Loyalty to beer in the US – what the UK can learn

Given that ‘data is King’, and customers are increasingly demanding a personalised experience (AdWeek, 2017) are brands that don’t sell directly to their customers at a disadvantage? We recently attended a great seminar from The Wise Marketer that explored this very question, through examining two successful loyalty schemes from Budweiser and Busch in the States.


The challenge facing both brands was the limited and fragmented data that was available to them via the point of sale systems – therefore their need for a digital method of customer data collection was heightened.


Their solution to this challenge was for each brand to launch a multichannel loyalty programme: Budweiser Rewards and Busch Bucks. The webinar outlined how these programmes are driving value for both customers and the brand; the brands’ benefitted from the customer insights the scheme delivered, and the customers get to enjoy relevant rewards, from both 3rd party reward suppliers and directly from Budweiser and Busch. The engagement with these 3rd party rewards could also be seen as an additional source of customer data; the type of reward & the partner offering it give a strong indication towards customer preferences and behaviours – do they prefer music or sports experiences, fashion or beauty offers etc.

Both brands cited the additional data collected through their schemes as hugely valuable, as it allowed them to build a better understanding of who their customers are and how they behave; both schemes require a receipt upload to earn points, and it’s the extra data contained on these receipts that has helped build a broader profile of the engaged customer base. Here at Mando-Connect we recognise the value of data, as it’s central to what we do as an agency; we have multiple unique datasets that we work with to unlock the insights that matter and help us deliver strategies based on sound analysis and thinking.


It’s our fascination with data, that led us to explore the appetite for loyalty offerings from alcohol brands in the UK. We found that beer consumers, specifically Budweiser customers, have a much more positive attitude towards loyalty schemes than the UK average – as illustrated by the below chart. We recognise that encouraging loyalty within a sector such as alcohol in the United Kingdom is a challenge, given the rules and regulations, but it did prompt an interesting series of conversations as we considered how we could do it, hypothetically speaking of course!



In answer to the question posed at the start of this article, “What the UK can learn”:


  • Reward other behaviours than just purchase; Budweiser and Busch’s schemes encourage social sharing and engagement with their brand’s social channels as an additional route to earning points. Given the regulations around alcohol in the UK, this would be a key factor for loyalty schemes in this space.


  • Consider what else you can learn from the data you have access to; the receipt upload mechanic gave both brands access to illuminating data on their consumers such as what else they were purchasing, their average spend on grocery etc. Also consider the learnings that any 3rd party rewards can provide.


If you’re interested in hearing our ideas on loyalty, and how we could use our data centric approach to your advantage, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

    Emma Dallaway
    Account Director