Lyre's details the audience and remarketing learnings from its festive digital advertising play

Australian non-alcoholic spirits company invests in multi-pronged digital marketing play to not only build awareness, but drive sales through the funnel

More than 1.6 million unique impressions, a 30 per cent uplift in sales and a wider understanding of audiences open to non-alcoholic beverages are just a few wins for Lyre’s Spirit Company following a Covid-fuelled digital advertising play.

Lyre’s global SVP for ecommerce, Ashleigh Murray, told CMO a lot of the Australian-based business since its inception has stemmed from hospitality. However, with hospitality venues shutdown overnight as a result of the pandemic, a pivot to digital-focused engagement and commerce was vital.

Having always been an ecommerce, digital-first business, mechanisms were there to shift focus to the online realm, she said. Yet strategy from a digital perspective became very performance focused over that period to get the business through.

“We realised we do still need to fill more the top of the funnel and build brand awareness, especially during key period of sales for us, which includes Dry July, Ocsober and the Christmas period. That’s a key period to recruit new customers,” Murray said.  

Armed with this ambition, Lyre’s worked with Bench to maximise brand awareness through a digital marketing play, focusing on impressions, reach and clickthroughs to drive people to its ecommerce site. As it drove more traffic, the teams also employed remarketing strategies to support conversion.

“There were two objectives depending on which part of the funnel,” Murray said. “Our ambition with Bench was across the funnel, engaging in peak periods. Then we engaged programmatic display and native, plus we experimented with social elements as well as the remarketing to our audiences, creating lookalikes plus targeting new audiences.”  

The work with Bench kicked off in July 2020 and extended through to January. Five personas were identified by Lyre’s Spirits as most interested in non-alcoholic spirits: Health, fitness and wellbeing enthusiasts; parents; foodies; homeowners interested in decor and improvement; and entertainment lovers.

To capitalise on Lyre’s Spirits seasonal peaks from November to January, Bench designed an always-on programmatic advertising strategy across social, display and native ads. Executions included native video, image, standard display, instream and outstream videos for Lyre’s Spirits, focusing towards return on advertising spend (ROAS) and ensuring continual increase of retargeting pool sizes throughout the campaign. 

Creatives included party planning ads, which directed users to Lyre’s Spirits online party planner for a shopping list based on party logistics, free one-on-one mixology lessons to those who placed orders, and gifting guides for Christmas.  

Credit: Lyre's

Bench also worked with Lyre’s Spirits to launch the ‘Try July’ campaign in Australia, where consumers were able to redeem a free cocktail at select bars through scanning a QR code on the Lyre’s Spirits website. Through a geo-targeted approach, Lyre’s Spirits was able to focus its advertising efforts around specific venues, such as the Victoria Hotel in Footscray, Victoria. This proved particularly critical given NSW venues shutdowns due to the pandemic situation and when funds needed to be rediverted to other major cities across the country, Murray said.  

Alongside this, Lyre’s ran an ecommerce-oriented program, ‘Booze free month’, where people could sign up for 31 drinks in 31 days. The fully automated email program encourage customers via links to buying particular products.

Overall, digital marketing efforts resulted in over 39 million impressions, 1.6 million uniques and 60,000 clicks to the Lyre’s websites throughout the targeted regions of A/NZ, US, Canada, the UK and EU. Lyre’s also recorded its best quarter ever from October to December 2020, and its best month ever in January 2021 with an increase of 30 per cent in sales.

“These were all the right metrics – right through the funnel, from impressions to click through to site, while remarketing really helped with the revenue uplift,” Murray said. “What we were remarketing, with the mixology lessons for example, closed that next gap of loyalty and repeat purchase. It really was a well-rounded campaign.”   

Rethinking audiences

Murray explained a lot of Lyre’s marketing activity when it first launches into a region is introducing category, range, education and data acquisition.

“As we have achieved that, we can now move into the FOMO phase, more customer curiosity, focusing on what gets us more conversion rates. We can optimise as opposed to the education piece originally required,” she said.

