How to Develop your Marketing Department

Bootstrap Brewing is on the cusp of ​adding its first team member to the marketing department. Up until now, co-founder Leslie Kaczeus has been the lone member on staff while working with agencies to develop packaging, branding, press, and swag designs.

“This approach has worked extremely well for us for nine-plus years,” she said. “I am, however, now recruiting a team member to focus on social media marketing, and depending on their skill set, I can see that they could take on other projects as well.”

Having the foresight to know when your brand needs to branch out past what you are capable of in-house and on your own is a key part of growth and development.

For Portland, Oregon’s Ecliptic Brewing, when the brewery was born in 2013 by owner John Harris there was no marketing department and he did the social media himself.

“All other marketing operations went through an agency, which worked about 14 hours a month,” explained Marketing Manager Colette Becker. “Although they were awesome, it was expensive.

“John had handed over the social media reins to the company’s Restaurant GM and then again to their Sales Manager, and then it became very clear that Ecliptic needed to dedicate a full person to marketing so that sales could focus on sales.”

So a full-time marketing person was hired about two years after opening.

“One of the biggest factors that played into this was the value for the money: the agency was good, but Ecliptic could get a lot more marketing hours in the book if they brought the work in-house,” Becker said.

For both ​her marketing role and as an owner, Kaczeus​ said ​it’s extremely important for ​her to always be involved in new product development and annual and quarterly vision planning meetings. For this new position​ being created at Bootstrap​, Kaczeus​ said that she recently reached out to the marketing team ​for one of ​the brand’s distribution partners to get input on what they felt ​the Colorado brewery needed​.

“[It]​ helped me create the job description​,” she said.​

Cost-Effective Marketing

Ecliptic really focused on social media in the beginning, and Becker said they still do to this day.

“It’s cheap and accessible to so many people,” she pointed out. “In the spring of 2019, Ecliptic expanded its marketing department and had a part-time social media coordinator added for a dedicated position

“Since that piece of the job is so significant for us, it was clear that this was the best way to break down the job functions,” Becker said. “The marketing manager still oversees social media, but lots of the nitty-gritty pieces are executed by our social guru.”

Relay Your Info

No matter what the size, communication between departments to help promote a new product or campaign is essential.

No successful campaign has ever come out of the DuClaw house without the creativity of all departments,” said Marketing Manager Rachel Bradley.

“Keeping an open line of communication is essential to ensure our campaigns reflect our teams’ core values, and collective input​,” she said.

Each year, ​the Baltimore-based brewery gather​s​ all employees to share ideas for ​the following year’s beer lineup.

​“Once we fill every inch of space on the huge whiteboard in our office, the department heads will get together to narrow down the list,” Bradley said. “From my viewpoint, I believe our strongest performing campaigns have been created with a blend of perspectives and suggestions.”

One idea that sprang up for 2021 was the brewery’s hopped sour series featuring a QR code on each can, along with a customized playlist featuring recommendations from the DuClaw team.

The recent “Hopportunity Awaits” Hazy IPA project was built thoughtfully from all departments of the DuClaw staff, Bradley said.

I​t was​ the first release in what will be an annual campaign ​for the brand ​to raise awareness and create more pathways for diversity in the craft beer industry.

With partial proceeds dedicated to Craft x EDU, DuClaw was able to raise $4,000 to create a scholarship for emerging brewing professionals to develop their capabilities and gain access to training.

“[It was] combining our passion to craft a solid IPA, create engaging packaging, and stay true to our mission of making real change to better our industry,” Bradley said.

Use your Tools

For Kaczeus​, her goal is to automate and streamline as many tasks as possible with the use of online tools.

“Some of the most helpful changes have been through implementing VIP and Untappd,” she said.

Before integrating VIP’s beer tracker software with Bootstrap’s website, Kaczeus​ used to manually enter new accounts into Google Maps.

“[It] was extremely time consuming and then became impossible as we added multiple states to our distribution network,” she said.

Untappd for Business allowed Bootstrap to replace a handwritten chalkboard menu in the taproom with an automated TV plus update the “What’s On Tap” webpage simultaneously.

All of the brewery’s taproom events are listed on a Google calendar which automatically feeds into Cityspark listings at newspapers that subscribe to that service. All those help build an audience in places where perhaps a person wouldn’t take the time to populate such info.

Not Always In-House

​Along with starting with outside help to get a brand started, going back to experts that deal with art for packaging or website development is never a bad thing when it comes to building your company’s image.

Becker said most of Ecliptic’s marketing functions are done in-house now, but they still outsource some stuff, like label creation and major website updates.

“These are things left best to designer experts,” she said.

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