50 ml of Bourbon, one cube or teaspoon of demerara sugar, 3-4 dashes of angostura bitter, one wheel of orange and a dash of club soda. The perfect ingredients to make an Old Fashioned (a few of which may or may not have been sampled at the Sherpa Christmas Party on Friday…). But, how do you get to the end product? Throw it all in a glass and mix it up, surely? Well, yes…if you want a very average, slightly murky, bitty drink. Making the perfect cocktail involves a process to ensure the relevant ingredients are properly measured, combined at the correct times and the flavours are balanced. (do you see where I’m going with this…?). We learnt this on Friday, during our Christmas party cocktail making lesson and it suddenly dawned on me as I was trying to master the technique of muddling, that actually mixology forms part of what I do every day (there we go…).
Although many people think when we are marketing a product, we are just trying a shotgun of different tactics and hoping one of them actually works, there is actually a process in everything we do. Everything is planned out and before each campaign is launched the key ingredients are selected in order to make sure they will have the desired effect, complement each other and are applicable for the consumer. It is as pointless serving a long island iced tea to someone who is driving, as it is to serve marketing for an Enterprise Resource Planning System on snapchat. The customer has to come first…you can make the best margarita in the world, but if your customer doesn’t like tequila then it is wasted. In translation, don’t serve content that you think is great, serve content that is suitable for your customer and they think is great!
So, what is the best way to plan your ingredients? We have to look at the ‘finished cocktail’ as our target and work backwards to identify what will create the best mix. Sometimes a wildly complicated concoction of numerous ingredients is required, other times, keeping it simple and serving it straight up will hit the mark. As with marketing, measuring is vital – it is hugely important to have an understanding of what’s going on in your creation! It is then vital to make sure ingredients are added at the right time – soda will make your cocktail explode if added before shaking, in the same way that bottom of the funnel content will break your sales cycle if served before the customer has reached that point in their journey. Conversely, paid traffic perfectly complements an email campaign, so adding these components together will bring out the best in your campaign, in the same way that the angostura bitters will perfectly dissolve the sugar creating a balanced base for your drink. Timing and point of execution is critical for success.
One thing I enjoyed on Friday evening was getting to sample all the drinks we made! Ok, this may seem like an indulgence, but in fact is a necessary practice of mixology. In fact, it is the mixologist’s version of optimisation. Once you have planned your strategy, selected your ingredients, measured each stringently, combined the elements and created the finished article, it is paramount that you test your offer…and if it isn’t exactly right, then tweak it. It is what we do every day as marketers. Now, our campaigns are obviously a little longer, so we are able to optimise over time and keep making adjustments until the results are suitable, but the process is the same. Don’t just roll something out and leave it there. Measure, test and tweak to make it perfect, so it is just what the customer needs.
Finally, don’t go it alone! Getting the entire team together, working collaboratively is not only fun, but effective. We found that in our cocktail making session everyone had skills in different areas – this is highly reflective of our team. We are made up of specialists and all have strengths in different areas; but bring us together and magic happens! Have fun with your campaigns and let your creativity pour out! And, if you are not cut out for cocktail making, why not get the experts in and let a specialist agency work their magic?
Well I don’t know about you but it might be time for an Old Fashioned…it’s 5 O’clock somewhere in the world, isn’t it?
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Old Fashioned Method (don’t say I never give you anything!)
- Place the sugar and bitters into a rocks glass (chilled) and muddle together until mixed, feel free to add a dash of water to help it mix.
2. Once mixed add some of the whisky and a few ice cubes and stir for 15-20 seconds to bring the alcohol down to a good temperate and to start the ice melting. Keep adding a little more whisky, then a little more ice, and continue to stir. You might want to sip a little as you go and stop stirring when you feel it’s diluted to your tastes.
3. Garnish with a twist of orange peel (twist the peel over the glass so the peel expresses its oils)
4. Enjoy your old fashioned!