Why a four-year-old whiskey brand is finally adding digital marketing to its mix

Duke and Dame, a Florida-based regional whiskey brand, has spent the last year bolstering its digital marketing efforts, testing social video ads, influencer marketing and digital audio, to introduce itself to more of buyers.

“When the pandemic hit, we really had to adapt our marketing approach to that environment,” said Amani Macaulay, co-founder of Duke and Dame. “It really forced us to learn the digital space a little bit better.”

The four-year-old brand began experimenting with digital marketing channels during the pandemic, which made its established in-person and experiential marketing strategies impossible. Although many have resumed in-person operations, Macaulay said the spirits brand will continue to invest in a digital strategy, bridging the gap between online and offline.

“While in-store and point-of-sale products can introduce the product to a customer who visits that location, you have the opportunity to reach many more people when you leverage digital marketing,” he said. he declares.

This year, Duke and Dame should spend at least 40% of its budget on paid digital marketing, up from 20% last year, he said, without providing exact numbers. Duke and Dame spent more than $17,000 on marketing this year, according to Kantar, though those numbers don’t include social media spending because Kantar doesn’t track those numbers. It’s also unclear what Duke and Dame have spent on marketing in the past, as those numbers weren’t available through Kantar and Macaulay declined to elaborate.

As the regional brand grows and seeks to present itself in front of a national audience, digital marketing efforts will take up an even bigger chunk of the budget, according to Macaulay, though he declined to elaborate. However, as the ongoing pandemic has eased stay-in-place restrictions, the brand has taken part in in-person events, including attending a whiskey festival in Detroit earlier this year.

To date, Duke and Dame have created display ads and ads in digital audio, digital outdoor advertising and social media on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. The liquor brand has also hired influencers like Garvey Alexander, who has over 3,600 Instagram followers, to promote its product as well as local DJs.

Now more than ever, brands are using a digital marketing strategy as the most flexible and effective way to connect with shoppers, especially as a potential recession looms, according to industry experts. sector.

“Consumers are becoming more digitally connected every day, and as marketers, if we don’t respect this behavior, we will be left behind,” said Stephanie Ehui, Director of Group Connections at TBWAChiatDay. LA, to Digiday in an email. .

Even as the digital marketing landscape continues to become more expensive and crowded with advertisers, Ehui said there is still room for smaller brands in emerging channels like new social platforms, audio digital, streaming and connected homes.

“By using digital marketing, brands can be more selective with every marketing dollar,” Ehui said via email. “Instead of buying media for the masses, you can use data to be more targeted.”

As a small, regional company with a limited advertising budget, the Duke and Dame co-founder said the brand will focus on in-person and online marketing, getting the most out of every dollar.

“We are still learning what works in terms of digital [strategy]Macaulay said. “From an awareness perspective, it’s something that builds over time.”

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