Using Data to Power On Trade Marketing
By Leo MacLehose
May 13, 2017


Many comparisons have been made between the On Trade vs Off Trade as well as Pubs vs Restaurants, and the discrepancies in marketing strategies as well as technological innovation. Since venturing into the world of On Trade, I have encountered a pattern of frustration and resignation when it comes to effective, measurable On Trade marketing and activation. Simultaneously, there is an admirable appetite for going against the grain and finding the new standards and driving innovation. How can we get that hunger to eradicate the frustration? The pub industry is in an enviable position whereby it can learn from the first steps of innovation made in both the Off Trade and its close cousin, restaurants.


Standards of Measurement

On of my bugbears is the discrepancy in the benchmarks and standards for ATL (above the line) vs BTL (below the line) marketing. One focuses on eye balls/reach, and the other on direct ROI (return on investment). At the end of the day, whether you are Diageo, Stonegate, or Sky Business, you care about profit, short and long term.



If you take ATL measurement to an absurd extreme, your best bet is to put a billboard on the side of the M25 and watch the eyeballs roll in. We know, however, that’s not going to be effective. Following that intuition, when a brand delivers paper posters to pubs across the country, we know that it will deliver an ROI. Getting an accurate figure for this will require weeks of segmentation and mining YoY pub sales. What’s even trickier, is knowing what you can attribute that sales uplift to. Was it 20% people who had never tasted your beer before or were they hardcore brand advocates?  Were 60% your exact target market and you hit jackpot?


The On Trade is a place with little to no consumer journey data, and therefore making data led decisions is hard. You do often have to follow your instincts and that won’t fundamentally disappear. There is, however, a strong shift towards technology and attributable touch points. With the rise of great digital across the On Trade, be it internal investment on digital marketing, be it brilliant companies like FlyPay, we are beginning to be able to paint through-the-line attribution that can inform that ‘intuition’.


For a decent guide on the different ways to attribute your marketing, check out this article from SRAX.


What’s the point?

When you create an email campaign to an audience, you can iterate. You can create segments that will receive different types of content, and see how they react. As they are a digital base of fans, you should hopefully know a little more about them. If you can drive them to purchase, in a measurable way, you have invaluable data that can inform many of your strategic as well as tactical marketing decisions moving forwards. Do this repeatedly, and you will achieve better results. Crucially, when you try something new, can you see what affect it is having? What is the point of innovation if there is no way of tracking success?



Data led decisions, based on customer behaviour, is at the heart of some of the greatest business success stories, Dunnhumby and their development of Tesco Clubcard were seen as one of the pillars of Tesco’s rise to the top of the Off Trade in the UK. That was over 20 years  ago now. The On Trade is at a fork in the road when it comes to technology and data, and the suppliers and PubCos that embrace new found data in the On Trade will get a head start. That gap may well be difficult to close over the coming decade for those slow to act.



The above chart should be the norm for strategic decisions being made by pubs and suppliers, we just need to be mining more data collectively, and continue to champion marketing activities willing to use it.


At MatchPint, I’m happy to admit we don’t do enough, but it’s obvious the team want to lead from the front, and that’s exciting. Check out some of the great marketing work they’ve been up to here.