also their drinking habits. According to Nielsen data, for instance, the sales of flavoured vodkas spike during the festive season, while two-thirds of consumers will choose name-brand spirits in their search for something special.

Many beverage brands are already harnessing the power of key calendar events in off-premise marketing campaigns – and may have even brought out a limited-edition drink just for that occasion – but are yet to exploit the full potential in the on-trade market.

The main reason that retail sales don’t always translate to an uplift in hospitality orders is a lack of brand presence at the bar. While consumers have gone out to celebrate, they are often not seeking a specific brand of drink. With no point of sale material, your brand won’t stand out when they come to order, and you’re missing an opportunity to influence impulse purchases.

Make your brand matter to bars

The quick and easy way to convert crowds to customers is to give the venues in your customer network the POS material they need to promote your brand.

While most bars will be running their own marketing campaigns for Christmas, Thanksgiving and the like, they are unlikely to be putting together special promotions on your drinks when they’re already very busy. Packaging-up a kit of marketing materials makes it easy for them to run occasion-based campaigns centred around your drinks and gives your brand premium position at the point of purchase.

However, to make this approach work effectively, you need a system that enables your sales staff to provide collateral that can easily be adapted to your customers’ branding, so that it appears in-keeping with any event promotions they already have in place.

The template for success

The simplest way to create calendar-based promotions that work for both your brand and your venues is to invest in menu design software that can create campaign templates.

With the right technology, your central marketing team can develop artwork concepts for each occasion during the year, accompanied by a series of seasonal drink suggestions. Your field sales reps can then take these templates to meetings on their smartphone or tablet, and work with bar managers to customise designs with elements such as their logo, imagery and pricing.

By simplifying the creative process, you’re far more likely to get uptake from your customer network. Not only that, you are keeping all collateral within your brand guidelines, whilst enabling venues to stamp their branding and personality on the campaign.

Point of sale collateral is the key to influencing consumers; 1 in 5 Baby Boomers (aged 50+) and 1 in 10 Millennials (aged 18-35) make impulse purchases when it comes to consuming alcohol, and even if they’ve planned their drink in advance11, up to 61% have not decided what brand to order.12

Style and Substance

When it comes to capitalizing on calendar events, the first thing to nail is the content. The menu should be your main focus for seasonal campaigns, packed with exciting sounding drinks suggestions and a visually appealing design. This piece of collateral is not only a valuable chance to forge brand allegiance; it’s an opportunity for bars to secure premium drink sales.

With your menu template finalized, you can expand this central piece of content to create a self-service kit for bar managers, containing both online and offline collateral they can leverage as part of a wider marketing campaign. For example, alongside menus, you can create beer mats, banners, brochures, social media posts, digital adverts and website graphics for them to use.

By providing a suite of assets to choose from, all the bar manager needs to do is select the assets they want and pick the elements they want to customize – your sales reps can do the design work on their behalf – and the promotion is in place. With the right POS design software, you can even send the artwork to the printers on their behalf!

Finding the right menu design technology

So much effort already goes into the hospitality marketing calendar; your customer network realizes the sales potential that special occasions offer, but they don’t have the time or incentive to make your brand front and center of their strategy. To put your brand at the heart of key trading days during the year, you need to be proactive and go to bars and pubs with creative concepts and ready-made collateral.

The easier you can make it for venues to run a promotion, the more likely that your customers will take up the offer – and you will both see the tangible impact on on-trade sales. Even at a speculative level, you can produce marketing materials showcasing your seasonal ranges and serving suggestions, enticing them to launch a collaborative campaign.

To make sure the content creation process runs smoothly, you need to choose the right design software. Brandgility is the ideal tool for developing campaigns that can be easily tailored to your customers’ needs.

Brandgility can be fully operated by your sales team, so your customers don’t need any technical knowledge to start co-creating campaigns, and can be used online, offline and on-mobile for quickly turning around event collateral. With 2019 just around the corner, now is the time to invest in a piece of software that can make a difference to your sales calendar.

Venue owners are looking for collateral that will draw-in customers… and they want brand partners to do the majority of the work.

Make the next big calendar hook count towards your on-trade sales targets: book a free demo and see just how easy it is to use our software.   


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