Employee EngagementRecognition & Rewards

Case Study: Barton Beers Takes St. Pauli Girl Online

Barton beers incentive program goes online with help from all star incentive marketing.

by HROT Staff

Barton Beers is the number one independent beer importer in the United States and the number two U.S. importer of German beer, the award-winning St. Pauli Girl. In 2000, St. Pauli Girl was recognized as a “Comeback Brand” by Impact Databank. Barton Beers works very closely with its salespeople, suppliers, and nationwide network of approximately 630 distributors. Doing so has helped them achieve a record of brand development success that is unprecedented in their highly competitive industry.

In fact, the growing success of St. Pauli Girl Beer is due in part to Bartons commitment to rewarding the distributor salespeople that sell this product line. Since acquiring the once failing brand in 1992, Barton Beer has used sales- force incentive programs as a key element in their promotional plans.

All Star Incentive Marketing has run the St. Pauli Girl “Girls of Summer” incentive program for nine years. Previous to the 2003 online version, the solution was a “call-in” offline program. When a distributor salesperson gained a new St. Pauli Girl beer placement, they would call and record it on an answering machine. A Barton employee was designated to log these new placement calls. Salespeople were awarded points according to the number of new placements they made. With these points, salespeople redeemed rewards from a catalog.

The new online St. Pauli Girl Girls of Summer incentive program, streamlined the award allocation and redemption processes. Jim Goldie, vice president of the Eastern Division of Barton Beers, noted, “The timesaving benefit of the new incentive program alone has made the transition to an online version worthwhile.”

The new online edition of the program still targets the salespeople at key beer distributors. A total of 33 distributors were targeted to take place in the program and 88 percent participated. Each distributor has between 10 and 30 salespeople, for a total of approximately 600 participants.

The incentive program was communicated via e-mail and through direct contact between key Barton Beers’ personnel and the distributor sales manager. The details of the program were then communicated by the distributor sales manager to the salespeople.

Online participation was higher than previous offline involvement by a factor of nearly two to one. Weekly e-mails from the division office helped promote the program. Also, e-mails and phone calls from the respective regional managers were used to support the divisions communication. To facilitate measuring and tracking the program’s progress and success, distributors completed a tracking form.

The goal of the online program was to increase distribution of St. Pauli Girl beer packages by 4,000 new placements by providing incentives to key volume distributors in the Eastern Division. The challenge of the program was to increase secondary packages, to increase in-store presence and full-line sales.

Salespeople accumulated one to four award points per placement depending on the type of placement and number of facings. At the end of the program, points were totaled and participants were given an award code to access one of seven award levels. The more points a participant had, the higher the award level they were designated. In addition, the top two salespeople who earned the most total points were awarded a bonus Panasonic 32″ TV for their salesrooms.

The transition of the St. Pauli Girl program from a printed catalog to an online format was extremely successful, exceeding the programs goals with approximately 400 award winners and more than 4,000 new St. Pauli Girl Beer placements.  

Goldie noted, “The type of products that All Star offers as awards is one key to this programs success. At each level, the brand name products are memorable and motivating.”   

All Star Incentive Marketing and Barton Beer Inc. are already planning for the next online edition of the Girls of Summer incentive program. Heidi Chatfield, marketing communications manager at All Star, commented, The online solution process enables us to evaluate programs in action, making it easier for all involved to adjust an existing program and prepare for the next. This type of proactive analysis is a major benefit to all involved.

Tags: Employee Engagement, Recognition & Rewards

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