“Market maturity is so rapid, and non-alcoholic options are starting to become an expectation on menus. It’s fascinating to see the narrative and response since we launched in Australia has gone from asking why, what’s the point, to being now completely understood. The conversation now is, ‘teach me how to use these products and give me recipes’.”   

This has triggered a rethink of the target audience sweet spot for Lyre’s as a brand. Initially, emphasis broadly has been on the mindful choice movement.

“Wellness is a large sub-culture of us; there’s also those interested in sober curiosity, fitness, plus young or expecting mothers,” Murray said. “But what we have also found is a lot of interesting findings through analytics of people interested in real estate, theatre and ticket buyers.

“What we realised is our initial thinking on those who are sober curious and then those who are non-drinkers, is wider than that. For example, there are drinkers who are ‘switchers’ making more mindful decisions on a particular night. So it’s not as clearly defined as drinkers or non-drinkers. Which means the wider market is open to us - we’re sitting across both segments.”

This learning and willingness to try new things including targeting fresh sub-segments was a clear outcome from the work done with Bench, as well as social agency, Curious Minds.

“As we were seeing tea and coffee drinkers was working on social, we would feed that back to Bench, bring it into display and programmatic and see how that is then working,” Murray said. “We’d feed off both agencies and their learnings. This meant we were very dynamic as we gained these learnings and very fluid in our approach.”

Remarketing learnings

Plenty of learnings around remarketing efforts were also clear to Murray. One is how important it is to have the right content.

“Our remarketing content play was completely different. When concentrating on reach and impressions, we focused on the campaign messaging. But with remarketing, we very much focused on ecommerce, performance specific communication, such as come back to get 10 per cent off first purchase once you sign up or buying two bottles and getting free shipping,” she said. “A great offer was the free private mixology lesson with any purchase on the website with one of our brand ambassadors to learn two recipes. Many were pivoting to group classes, but we took this to the next level of hyper personalisation. We found such success with repeat purchase, lifetime value, loyalty and advocacy from this – people just felt so connected.”

2022 plans

On the radar for Lyre’s this year is improving the user experience of its website, plus more localisation through language, payment gateways and delivery options including click-and-collect.

“We’re also focusing heavily on repeat purchasing, which is more around loyalty programs, refer a friend and a subscription offering,” Murray said.  

Lyre’s also recently partnered with Audience Precision to help with its international media planning and buying. The aim is generating purchase intent and ecommerce sales among these wider but key audiences. As a first step, the agency worked on a substantial research program to devise segments that can be used to drive awareness and reach.

Both Southeast Asia and more EU regions are in the company’s sights along with growing the footprint across the UK and US.

As Audience Precision kicks off the media plan, the emphasis is on Lyre’s latest campaign focusing on changing the way the world drinks. Murray said the concept is to ‘make it a Lyre’s’, with the aim to have the brand name replace the ‘non-alcoholic’ tag. Lyre’s also intends to keep working with Bench.

Other innovation on the cards for Lyre’s digitally include personalisation by using Systema’s AI platform. Murray said these experiments are oriented more to consumer Web behaviours than audience types at this stage. There are also plans for voice recognition activations and augmented reality (AR).

Audience preferences, such as drink of choice, are additionally used for repeat purchasing activities as well as merchandising across the site.

“We focus on the recipe as opposed to the drink – we are firm believers that a recipe sells a drink. Those are core to the user experience and bundling everything based on that is core to our success,” Murray added.   

Lyre’s Spirits was recently valued at USD$360 million. The no and low alcohol category already accounts for 3 per cent of the total beverage market and is projected to grow by 31 per cent by 2024. In Australia, IWSR Drinks Market Analysis of the no and low-alcohol category shows volumes in locally increased by 2.9 per cent in 2020. IWSR is forecasting the no- and low-alcohol volume in Australia will grow by 16 per cent between 2020 and 2024.

Check out our Launch Marketing Council episode featuring Lyre's CMO and CMO50 2021 honorary, Paul Gloster, as he talks through the experience of launching the brand.

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