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Why a four-year-old whisky brand is finally adding digital marketing to the mix

Florida-based regional whiskey brand Duke and Dame has been ramping up its digital marketing efforts last year, testing social video ads, influencer marketing and digital audio to reach more shoppers.

“When the pandemic hit, we really had to adapt our marketing to that environment,” said Duke and Notre Dame co-founder Amani Macaulay . “It’s really forced us to learn the digital space better.” The four-year-old brand started experimenting with digital marketing channels during the pandemic, making its established in-person and experiential marketing strategies impossible . While many have returned to live events, Macaulay said spirits brands will continue to invest in digital strategies to bridge the gap between online and offline. He said: “While the in-store point of purchase can bring customers into one place of the product, when you leverage digital marketing, you have the opportunity to reach more people.” He Duke University will spend at least 40% of its budget on paid digital marketing this year, up from the 20% allocated last year, he said, without providing an exact figure. Duke and Dame spent more than $17,000 on marketing this year, according to Kantar, although those numbers don’t include social media spending because Kantar doesn’t track those numbers. It’s unclear how much Duke and Dame spent on marketing in the past because the data isn’t available through Kantar, and Macaulay declined to outline details. According to Macaulay, digital marketing efforts will take a larger share of the budget as regional brands grow and look to get in front of national audiences, although he declined to elaborate. However, as the ongoing pandemic eased stay-in-place restrictions, the brand has branched out into live events, including attending a whisky festival in Detroit earlier this year. To date, Duke and Dame have created display ads and advertisements in digital audio, digital out-of-home and social media on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. The spirits brand has also hired influencers like Garvey Alexander, who has more than 3,600 followers on Instagram, to promote its products as well as regional DJs. Now more than ever, brands are turning to digital marketing strategies as the most flexible and effective way to reach shoppers, especially with a potential recession looming, industry experts say.

Consumers are becoming more digitally connected every day, and as marketers, if we don’t adapt to this behavior, we will be left behind. Stephanie Ehui, Group Communications Director, TBWAChiatDay LA

Stephanie Ehui, Group Communications Director, TBWAChiatDay LA, told Digiday in an email: “ Consumers are making more digital connections every day, and as marketers, if we don’t adapt to that behavior, we’re going to be left behind.” . Even as the digital marketing space continues to get more expensive and Advertisers are growing, and Ehui said there is still room for smaller brands in emerging channels such as new social platforms, digital audio, streaming and the connected home. “By using digital marketing, brands can be more selective with every dollar spent on marketing,” Ehui said via email. “Instead of buying media for the masses, it’s better to use data to be more targeted.” As a small regional business with a limited advertising budget, the co-founder of Duke and Dame said the brand will focus on face-to-face and online marketing, Make the most of every dollar. “We’re still learning how the digital [strategic] side of things works,” Macaulay said. “From a consciousness standpoint, it’s built over time.”



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