Marketing Strategies to Launch Your Craft Brewery Business to the Next Level with Marty McDonald


by Drew Hendricks
Last updated Jun 24, 2021

Legends Behind the Craft Podcast

Last Updated on June 24, 2021 by Amy Geldean

Marty McDonald

Marty McDonald is the Co-founder and CEO of Bad Rhino, a full-service social media marketing agency. He is skilled in social media marketing, direct response marketing, sales, professional services, management, and business development. Marty has over 18 years of experience using social media strategies to recruit and build online marketing businesses.

Marty McDonald

At Bad Rhino, Marty leads operations and sales strategies as well as client strategies for craft beer, e-commerce, and golf brands. Marty is also the author of Great Beer is Not Enough and the host of the Taps and Tees podcast.

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Marty McDonald talks about how he got into the marketing industry
  • Why should you avoid the DIY marketing strategy?
  • How to guide the conversation around your product towards a sale
  • What has Marty learned from craft brewery meet-ups?
  • Marty’s marketing advice for craft breweries
  • Drew and Marty discuss the beer they’ve been enjoying recently

In this episode with Marty McDonald…

When you first start your business, developing your own marketing strategies may seem like a simple option. However, as your business starts to grow, you don’t want a DIY marketing approach to stop you in your tracks. So, how do you invest in your marketing strategies to reach your desired audience? What steps can you and your company take right now to create a next-level marketing approach?

According to Marty McDonald, if you want to scale your business, you need to delegate work to experts in the field. Even if your company has a small budget, starting out with limited investments can help your business at your local level and beyond. For Marty, one of the most important aspects of success is planning ahead in your marketing strategy. 

In this episode of Legends Behind the Craft, Drew Hendricks is joined by Marty McDonald, Co-founder and CEO of Bad Rhino, to talk about marketing tips for your business. Marty discusses how to guide social media conversations towards sales, why you should schedule content and build your email list, and how to begin planning the next phase of your marketing approach. Stay tuned!

Resources Mentioned in this episode

Sponsor for this episode…

This episode is brought to you by Barrels Ahead.

Barrels Ahead is a wine and craft marketing agency that propels organic growth by using a powerful combination of content development, Search Engine Optimization, and paid search.

At Barrels Ahead, we know that your business is unique. That’s why we work with you to create a one-of-a-kind marketing strategy that highlights your authenticity, tells your story, and makes your business stand out from your competitors.

Our team at Barrels Ahead helps you leverage your knowledge so you can enjoy the results and revenue your business deserves.

So, what are you waiting for? Unlock your results today!

To learn more, visit barrelsahead.com or email us at hello@barrelsahead.com to schedule a strategy call.

Episode Transcript

Intro  0:03  

Welcome to the Legends Behind the Craft podcast where we feature top leaders in the wine and craft beverage industry, with your host, Drew Hendricks. Now let’s get started with the show.

Drew Hendricks  0:19  

Drew Hendricks here. I’m the host of the Legends Behind the Craft podcast where I talk with leaders in the wine and craft beverage industry, from tech companies who enable wineries to run at optimum efficiency. to today’s guests. Marty McDonald, author of Great Beer is Not Enough. Today’s episode is sponsored by Barrels Ahead at Barrels Ahead, we work with you to implement a one-of-a-kind content strategy. One that highlights your authenticity, tells your story, makes your business stand out from your competitors. In short, at Barrels Ahead we unlock your brand story to unleash your revenue. Go to barrelsahead.com today to learn more. Now before I introduce today’s guest, I want to give a big thank you to Megan Rounds of Rounds Design. On our last show, Megan and I talked about the importance of learning the principles of design. And Megan gave some great advice to designers just entering the field. Stay true to the principles of design, but be fluid in the medium because the digital world is always evolving. Super excited for today’s guest. Today I have Marty McDonald, author of Great Beer is Not Enough. Now in my mind, this book might be the definitive guide or playbook if you will, showing craft brewers how to leverage digital marketing, great buzz about their brand and ensure that all their hard work pays off. In this book, which is available on Amazon, Marty draws from his years of experience at Bad Rhino. Bad Rhino is a nationally recognized social media company, which he co-founded back in 2010. Welcome to the show, Marty. Hey, it’s

Marty McDonald  1:36  

great to be here. And I’m looking forward to it. Thanks for the great intro Drew,

Drew Hendricks  1:40  

really looking forward to have you here. So tell us tell us and our listeners a little bit about yourself.

