6 Reasons How Successful Marketers Are Like Great Mixologists

And no, that’s not just because we enjoy happy hour on a Friday night. There’s a lot to learn from the process of mixology, from understanding customers and drawing on experience, to selecting the right tools and keeping up with trends.

So let’s explore the key elements of creating the perfect customer experience, with inspiration from the masters behind the bar.

1. Understand your customer

Investing the time to understand your customers’ tastes ensures that you have a better chance of preparing something which is right for them.

Whilst a mixologist may have a quick chat with the customer on the other side of the bar about their tastes – sweet or sour? shaken or stirred? – the first step of any marketer activity should be to understand the people who you are trying to sell you products or services to.

Customer surveys, interviews, observation and purchase behaviour data are useful methods to begin to understand your customers’ wants, needs, challenges and personality. Use this to inform your marketing outreach and personalise your customers’ experiences.

Amazon is a great example of ingenious personalisation. By analysing customer data, they paved the way with targeted content with suggestions of products available to buy based on items that they have previously browsed or purchased. However, a great marketer must know where to draw the line so that personalisation doesn’t result in being overly intrusive.

2. Select the right tools

It’s a mixologist’s job to know when to use a tall or short glass, which ingredients go together well or when a shaker is necessary. As a marketer it is your responsibility to make important and somewhat daunting decisions when it comes down to selecting the appropriate tools for any marketing campaigns (website, blog, email marketing, SEO, and so on…)

You should draw on your experience and skills, as well as industry information, data and analytics, and an understanding of the audiences in order to know which tools are most likely to grab their attention and stir them into action.

For instance, not every brand requires an Instagram page (i.e. most B2B professional service providers) and it’s just unrealistic for some smaller brands to attempt large-scale billboard advertising when weighed against the potential ROI.

It is also important to remember that just because something is trendy right now it doesn’t mean that is right for all. Call me Old Fashioned, but sometimes more classic, traditional methods can have the biggest impact. Don’t ignore print advertising just because everyone seems to be fixated on ‘digital’ marketing. Your audiences still live and breathe in the real world, despite the perception that we are all glued to our devices 24/7.

3. Produce high quality content

Ever looked at the wall behind a bar in disbelief, mesmerised by the vast amount of varieties of each spirit on display?

With so many options at your disposal, each element needs to be carefully selected, in the appropriate measure and blended in the correct way in order to produce something that is truly memorable. Otherwise, the results could put a bad taste in your customer’s mouth and damage brand reputation.

In the same way that a great Margarita can’t be made with poor quality tequila, a marketing campaign will not succeed if the content is poor.

Each ingredient is an important factor towards the overall flavour of the drink; from the spirits and mixers, to the finishing touches (think smoke billowing out from an Old Fashioned or a grind of black pepper in a gin).

A round of cocktails is always better when shared with friends. Whether you choose to post regular, informative blog posts, produce entertaining video content, or visually compelling infographics, the better the content the more exposure your brand will get via social shares.

Don’t just throw everything at your audiences. Content should be produced in line with your campaign objectives, so let these guide which content you choose to promote.

One brand that likes to shake up their audiences and cause a stir by creating entertaining, sharable content, is the leading action-camera brand, GoPro. The success of their brand relies on building connections with audiences by championing user generated content. The result? Countless videos of exhilarating skydives and nail-biting shark encounters that can keep you gripped for hours.

4. Keep up with trends

Perhaps in summer you might enjoy a fresh Mojito on a rooftop bar, but on a cool winter evening an Espresso Martini is what takes your fancy.

Mixology and marketing are both fast-moving industries where it pays to keep up with trends and adapt your strategy accordingly. As a marketer you need to stay on top of this and adapt your content marketing strategy to fit with trends throughout the year to ensure that the brand remains relevant and doesn’t become stagnant.

You may attend industry events to hear the latest from your peers and experts in the field, or, more simply, this can be achieved by being an expert in social listening. Monitoring what your target audiences are interested in and catching onto topical interests is a key way of staying in tune with and starting a conversation with potential customers.

Fashion brands are perhaps the most notorious when it comes to keeping up with trends, and are often two seasons ahead in terms of their stock. However, it is equally important in other industries such as the food sector – adapting menus to your guests’ tastes is important and has potential to change rapidly due to inspiration from international cuisines and changes in public eating habits.

5. Get creative

Knowledgeable mixologists don’t always stick to the menu as they aim to expand the taste buds of the customer through their inventive creations.

As marketers, we should be doing this. We should push the boundaries where appropriate, be inventive and experiment with different tactics to figure out what really works for the brand and what resonates with audiences.

Be inspired by the possibilities to create compelling campaigns with a twist. After all, mixology is a balance between science and art. True creativity, when based on credible information, experience and insight will lead to a more memorable campaign and will make you stand out against your competitors.

Coca-Cola is the master of creative marketing; their hugely successful ‘Share A Coke’ campaign showed that consumers jump at the chance to purchase something if they feel a personal connection with it, and not only share the actual product, but share images of the personalised bottles online, over 6 million times in 2015 alone (not to mention that it’s the perfect addition to a Long Island Iced Tea!)

6. Deliver a fantastic customer experience

There are high expectations when it comes to cocktails, as a visit to an upmarket cocktail bar is often the choice for special occasions, fancy nights out and sophisticated evenings. After getting to know your customer, selecting the right tools to deliver your campaign, creating compelling content and getting creative, you should have a recipe for a successful campaign.

However, it is essential that the customer must enjoy the finished product. Whilst it might look great visually, if the actual product or service that you’re selling doesn’t live up to expectations, your brand’s reputation may be on the rocks.

You need to ensure that an excellent customer service is delivered, from every tweet, web page and image, right through to the finished product. After all, if your customer has a good experience, they are going to tell others about the delicious cocktail and the bar they ordered it from, and hopefully return to make a repeat purchase.