The Importance of Engaging the Three-Tiers Within A US Beverage Alcohol Marketing Campaign – Part 1


This is part 1 in a 2-part series outlining the importance of engaging trade as part of a fully integrated PR

It could be argued that there has never been a better time to be a consumer of wine and spirits than
today. There is more quality, more choice, and more availability than ever before. With this increase in
choice, however, comes an increase in competition.

All of this holds true, even after the last few years have tested the resilience of the market in a multitude
of ways. Complications in an already competitive marketplace have created challenges at all points
along the supply chain. The fact that consumers are now aware of the 3-tier system and the difficulties
that have been experienced within it is evidence of a more knowledgeable customer.

The evolution of the industry has created opportunities for communication strategies to evolve along
with it. Messaging and brand awareness have always been the focus for PR and communications
professionals. Valuable connections with members of the media are cultivated to build trust and foster
relationships where all parties benefit. These strategies will continue to prove important in the future.
A fully integrated communications strategy, however, must take advantage of relationships not only in
the media landscape but within the framework of the 3-tier system of trade professionals that operate
in the U.S. and beyond. From the producer, through the importer/distributor and finally the
retailer/restaurateur there are many relationships to be leveraged to benefit not only the client, but all

The key to successful relationship building is still the same. All parties must benefit from a true
partnership. This, however, cannot be a partnership predicated on a one-time execution of one or more
sets of deliverables. An importer or distributor may use depletions as one measure of success.
Increasing that number year over year is a true measure of success.

Where to start, Producer Clients.
Every Client at Colangelo & Partner’s is different and has unique needs.
More and more frequently producer clients are coming to us looking for a route to an increasingly
competitive market. As a wine or spirits lover it is wonderful to see not only the quality available in the
market but also the quantity and diversity of selection to choose from. That same celebration for wine
and spirits lovers is a challenge for producers. No longer can just being delicious guarantee reliable
import and/distribution.

When looking to enter any market, knowledge of the market is paramount. Successfully implementing a
data driven strategy to select import and distribution partners begins a process that relies on
understanding any market that a client wants to enter. C&P, through its network of industry contacts,
has access to multiple sources of market data, including Nielsen, The Wine Market Journal, Liv-Ex and
Sip Source to name a few.

Access to data is a start. The team within the Integrated Trade division at C&P has the necessary skills
and expertise to analyze the data and present it to clients in a clear meaningful way that can be acted
upon immediately and intelligently based on their recommendations. As a communications agency we
have more than just ties to wonderful winemakers to offer. Once a relationship is forged, a fully
developed media relations program can be launched to support the entry of new products into the
market. The ability to reach out and drive conversations with key opinion makers elevates the potential
of a brand’s success even on the most level of playing fields.

Once the product has reached the market, constant communication with members of the press will
ensure that your client’s wines are in full view of the consumer. Additionally, trade events such as retail
tastings, staff trainings and masterclass seminars will help pull product through the market leading to a
consistent need for replenishment.

C&P works with multiple partners connected to retailers ranging from boutique shops to multiple outlet
chains. These partners work to create carefully designed in-store activations to drive sales and
awareness of the clients’ products. Staff trainings executed on site make sure that a client’s products are
top of mind for not only the sales people working the floor at these locations but also key decision
makers as well. Lastly, Masterclass style seminars featuring winemakers, distillers or other members of
the production team can be tied together with floor tastings and staff trainings for an inclusive retail

These immersive hands-on activation can happen in both off premise and on premise locations. C&P has
worked with many premier restaurant groups such as Eataly and the Mina Group for example, to
highlight not only individual producers, but wine regions and appellations as well.