June 30, 2021

16 B2B Marketing Lessons Absorbed from Renegade’s Favorite Gins

by Melissa Caffrey

What business does a B2B marketing agency have making a list of super tasty gins? Well, when said gins are paired with spirited conversations about hot marketing topics, a lot.

Over the last six months, Renegade Thinkers Live (RTL) has hosted over 40 CMOs and marketing experts, covering a bevy of B2B marketing topics ranging from AI to category creation to brand consolidation. In the middle of every show, Drew and his guests sample a different gin—and wow, there sure are a variety of delicious gins out there!

If you’re looking for a new spirit to taste and/or some refreshing marketing takeaways, consider our list below. If you’re a B2B CMO and you’d love the opportunity to join our show, check out our thriving CMO community on CMOHuddles.com. And if you’re a gin brand looking to get your gin in front of some powerful marketing executives, just reach out!

And by the way, if you don’t consider yourself a gin drinker, consider this thought from Marsh Mokhtari of Gray Whale Gin: “Gin is just vodka with some flavor. The fact that 90% of America loves vodka—I hate to say it, but you love wonder bread.”

1. It’s Happy Hour for AI and Letherbee

Letherbee Original Label Gin (Chicago, IL)

This wonderfully herbaceous gin is a fan favorite in The Windy City, and we can see why. It’s eleven botanicals really stand out as you sip it, and that’s because Letherbee Distillers doesn’t chill filter it’s gin during the distillation process. This not only preserves the original botanical content of the gin, it also allows for a fun party trick called “louching.” Just add a few drops of water to your clear Letherbee gin, and it will turn cloudy!

Let’s clear one thing up: AI is not going to be taking B2B marketers’ or B2B salespeople’s jobs. Instead, conversational AI has the power to augment and supplement B2B efforts across the board, qualifying leads quickly and efficiently and freeing up tedious time for more effective strategy and execution.

For more, watch A Stirring Look at Conversational AI with CMOs Rasmi Vittal of Conversica and John McCrea of Amplify.ai.

2. Under the Influencer with Highclere Castle

Highclere Castle London Dry Gin (West Midlands, England)

Feeling fancy? Royal, perhaps? Downton Abbey fans might recognize the logo of this London Dry gin—most of the show’s exterior shots and some indoor scenes are filmed on Highclere Castle’s grounds. The ten botanicals in this gin are hand chosen from the castle’s herb gardens, and as you might expect, this gin is the perfect example of a classic London Dry. The royal gin goes down smooth and easy, perfect for a traditional martini (olives and chilled glass required).

Tying a popular show like Downton Abbey to your product and brand is a seriously smart marketing move, and the power of influencer marketing is not limited to the B2C world. If you want to see great B2B influencer marketing in action, we’d highly recommend listening Renegade Thinkers Unite’s podcast episode about why Ping Identity chose star Terry Crews to be the face of their awareness campaign.

For more, check out Refreshing Your B2B Influencer Marketing with Neal Schaffer and Anya Razina.

3. Breaking the Glass (Ceiling) with Rosé Sainte Marie

Salcombe Rosé Sainte Marie (Salcombe, England)

The Rosé Sainte Marie is an all-natural pink gin made in Salcombe, an English town famous for its fleet of 19th century schooners that would carry in highly perishable fruit from the South of France. With strawberries, rose petals, and orange blossom, this fruity gin evokes the schooner’s Mediterranean history in the best way—making it great on the rocks or in a cocktail.

Seagoing careers were closed to women during Salcombe’s schooner days, and while we’ve come a long way since then, we still have a way to go. In the B2B tech industry, women account for about 25% of the workforce, and that number shrinks as you move up the management chain. Leaders today need to be intentional about changing this. Take an example from Salesforce’s commitment to correcting a multi-million-dollar gender pay gap at the organization.

For practical tips and advice, listen to Mixing Things Up in the C-Suite with Michelle Boockoff-Bajdek of Skillsoft, Cindy Zhou of LogRhythm, and Charlene LI of Altimeter.

