Brewing giant Anheuser-Busch InBev is rethinking its entire approach to marketing and innovation in order to become more responsive to changing consumer tastes, including stepping beyond the beer market.

Marcel Marcondes, the US CMO for Anheuser-Busch, discussed this topic at the recent Association of National Advertisers’ (ANA) 2019 Masters of Marketing Conference, where he noted how “as marketers, we were educated to convince people to buy whatever we make.”

“But we need to re-educate ourselves to be a better fit for what they’re looking for, not the other way around,” he stated. (For more details, read WARC’s report: Anheuser-Busch InBev’s three new points of consumer-centric marketing.)

To keep pace with its understanding of evolving consumer needs and interests, Anheuser-Busch InBev has started “reinventing our entire portfolio to better fit their needs”, he explained, rather than spending time and money convincing them to buy the same products that have been on store shelves for the last century.

Indeed, he revealed, so ambitious has that new priority become that AB InBev has committed its resources to a “gigantic transformation in the company to innovate much faster, with separate teams that are working hard to bring new products to life in less than 100 days.

“We all realized that the rate of innovation for beer was very slow,” Marcondes continued. “Beer was not up to speed on consumer needs. We need to have much better insights. And we need to move much faster.”

In fact, AB InBev had tried to be “really innovative before, but the rate of success was low ... So we created new mechanisms to develop solutions at a much faster pace. To test. To learn. To kill fast” when a program wasn’t working.

As part of this process, it’s also partnering with other drinks companies. A tie up with Keurig Dr Pepper, for example, has seen it create capsules to present a range of 24 different cocktails via a bartop machine that mimics the technology of Keurig coffee and espresso makers. 

Sourced from WARC