Dear Beverage Retailers and Distributors:

You sell our products and we truly love you, but it’s just not working and we’re going to need to make a change….It’s not you, it’s me!

As the Beverage Marketing Association community gets set for another exploration into the world of beverage shopper marketing next month, it’s high time we start taking a look around and ponder whether or not we’re setting ourselves up for success? As internal marketing teams break down “digital”, “shopper”, and other silos in their organizations, we’ve come to recognize a simple truth: We’re all working together to accomplish the same goal…get liquid to lips.

But this truth extends well beyond eliminating the barriers of our own organizational structure, and must be applied outwardly to realize its true potential. It’s not enough for our internal teams to work together more cohesively – it’s time to start looking at how we can do the same with our distributor and retail partners whom are so crucial to our success. If we don’t set our partners up for success, are we really holding up our end of the relationship? And they are our partners, not just our customers.

A good relationship is all about give and take; Understanding each other’s needs, playing to our strengths, and building upon our weaknesses. I guess what we’re saying is: we’d like to help you, help us, help you…and together I think we can make this thing work.

Together – with the full power of our internal teams and our down-channel partners – we’re reaching a point where personalized marketing, where understanding what it means to “add value” for our shoppers and consumers, and where accessing said audience at the right time and in the right place, are all becoming a much clearer vision than just a few years ago. And while we may never fully realize the notion of having 1:1 conversations with consumers when it matters most, we are headed towards a level of synchronization among our teams, agencies, partners, and the many technologies that power our efforts, that we are beginning to understand and speak to our shoppers and consumers with greater authenticity then ever before, and in ways that truly add value.

We can keep waiting for things to improve themselves, or we can start communicating and effecting change. I guess what I’m really saying is: we need to talk about “us”.

– Seth Hillstrom, Beverage Marketing Association


In his role as Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Beverage Marketing Association, Seth works hand-in-hand with nearly every major brand and agency in the beverage industry. With a goal of furthering the industry through collaboration, efficiency, and the creative use of technology, Seth is oft tasked with identifying and delivering on strategic partnerships that add considerable value for all participants. Working between stakeholders to identify brand-side needs and agency/technology offerings that are well aligned, Seth has helped all sides to come together to produce outstanding results on numerous occasions.

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