Where TailGate’s Owner Would Rather Put His Advertising Budget

There are many ways as a brewery owner where you can spend ancillary dollars to better your business. It can be in brewing equipment, extra lab pieces, more manpower, advertising, expansion, or more. Ranking those kinds of ideas can be a chore, but Wes Keegan is confident in where he socks his cash. Investing it back into his company via higher wages, healthcare, PTO, a 401K, and a 4% match was more important than a deal with a local Nashville sports team or buying a billboard.

​”It’s like, you want six figures for us to put a little sign in this arena, or stadium or a billboard on the side of the freeway​,” said TailGate Brewery‘s founder. ​”​Our employees don’t ​care about that. Most of them may not even go to the game because they can’t afford a ticket. Why don’t we just put that money into their pockets and pay them instead?

​”​The marketing answer to that was a real one where it wasn’t so much like, hey, let’s pay people better​ … and this is how we’re going to market it. ​Personally, it pisses me off when I go to a game and I don’t see my beer on draft, because I want to support us​ ​and obviously, in my biased opinion, I’d rather drink it. But that opportunity is not there if you’re not stroking the check. And so we actually had a very candid conversation with our leadership team​. We talked about every single big advertising opportunity in the city. And we just kind of came back and said why don’t we just pay the team​. Let’s just put this in the benefits.​ ​It’s gonna cost more to offer 100% benefits, not even measuring the amount of work that everybody’s gonna have to do on the admin side and red tape, and the communication, but just from the dollars for dollar standpoint, why don’t we just do that?”

READ MORE: TailGate Set to Offer All Healthcare Costs for Employees

Keegan said he likes​ to support businesses ​that support their employees​ and he thinks other consumers do as well. That’s the best marketing you can have, he noted.

​”​That’s where I speak with my wallet. Why wouldn’t we want those people coming to us as well​,” he asked. “​How do you make sure that you’re as important to your community in 15 years? What are the companies that have done that correctly​? Those types of considerations go into it, but then the advertising piece is a real one, because companies like Costco don’t advertise​ —​ they send out mailers and stuff like that.

​”We have to communicate to the public that we’re not going to be the cheapest pint in town, we’re not going to have the cheapest pizza. But here’s why: What you’re doing by paying that extra dollar for a pepperoni pizza at our taprooms is you’re helping provide healthcare to the person who stands behind the bar.

“In our state. In our industry, that’s about as unique as it gets.​”

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