The Agency Guy BS’d Me with, “Our Scotch Drinkers Just Won’t Download an App.”


I was on the phone with an agency guy a couple of weeks ago. You know, the agency guy that’s been selling high priced activation and education sampling programs and events to the spirits and wine industry for years. As I explained the Shared Spirits app and our Campaign Management Machine, he said, our scotch drinkers just won’t download another app. My response,

“You sound like an agency guy that’s sold a brand a program and you’re not real concerned about whether or not there is a better way.” 

Before we take a deep dive into the scotch space, let’s start with current facts from the app stores. There are as of this day’s post, 42 Scotch specific apps in the Android store. There 52 Scotch specific apps in the Apple store. Of these 94, perhaps 6 are brand owned and funded. Someone, a lot of people actually, thought their passion and the passion of others for Scotch was big enough to fund an app build. I’m sure none of those audiences were of the same brand that the agency guy represents. (insert snark)

 

Let me share some information about today’s scotch drinkers and the scotch side of the business in general. 

The image below shows the steady trend toward higher scotch consumption in the US. In a rolling 30 day period over the last ten years, approximately 3 million more people drink scotch than previously.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There has also been a steady and consistent interest by the consumer in the scotch side of the whiskey business.

While percentage increases in the sales were stellar among bourbons, the consumer interest and engagement side of the business was dominated by scotch. 

Who were and are these passionate scotch drinkers? A post from 2014 from sltn.co.uk lays it out.

“With a focus on Scotland the profile of Scotch whisky in the on-trade has been in the forefront.”
Chris Leggat, commercial director at Douglas Laing & Co, agreed that the events of 2014 helped “raise our national pride in our favourite drink”.
And he claimed that those being turned on to Scotch aren’t necessarily traditional whisky drinkers.
“It’s a competitive arena but whisky is holding its own and performing well,” said Leggat. “The interest in Scotch whisky amongst younger consumers is undoubtedly contributing to this.”
Phil Keene of Whyte & Mackay agreed that whisky has grown in popularity among younger drinkers, although he maintained that there is still an age divide between single malts and blends.
“We can see that growing numbers of consumers under the age of 35 are drinking single malts, which is indicated by the strong growth rates for that category,” said Keene.
“However, when you look at blended whiskies it is an older consumer of around 45 years old.”
It’s not just the age of whisky drinkers that has shifted in recent years.
Sarah Harding, senior brand manager at William Grant & Sons UK, highlighted a shift towards greater balance in gender when it comes to whisky sales.
“In recent years there has been a significant shift in the whisky drinker demographic, as more women and a younger adult audience have started to enjoy and experiment with whisky,” said Harding.”

As a matter of fact, the younger audience is going so far as to grow fast enough that “no age statement” scotch is being sold to the millennial market. This offering is important given the growth of the millennial market in the whiskey business. They just don’t want the heavy complexity of peat and oak. From Whiskey’s Next Wave from Bloomberg

So who actually shares and uses mobile apps to an extent it may matter to a scotch brand? Oddly enough, the same female and young audience that seems to be propelling the increase in brown spirits sales and scotch. I’m sure none of the scotch brand’s drinkers represented by the agency guy would be represented in these stats though. 

App Usage Demographics from Mobile Marketing.com

Demographic information about app users such as race, gender, income, and age is invaluable for understanding app users and what typically influences their behavior. Flurry researchers found that females spend more time and more money on mobile games than men, and are also more loyal users than men. Females spend 31% more on In-App-Purchases and 35% more time in gaming apps than males.

An App Annie analysis revealed that certain types of apps are similarly more popular with men than women. In a 12 month study, it was shown that two-thirds of all travel app downloads on the iOS were performed by men. Unsurprisingly, sports app downloads were also driven almost entirely by men, with three quarters of all sports app downloads coming from males.

On-demand transit apps like Uber, Lyft, and Easy Taxi are also skewed toward men, while photo and video apps are primarily skewed towards women.

Data for 2014 shows that minute generational differences can also have a great impact on mobile behavior. Young adults in the 25-34 year old age range spend nearly 75 hours per month on apps, followed by 18-24 year olds who spend more than 73 hours per month in mobile apps. Comparatively, the 35-54 age demographic spends 64 hours per month, while 55+ year olds spend less than 50 hours per month in apps.

The challenge? One must provide a compelling reason to spend some time on the app you’re promoting. Without a compelling reason, one may install but they won’t activate and generate revenue and the all important data. In our case at Shared Spirits, our model is that of Pirate Marketing Implementation and Metrics. 

Acquisition

Activation

Revenue

Retention

Referral

All of these factors must revolve around significant experiences and ease of use.

With the data showing younger people and females helping to drive scotch sales growth and those same audiences representing massive mobile use, I call bovine scatology on the agency guy who claimed his scotch drinkers wouldn’t download another app. Their intention is to invite 600 people, 300 each night to an education event and tasting. Millennials and Genx’rs with high incomes across 20 cities over a Fall and Spring season. Certainly not the crowd the scotch brand would be served well by having additional data for marketing purposes. Data delivered through providing a terrific set of curated experiences delivered by a well thought out mobile technology. Right. (Insert Snark Again)

 

 

 

Shared Spirits offers a mobile experience via an app that serves for the consumer as a “Venmo for Cocktails”.

On the platform side, we offer a Campaign Management Machine that allows for a new set of metrics and deliverables for sampling of spirits, wine and beer never before seen. Reach out to Sherman Mohr at Shared Spirits if you’d like to learn more about how Shared Spirits can help turn your brand into a data driven success.