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Summer Sales Start in the Winter


Yesterday was Super Bowl Sunday. Super Bowl Sunday is a day that, according to many TV news magazines, there will be more wings, pizza and nachos consumed than any other day in America. Additionally, the gym was also packed yesterday because, according to my theory, people work out in order to eat themselves silly during the game. But, in the back of my head, I can hear my trainer saying, “summer bodies are built in the winter”. Let’ us use that same adage for the alcohol beverage business.

We can all acknowledge that the 1st quarter is the most difficult sales quarter of the year for brands and the 2 and 3 quarter are for placements and marketing. Quarter 4 is for selling, and the last week of the year is for discounting and desperation. That is how the year goes. ALWAYS.

We can all acknowledge that the January – April period is when the magic happens. Meetings, conventions, getting to buyers and brand creation. Our phone rings off the hook with brands that want to be in market NOW. That is fine, but we also get the call from the rosé maker that wants to be in market by May and also wants to be selling in May. That does not make sense! It is important that my readers understand and are clear that selling is a 24/7 job and selling is not only defined by cases moving from A to B. Selling without cases is brand building, selling without cases is meeting, and long, worthless conventions. Selling without cases is flying around and talking up every bartender you encounter in every hotel you stay at and every restaurant you eat at. That is selling January- April.

I often meet the maker that will give us the brand to sell on the ground and wants instant brand awareness and sales. Took Tito 20 years of 24/7 grind and your “Hungarian rosé ” is no different. Makers often look at the first quarter as a slow down, a rest from the peak season. Let’s look at Q1 and Q2 as road building. It is literally an impossible task to get to any account, either on or off premise without a road being built under you. The metaphor of the road is simply the hard work and investment being made in marketing, price posting and adjusting, sales and scale understanding and regulatory hurdles being handled.

So yesterday, I watched the game, I ate my wings and my pizza, and all the while I knew I was not doing the right things for my body to be beach ready come May. I implore, not only my clients, but also any maker out there, to use this slow time as brand building time. Define brand building as not only selling goods but all the unsexy work that goes into that. Tomorrow is another day for me to get back to carb-less eating and tomorrow is another day to look at sales as more than moving boxes.

It will be swimsuit season very, very soon.

Brian RosenThree Tier Talk
by Brian Rosen, www.BevStrat.com

Brian Rosen is Former CEO of America’s #1 Retailer, Sam’s Wines in Chicago, Former Partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Retail and sought after retailer consultant.

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