4. Dorothy Parker’s Hybrid Event Cocktail

Dorothy Parker Rose Petal Gin (Brooklyn, NY)

New York Distilling Company’s limited edition Dorothy Parker Rose Petal gin delightfully embodies the spirit of Dorothy Parker herself, the famous NYC poet, satirist, and critic known for her sharp and quick wit. Infused with red and pink rose petals, the juniper really comes through in this spirit, with a dash of spicy cinnamon to give a classic martini (or any gin cocktail, for that matter) a stunningly floral twist.

The initial sharpness of this gin may be off-putting if you sip it straight, but in a cocktail, it truly shines. This is a lesson in keeping the medium in mind, something many CMOs learned as physical events were canceled in 2020. Savvy marketers who created unique digital experiences instead of simply “lifting and shifting” in-person event plans saw significant numbers of increased attendance and engagement, so much so that most predict that there’s no going back—events of the future will be hybrid.

Learn more about Adding Zest to Virtual Events with Paige O’Neill of Sitecore, Mandy Dhaliwal of Dell Boomi, and David Fischette of Go West Creative.

5. Savoring the CMO Job Search with Two James

Two James Old Cockney and Barrel Reserve Gins (Detroit, MI)

Two James Spirits is located in Detroit’s oldest neighborhood, Corktown, and was named to honor the fathers of the two founders. In the spirit of the Two James, we sampled two gins from the brand: the Old Cockney and the Barrel Reserve Old Cockney. Our guests were split between which gin they loved the most—the Old Cockney mimics a classic London Dry gin with a fruity twist, while the Barrell Reserve Old Cockney is closer to a whiskey or a bourbon, with a rounder mouth feel.

Just like each gin had different tastes, each CMO has different strengths. It’s imperative that CMOs take a discerning and consultative approach when job hunting to ensure that the CMO’s skillset matches company needs. Are you well versed in category creation? Building a demand gen engine? Do you want to work at a start-up or manage across the enterprise? All of these are important questions to consider. It’s also worth noting that CEOs have different tastes as well, so make sure you’re aligned on the role of marketing before signing on.

Get even more advice by watching The CMO Job Hunt: Perfecting the CMO Cocktail with Patti Newcomer-Small of FMG Suite, Sara Larsen of Wolters Kluwer Health, and Brandon Palmer of Discover Podium.

6. Marketing to Marketers? Make a Splash with Gray Whale

Gray Whale Small Batch Gin (Sonoma County, CA)

Gray Whale Gin is herbaceous, marvelously viscous, and—pun intended—has a great backbone. Developed by husband-and-wife co-founders Jan Livingston and Marsh Mokhtari, the gin was inspired by the couple’s trip with their daughters to Big Sur, where they saw a gray whale and her calf on their migratory pattern. Each botanical comes from the gray whale’s path, including hand foraged kombu, a popular seaweed used in miso soup and ramen.

This gin is not just outstanding in taste. Jan and Marsh baked purpose into the brand—the whale’s tale on the blue bottle shows the Pacific coastline, and a portion of all Gray Whale profits go to marine conservation. It’s the perfect example of how to marketing to fellow marketers who know all the tricks of the trade—embed your brand with purpose at every turn and you’ll be sure to turn heads.

Learn how in Shaking Up Marketing to Marketers with Norman Guadagno of Acoustic, Jamie Gilpin of Sprout Social, and Eric Eden of Postclick.

7. Bottoms Up into Vertical Marketing with Far North Spirits

Far North Spirits Solveig Gin (Hallock, MN)

The Solveig Gin from Far North Spirits hails from Hallock, Minnesota, a small town close to the US/Canada border with a population of around 980. The base alcohol for this gin is AC Hazlet Winter Rye grown nearby, and this is the first gin we tried where the key botanical was grapefruit. “Solveig” is a Scandinavian woman’s name with deep Nordic roots, combining the words for “sun” (sol) and “strength” (veig) to deliver a warm, crisp, and fresh gin not to be missed.

With an eye northward, the savvy B2B marketer needs to zero in on their vertical markets today more than ever. Focus is key when it comes to selling within your market, as a brand can’t be all things to all people, nor should they want to be. Vertical marketing starts with a healthy dose of data analytics and customer interviews, and any go-to-market campaign absolutely must include a sales component.

