Beverage Marketing: Energy drinks are the most dynamic part of beverage marketing. Portada talked to Daniel Martin Angelus, VP Digital Sales & Marketing at Nutrabolt, a company that owns three disruptive and innovative performance-oriented brands. Martin talks about the evolution of beverage distribution outlets, e-commerce, the use of AI in marketing, and the company’s recent partnership with Keurig Dr. Pepper.
The global energy drinks market was valued at US $45.80 billion in 2020 and is projected to reach US $108.40 billion by 2031, growing at a CAGR of 8.2% from 2022 to 2031, according to Allied Market Research. Energy drinks are a very dynamic segment of the overall beverage market. Portada talked to Daniel Martin Angelus, VP Digital Sales & Marketing at Nutrabolt, a company that owns and markets three disruptive and innovative brands: C4 Energy® (one of the fastest-growing energy drink brands in the U.S. and the #1 selling global pre-workout brand), XTEND® (the #1 post-workout recovery brand in the U.S.), and sports nutrition brand Cellucor®.
Beverage Marketing: KDP Invests in Nutrabolt
Beverage marketing company Keurig Dr Pepper (KDP) recently made a cash investment in Nutrabolt of US $863 million.The investment provides KDP with an ownership stake of approximately 30%, making KDP the largest investor in Nutrabolt behind its Founder, Chairman, and CEO Doss Cunningham.
Asked how the KDP partnership will impact Nutrabolt’s marketing and distribution, Martin notes that under the long-term sales and distribution agreement, KDP will sell and distribute C4 Energy® in the vast majority of KDP’s company-owned direct store distribution territories, which is expected to meaningfully increase retail availability and household penetration for the brand. Nutrabolt will continue to distribute C4 Energy® directly or through its existing distribution network to the specialty, health club, and fitness channels and will continue to work with some of its existing beverage distributors in certain markets.
While Martin can’t share specific percentages, beverage skews heavily to brick & mortar retailers while active nutrition skews more toward specialty retailers (Vitamin Shoppe and GNC), with digital marketplaces like Amazon underscoring sales across the portfolio. “We focus more on traditional retail and digital marketplaces with our D2C platform being a hub for the brand to drive connection with our core consumers across the purchasing funnel,” Martin asserts.
Investing in our D2C platform will continue to be a priority for us but we recognize that we will never be able to reach the scale and distribution that marketplaces offer.
Going forward Martin maintains that “investing in our D2C platform will continue to be a priority for us but we recognize that we will never be able to reach the scale and distribution that marketplaces offer.” “The key is in finding ways to add value to consumers in each of the channels above that is hard to get through other channels. While marketplaces will be hard to beat on convenience and pricing, D2C can offer advantages to brand evangelists like exclusive flavors, apparel/swag, and membership perks. I don’t know exactly how the ratios will evolve, but we are always working on identifying the key value drivers to customers in each channel and maximizing them so that customers can find us where they like to shop.”
E-Commerce Marketing Trends: Sustainability, Shoppable Videos, Social Commerce
Asked about the trends he sees in e-commerce marketing, Martin mentions three critical trends.
- Sustainability: Sustainability is playing a key role in beverage marketing. “Connecting with customers and building brand loyalty is critical, especially with the customer acquisition costs getting higher every year. We are seeing more and more customers consider sustainability as a factor when making a purchase. Whether it’s being a purpose-driven company (Patagonia, Toms, etc.) or just shifting to more sustainable packaging and products, customers are showing a willingness to pay more or shift brands to support it. Nutrabolt has been working on sustainability initiatives – moving away from plastic sleeves on our cans, changing packaging to recyclable plastics, etc. – for years but I am most excited about our recent partnership announcement with Plasticbank where our CEO committed to becoming plastic-neutral and offsetting all of our plastic use back to our inception.”
- Shoppable videos / live streams: “There is plenty of data that shows that engagement with video keeps increasing and that video content helps conversion which has made the presence of videos on product display pages and even ads a must. Now we are seeing more and more tools to make live streams and videos not just a brand awareness/discovery opportunity but also a shoppable experience. I expect this to continue to evolve until most videos include a way to purchase or learn more about products. More and more websites will integrate these types of videos on product display pages or create live events similar to what you see on marketplaces (Amazon Live) or social.”
We are seeing more and more tools to make live streams and videos not just a brand awareness/discovery opportunity but also a shoppable experience.
- Social Commerce: Social commerce is also making a dent in beverage marketing. According to Martin, “social media usage is catching up to overall internet usage and social media is being used increasingly to research brands, for younger generations even more than search engines. Similar to the shoppable video trend I mentioned earlier and tying into the overall omnichannel trend, offering the possibility to customers to research and buy your products on whatever channel they choose to be is going to be critical. We’ve seen this explode in China and are fully expecting this trend to expand globally.”
Social media is being used increasingly to research brands, for younger generations even more than search engines.
Beverage Marketing: Testing AI
AI tools, including the much-discussed ChatGPT, are also going to disrupt the beverage marketing world, Martin says. “I believe most marketers are still in the experimentation phase testing out different functionalities and applications. We’ve started testing out AI to help build out content -a great tool for a first draft- and to analyze customer feedback and sentiment. I don’t think the tools are ready to replace actual roles, but they definitely can make our current team members and tools much more productive,” he concludes.
We’ve started testing out AI to help build out content -a great tool for a first draft- and to analyze customer feedback and sentiment.
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