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Bourbon Brand Owner Now Owns His Customers

Bourbon Brand Owner Now Owns His Customers

Bourbon brand owner now owns his customers. Sam is that bourbon brand owner who now owns his customers.

Sam thought he owned his brand’s customers. He didn’t.

He owned a relationship with his distributors.

He owned a relationship with a portion of his restaurant and retail buyers. Those business owners taking deliveries from the distributors.

In fact, he was 2 to 3 degrees away from owning the relationship with the customers who actually swipe a card and pay to drink the product sold by his “resellers”.

Agencies have been expert at talking brands and pros like Sam into thinking social engagement, demographic reporting, analytics, and distributor data equate to customer ownership. It doesn’t.

Let’s break it down into what’s known as First Party Data, Second Party Data, and Third Party Data.



Third Party Data usually comes not from the direct relationship between a customer and a company, but an outside source that has collected the data. Third-party data often comes from a variety of sources across the web, and this data is then aggregated, segmented, and sold to companies for their own advertising use. (Think of demographic data, social media analytics, and reports sent to you by your agency.)


Second Party Data is first-party data from a trusted partner. This data can help a company achieve greater scale than relying on its own data alone, and because the data isn’t sold openly, it can provide greater value than third-party data, which is usually available to anyone who wants to buy it. (Think of data provided to you by your distributors.)


First Party Data is data about a company’s customers that is collected and owned by that company. Information about customers is compiled through software and systems that the company itself owns. The company can use this data (digital interactions, purchase history, behavior, preferences, etc.) to create ads, content, and experiences catering to an individual’s interests. (Think of data from Drizzly or a wine club list that you own or an email list from your distillery tour buyers or the data from Shared Spirits.)

Heineken – the world’s second-largest beer maker looks for ways to “future proof” its data strategy around identity, privacy and consent, and use data across its brands — Heineken USA also owns Dos Equis and Tecate — to ensure it can segment and target across channels.

In another move similar to Heineken’s, AB launched a Free Beer for Data initiative. I’d consider it lame but it indicates big brands are moving to programming that highlights real consumer insight.

So how did Sam make the move to customer ownership? There are numerous ways.

Ambassador Clubs and Community – this method is one requiring strategic planning and proper budgets. Building this base of affinity driven consumers should be a top priority for brands.

A Direct to Consumer Sales Channel – this method of customer ownership details working within our antiquated three tier structure, however, within certain states, brands can get meaningful coverage and work with sellers who would share marketing and buyer data.

A Digital Activation Solution – this is where Shared Spirits comes into play. Through appropriate spends with Shared Spirits’ Sampling-as-a-Service software, spirits, wine, and beer brands have the opportunity to engage local on-premise accounts and their Ambassador networks in the compliant deployment of drink credits featuring their brand that are redeemable at the participating key accounts. For the first time ever, a significant percentage of marketing budget goes to depletion via a relationship with Shared Spirits as the agency deploying its technology.

There is no doubt. Marketing is changing. A serious brand has to move fast to stay up with innovation. If you’d like to learn more about how forward thinking spirits, wine, and beer brands are owning their customer relationships, we would like to talk. Schedule that chat here!

By Shared Spirits

Liquid to Lips Marketing. Drizly and Venmo met. They mixed it up in a cocktail called Shared Spirits!

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