Tastings Trade Blog

Why use Ratings and Reviews in your Marketing Strategy?

The art of mastering ratings and reviews in the beverage industry is a long-standing trade strategy. There are many competitions, industry professionals critics, and media companies to submit too and countless more philosophies on how to best utilize your hard earned trophies.

Whether or not you believe that awards and industry professional promotions are worth the extra effort, there is plenty of your competition that has come to understand the benefits to limit their costs and maximizing their exposure by using these tips. And Tastings.com should be your answer for trusted, critical, industry leading reviews. You can submit a product now here - or read on. Jaclyn Beazley, Sales & Marketing Manager for Tastings.com interviews Malvika Patel, VP of Beverage Trade Network to uncover the value of competitions and tips to help your marketing quest.

"Whether or not you believe that awards are worth the extra effort, here are the top reasons on why they matter," says Malvika Patel.

Q: Why Do Reviews Matter to Distributor and Retailer Buyers?

The subject of awards and reviews has always been scrutinized by many traditional producers who take pride in their labels and have a long standing reputation for quality, but the truth of the matter is that many big distributors and retailers looking to add new brands to their portfolios favor those that have a strong backing of reviews and rewards from reputable sources.

Their interest in decorated brands spawns from their desire to establish consumer confidence for their new brands as early as possible. They tend towards brands that have gone through the motions of amassing promotional media, awards and industry presence because it shows dedication by the producer to long term success and support. The more media and accolades that brands have, the easier it is for them to sell it on their end.

Q: Do Reviews Build Consumer Interest or Influence?

A: Getting new customers to try your product is a difficult task, no matter the circumstances. Using ratings and reviews to coax consumers into purchasing your product is a good way to start. They may not be the ultimate solution, but having well-respected judges give your beverages their approval will instill confidence into the average consumer and might just be enough for them to choose your offering over the competition.

This is why your distribution and retail partners are looking at your reviews and ratings in the first place, but after you've convinced the customer to purchase your product, it's up to you to provide them with a beverage that will keep them coming back for more. As much as gaining a large portfolio of impressive accolades can bolster your brand recognition, it's also important to understand that sometimes all it takes is just a few. 

Q: How Can a Small Producer Use Big Producer Mentality About Awards? 

Large companies and agencies employ a mass submission strategy to competitions. Targeting just one healthy award to market their beverages as winners of, most companies will set benchmark ratings to achieve at competition and then go about submitting their portfolio of beers, wines and spirits to every event until they reach their goals. For example, some wine agencies target 90+ pts in their marketing scheme and will systematically submit all of their wines to Robert Parker, Tastings.com, IWSC & more – all of the major companies - until one of their wines receives their benchmark target. Once they've accomplished their task, they halt their applications and concentrate their efforts on promoting the winning family of wines for a few years via their large commutation networks and media house partners.

As unglamorous and self serving as it sounds, and why many people in the industry have come to loathe the world of competition, you can't ignore that this technique is widely used to help both new brands gain traction and slowing brands gain market strength.

Q: What is a Top Secret When Submitting For Awards?

A: Companies will sometimes target a certain competition or positive review from a specific critic. Understanding your market and your consumers is paramount to successfully marketing your beverages so if you are in a niche market, have a large consumer base in a certain geographical area or know an industry VIP can create a market for your beverage, then using every networking trick and submitting your drinks to exclusive competitions is certainly worth the extra effort.

Q: How Can I Use Media to Increase Award Recognition?

A: Large media outlets play a huge role in informing the masses. Getting popular media to do special reviews and exposés can give you the consumer and industry recognition needed to get your beverage's feet on the ground. Use their platforms as a way to get your message out to the industry – the more media you can garner, the easier it will for you to sell to both distributors and consumers. Here's a great example of how Tastings.com promoted the quality and brand story for an influential Rum brand.

When submitting your beverages to competitions and attending trade shows, be sure to plan ahead. Get in touch with as many agencies as you can and schedule to meet with them to discuss your recent stories. Take the time to communicate as much about your company as possible, including your most recent ratings and reviews.

Q: How Should Brands Market Accolades?

A: Marketing your success is important, so don't stop with third party media companies. Leverage your awards and reviews across your marketing platforms. Use them in your POS (neck sleeves, shelf talkers, etc.) and packaging, promote them on social media and take them to trade shows. The whole reason you looked at getting reviewed and winning awards and competitions was to be able to market your beverage as an attractive commodity to your buyers, so use your marketing department's full potential and squeeze every drop out of your ratings and reviews. Awards and Reviews are one of the best ways you can support your distributor and build successful distribution partnerships.

If you'd like to enter your product for review visit this page to register today with Tastings.com!

If you'd like to learn more about sales, marketing and distribution tips and techniques visit our partner Beverage Trade Network.

The USATT Conference is produced by Beverage Trade Network and is a two-day event that brings together owners, managers, and sales & marketing leaders in the wine, beer and spirits import, distribution and retail industry and helps them learn more about the business, network with other professionals from all areas of the country and exchange ideas and collaborate. The conference will have TED-Style talks where speakers will give you insights into the strategies and standards that the industry’s top thinkers are using to shape the marketplace around you. Sign up here!

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