Marty McDonald  1:45  

Sure. So I feel every time I talk about my background in digital marketing, like a dinosaur a little bit, I go back to 2002, where I started out and was doing a lot of stuff on my own to help myself in my headhunting career. And one of the stumbling into Google AdWords, AdSense, whatever was called at the time by my brother, my brother was getting into it and sick to ever see this and wasn’t really sure what it was. And I started to play around with it, he started to play around with it. And next thing you know, I just became enamored with it. And I started using it in different ways. And it helped my current business which was recruitment and headhunting at the time, then moving into affiliate marketing and making a couple bucks on the side. Then that morphed into, like a small consultancy a side hustle doing websites and other early forms of digital marketing, email marketing, a whole bunch of stuff. And eventually 10 years or eight years or so later, in 2010 founded an agency called Bad Rhino and going at it ever since.

Drew Hendricks  2:45  

Amazing. And you’re and you work with a lot of breweries good while giving me a book on it.

Marty McDonald  2:51  

We started working with breweries and craft beverages. And we’ve done a lot in the food and restaurant and bars as well over the years. But we started working with breweries back in 2014. And it was interesting because at the time, you know, seven years ago, when you looked at everything, they were looking for inroads into digital marketing. And the big players had, you know, solid presence kind of well known had really good things, but some of the other ones that were using quite large just didn’t really understand how they could leverage it. And we started working with a couple breweries, one big one in particular. And once we started working with them, we realized, wow, a lot of these little guys really need some help. And that’s why I paused, it took a pause, we just didn’t want to run out and take on anyone we wanted to kind of distill what we learned by working with larger brewery and into a format that we could make work for smaller breweries. And during that process is when I wrote the book, just to kind of get that out there. Now I appreciate you calling it like a definitive guide. And I’ve gotten great, I got great feedback like that, I don’t know if I would call it a guide is like a giant business card written in a way to educate people on who we are. But there are some stuff I mean, if you do read it, there’s some good framework in there that you have to understand

Drew Hendricks  4:09  

when you’re being a bit modest because play by I mean, each page has a tip that I took, I had something that I took away reminded myself of. And it’s so important, what I would say the small craft brewer is just starting off, it all starts in DIY, they try to just ramp up their business together. But the tendency is to like go in alone with the marketing as well. And one of the things that this book talks about is some of all the key all the facets of marketing that they might not be aware of, or have the skill set to what’s one of the biggest mistakes you see these craft brewers who are starting to DIY their marketing from the outset.

Marty McDonald  4:42  

Yeah. 100%. So one really interesting thing Drew that wound up happening about a week and a half ago actually is like I felt like I was going back in time a little bit and talking with a newer brewery. I think they’ve been in business for about two and a half, three years. And they’re even through the pandemic. They’re actually They was actually kind of a good thing they could just to take out and stuff like that and actually worked out one of them according to the owners. But what was fascinating is they started off so they have a basic website, right. But they were concerned that they weren’t ranking for anything that couldn’t be found on like Google Maps and Google My Business. And it’s interesting is when you use like a Squarespace or Wix or Weebly, or something simple for your website, that’s out of the box, right? There’s nothing wrong with that. Let me just pause there, there’s nothing wrong with starting out, you know, getting something up so that you have something that you can use you have, you know, a website that’s functional,

Drew Hendricks  5:36  

what is our mutual friends, Ian Garlic says, version done is better than version, none.

Marty McDonald  5:41  

Exactly. And there’s nothing wrong with that. I think people take the wrong impression. When I say like, Hey, you really need to move off Wix, you really need to do this. And the reason is, is like as much as you keep saying that they’re improving it. And we’ve done a lot of work with those platforms just to get people up and running when they’re startups and money’s tight, and they’re trying to get something for like, three, four months, and then move something in. There’s nothing wrong with that. But what this brewery was saying was, we don’t seem to be ranking anywhere, we don’t seem to be doing this, our website’s been up for three years. And it’s just because they’re not, they’re formulated to have the basics. And they’re formulated to, you know, kind of get you over that hump at the beginning. But when it comes down to like ranking organically, or when those websites are being crawled by Google for search, like if someone gets off a plane, and says, Hey, Google, to Google, and it’s like breweries near me right now, because they don’t know the area, you want to be popped up and be first and foremost. So when you do it yourself, and you don’t understand the basics of some web design aspects, as well as, you know, looking at things to be ranked for certain terms, or beers or whatever, that can hinder you. And that’s where I see most of the time to DIY stuff goes kind of awry, is that more people are looking at like an omni channel approach to their marketing. So you can build as a brewery a pretty good Instagram following beer, right? It’s pretty, relatively easy, you can build a pretty good Facebook page, you can build a pretty good, so on and so forth, you can just rattle them off. But the challenge comes in when you get a little bit more mature. And you want to be there when there’s four other breweries that are within 10 miles of you, or 15 miles of you. And you wouldn’t be top of mind, you want to get some additional drinkers or people that want to try your beer and be known in that area. And that’s where I see the biggest mistake happening is like the DIY that works for like the short term and in the beginning, and you can actually see some success. But once you want to get some real success becomes a challenge because you set up everything basic, and you need to go the next level and next level, you know, is an investment for sure.