Vice President of North America Marketing
Beam Suntory

Beam Suntory specializes in premium spirits such as whiskey, bourbon, cognac, vodka and a variety of liqueurs. Kelly Doss, Vice President of North America Marketing, says the company prides itself on its devotion to its consumers and its focus on understanding the consumer journey from “insight to in-store.” The proliferation of data has made new technologies critical to Beam Suntory, and more importantly, new technologies have allowed the company to put its customers at the center of every initiative.

At Beam Suntory, the focus is on understanding the consumer path to purchase and what influences the consumer at different touchpoints along the way.

Apart from marketing teams, the IT department has a critical role to play in synthesizing Beam Suntory’s data. The company’s data is captured from real-time reports, in-store sales, or digital activities and purchases. However, putting together such large pieces of data presents challenges for the company.

“Being able to capture all the data, synthesize the data and democratize it so that everyone in the organization can be rowing in the same direction can be challenging,” she says.

The Beam Suntory organization interacts and partners with distributers, global partners, buyers, independent stores and even bartenders. Because such a complex variety of segments exists within the spirits industry, success is based on coordination between sales, consumer insights, marketing and IT.

“From our standpoint, it’s really about the consumer being at the center of the wheel, and everything on the organizational level needs to revolve around the consumer so that we create the best experience possible for the consumer and are able to guide them through the path to purchase,” she says.

Utilizing such large pieces of data means that Beam Suntory must work hard to assimilate various pieces of information and then work closely as a collective team to gain insights and respond to customers in real time. Whether it’s personalizing responses to a consumer or personalizing physical and digital events, Doss and her marketing team always look for ways to leverage information to create a more holistic experience for the consumer.

Digital technology is a main driving force for the company’s success as it allows consumers to talk about brands within their own networks and learn about brands at a much quicker rate.

“An important ability for marketers is to be able to analyze digital changes very quickly and be able to anticipate them,” Doss says. “This helps us stay on top of changes in consumer preference and helps to ensure that we deliver an enjoyable experience for our consumers.”