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  • New Beer Flavor Showcases Marketing Leverage

    I was at a friend’s house this weekend and he offered me a new beer that just came to market in Rhode Island a few weeks ago.
    I accepted his offer to try the Narragansett Brewing Company’s “Autocrat Coffee Milk Stout.” After trying the new, limited edition brew, my mind started thinking about what small businesses can learn from this innovative flavor.

    First, unless you are from Rhode Island, the company and flavor needs some explaining. Narragansett Brewing Company started in 1890 closed its doors in the 1980s and then a local, Mark Hellendrung and a bunch of investors re-established the brand in 2005. Beer lovers would find their story very interesting. Second, coffee milk is the state drink (think chocolate milk syrup – just coffee) and Autocrat is the leading manufacturer of coffee syrup. The launch of the limited edition brew seems to have been very successful since it seems like stores can’t keep it on the shelves.

    As I was sipping this thick beer, I kept on thinking about how important it is to know your market but second how many benefits can be gained from leveraging successful companies or professionals that surround you. Narragansett certainly has had a following over the past eight years but it still isn’t one of the first five beers most Rhode Islanders would rattle off when at the bar. Narragansett knows they are good at making beer. They also know how important it is to gain traction with patrons in their backyard to gain national momentum. So, what is something new and innovative that no other beer competitor has and will really grasp the attention of the local audience? How about a coffee milk stout?

    Here is the smart move – it isn’t a local beer company that is trying to incorporate coffee milk. They leverage the name of the leading coffee syrup company that every Rhode Islander can identify with – Autocrat. If you lived in Rhode Island for five year – then you had a bottle of Autocrat coffee syrup hang out in your fridge – even if you never used it. What a great partnership.

    How can this apply to you as you get ready for 2014?

    If you are an entrepreneur and don’t have a grasp on who your ideal client or market is, then no-one will. When was the last time you studied who your market was and what they looked like? Or went a step deeper to really understand their other hobbies, likes, interests and how they spend their discretionary time or income. Periodically revisiting this exercise can allow you to find unique collaborations with other professionals who are trying to get in front of the same market. This of course can lead to more referrals or spark an ancillary line of income. What better time to reflect on potential partnerships as we head towards the new year?

    Questions to spark potential marketing partnerships, referral sources or ancillary lines of revenue using your existing market:

    • Who are my top clients or customers?
    • What do most of them share in common?
    • How do they spend their discretionary time or dollars?
    • What other businesses are getting their attention for income or dollars?
    • What professionals do my customers visit before or after me to complement the work that I do?
    • What do my top clients value?
    • If my top clients value _________________ from my company, then they would value these other types of business or referrals_________________.
    • What parts of local culture does my business thrive on?
    • What are the most recognized names in the marketplace you work in? Does any of the work that those professionals conduct fit with your ideal clients?
    • What other companies in the area are my biggest advocates?
    • If I could spark a relationship with the owner of________________company, my business could double in 2014?


    Eddy is the director of a unique training and development collaborative platform that services financial planning firms in the northeast where he has arguably worked with more Gen Y financial professionals than anyone in the country over the past four years. He is also the founder of The Growth Game, LLC. a professional development company and has authored a book that holds the same title. Eddy is a certified coach and specializes in helping professionals develop sales skills, leadership approaches and implement business development activity systems. Eddy has served on a number of national field training committees and has had articles published in industry leadership journals. You can email him at er@thegrowthgame.com.  www.thegrowthgame.com

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