How Patrón plans to get you to drink tequila on New Year’s Eve

By | 3 minute read | December 12, 2017

Getting the right message to the right consumer is Patrón’s mission.

New Year’s Eve is one of the biggest nights of the year for alcohol consumption. For alcohol companies, that also makes it one of the most important nights of the year for business.

“New Year’s Eve is certainly one of the top 10 drinking occasions,” Patrón Spirits Company Marketing Vice President Adrian D. Parker told IBM.

Making the most of that big sales opportunity doesn’t just mean managing a nimble and transparent supply chain that can adapt to disruptions. It also means crafting the kind of marketing strategy that gets the right messages to the right consumers at the right time. In both scenarios, artificial intelligence has proven a valuable partner.

Until recently, spirits brands largely avoided digital marketing and social media in order to be sure their posts adhered to rules about marketing to underage consumers. Now, social media platforms offer better age targeting, which means brands can be confident they’re only reaching consumers of legal drinking age. As a result, Patrón, Pernod Ricard and other brands have started investing much more in digital marketing in the last couple years. A top priority in that transformation is targeting.

Getting the right message to the right consumer is Patrón’s mission.

Getting the right message to the right consumer is Patrón’s mission.

“Targeting is very important, especially when you look at spirits. The consideration phrase for buying a bottle of a premium tequila most of the time is very short,” Parker said.

In an age in which consumers are bombarded by more messages across more channels than ever before, said IBM Watson Customer Engagement marketing director Alyssa Waxenberg, targeting consumers with the utmost precision is the best way for marketers to break through the noise.

Strong targeting requires strong data, and marketers today have mountains of it at their disposal, including customer purchasing data, location data, and social media data. But targeting strategy, Waxenberg said, can’t stop at data collection.

The challenge for most marketers is how to access that data, make sense of it, tie it all together and use it in a way that’s possible at scale to target all your customers,’ she said.

At Patrón, Parker said, targeting strategy considers multiple data points. The company chooses which recipes and products to promote to a consumer by drawing on an individual’s previous online visits as well as a flavor profile for the individuals’ region based on data accumulated from nearby visitors to Patrón’s online cocktail lab. Patrón also targets based on occasion. It sends brunch cocktail recipes in the morning, for instance, and shot suggestions in the evening. As New Year’s Eve approaches, it could use all this data to help determine whether a consumer is planning to be at home for the night or out on the town and then target its marketing accordingly.

Patron at bar with bartender 2

“If you’re on our web site and saving or downloading a recipe, that means you’re probably going to make it at home that night or weekend it. And if you’re on our site going to account locator and searching for bars or stores, you’re likely to go out to a restaurant,” he said. “Part of our New Year’s Eve thinking is that whether you’re going out or staying in, we’re arming you with the right products and the right recipes,” Parker said.

While Patrón has made big leaps in the last couple years, Parker said, the company will continue to refine its targeting efforts, with the goal of providing the right products to the right customers in as few clicks as possible.

“Every year we get closer to that reality,” Parker said.