There was a time when consumers had a relationship with an alcohol brand or category for a large chunk of their life.
A beer drinker was a beer drinker whatever their brand of choice was, and he or she would invariably enjoy that drink down the pub.
And where it was a he, the gentleman would order a “G & T for the lady” or something else deemed right and proper for a woman.
But there has been a seismic shift in behaviour, both in terms of consumption and drinking habits
People are drinking more at home, drinking more at different times of the week and at different stages in their lives. To match changing requirements, there has been an explosion in categories and brands.
All things considered, drinks producers can no longer rely on loyalty and tradition and have to work a lot harder on forging and maintaining relationships. Loyalty is more transient nowadays and alcohol brands now need to work harder to encourage repeat custom.
The shift in balance towards the off-trade in particular, with its focus on sales promotions and discounting, has eroded brand loyalty as bargain-thirsty consumers have their heads tuned by 2-for-1’s and 12 for a fiver’s.
I was reminded of this polemic last week after learning that Diageo had handed TMW a CRM brief for Guinness to drive engagement with consumers.
Diageo is reviewing its direct marketing agencies across its entire British business to make sure relationships are established, fostered and maintained.
As a premium drinks maker, Diageo understands more than any producer the value of CRM in alcoholic drinks marketing.
Choice has never been greater, drink cheaper and available more often and in more places. All of which has led to ever more fickle customers.
The potentially toxic brew that means CRM has never been more essential. Drinks makers need to build real and lasting relationship, or customers will call last orders.