For a full vertical marketing playbook, here’s Partaking in Vertical Marketing with Mika Yamamoto of F5, Ian Howells of Sage Intacct, and Lynne Capozzi of Acquia.

8. Brewing Two Brands into One with FEW Spirits

FEW Breakfast Gin (Evanston, IL)

Wait a minute—gin…for breakfast? You betcha! Quite literally brewed in Evanston, Chicago, FEW Spirits’ Breakfast Gin is infused with Earl Grey tea and citrus, a wake-me-up taste that comes through with every sip. Earl Grey, by the way, is made by adding bergamot oil to a black tea base—the oil coming from the skin of the unique bergamot orange. We’d highly recommend mixing up your next weekend brunch with this well-steeped gin.

The blending process to get from black tea to Earl Grey to FEW’s Breakfast Gin is no doubt a complex one requiring special care to avoid any one flavor overpowering the other. The same goes for blending B2B brands—CMO mixologists must walk a fine line to consolidate a newly acquired brand without losing equity. The brand consolidation equation should look like 1+1=3, simplifying a world inundated with new brands and increasing sales in the process.

For a ton of real-world brand consolidation tips, listen to Blending B2B Brands with Grant Johnson of Emburse, Joshua Leatherman of Service Express, and Kevin Ruane of Precisely.

9. Bluecoat’s Ingredients for Employee Culture

Bluecoat American Dry Gin (Philadelphia, PA)

Distilled in Philadelphia, PA, Bluecoat’s American Dry Gin showcases a complex yet light and refreshing citrus blend. With a robust taste of lemon peel and a subtle juniper finish, Bluecoat is the perfect choice for a classic G&T. Their tagline, “An American Revolution in Gin,” reflects the brand’s commitment to, in their own words, “the curious, the thought leaders, the free-thinking rebels and entrepreneurs trying to make the world better.”

It is with this mantra that B2B brands should commit to building and retaining a strong employee base. Employees are the beginning and end of brand, so it behooves B2B leaders to develop strong employee cultures that encourage and celebrate curiosity. Creating the space for employees to show up as their true, authentic selves can exponentially benefit the company as a whole. Empathy and purpose are two main ingredients here, making the marketing function a key player in employee strategy.

Listen to Raising Employee Spirits with Caroline Tien-Spalding of Aptology, Jeff Perkins of ParkMobile, and Tanika Vital-Pringle of Brand Rebirth for more.

10. Distill Down Organizational Design with Spring44

Spring44 Old Tom Gin (Loveland, CO)

Our first Old Tom gin on the show, Spring44’s Old Tom is barrel aged in chardonnay barrels with botanicals like lemongrass, grapefruit peel, rosemary, coriander, and galangal root (a cousin of ginger). Spring44’s Old Tom is a dark gin, made amber from resting in chardonnay barrels after the initial distilling process. The process transforms Spring44 into the lovechild of gin and whiskey, the perfect gateway spirit for imbibers who don’t yet know that they’re gin drinkers. This one was a real winner, incredibly smooth and sippable with its malty, scotch-like finish.

As with an intricate and extended distilling process, marketing leaders should consider the art of organizational design with an eye on both the present mix and long-term aims. The way you structure a marketing team should drive the direction of the company, so a key challenge is deciding how to allocate resources between staff, programs, and MarTech. It’s an exercise in ratios—as Melanie Marcus of Surescripts shared, “If you get to be under 40/60 either way, you’re not going to be able to spend all the money and you’re not going to be able to keep your team busy enough doing what they need to do.”

Learn how CMOs are designing marketing teams for today and tomorrow on Top Shelf Organizational Design with Anna Griffin of Smartsheet, Kathie Johnson of Talkdesk, and Melanie Marcus of Surescripts.

11. Concoct a New Category with Waterloo No.9

Waterloo No.9 Gin (Dripping Springs, TX)

Waterloo’s flagship gin is No.9, a unique and contemporary take on gin that’s warm in the belly with a ricochet-like flavor in the mouth. Waterloo distiller Courtney Dymowski shared that the floral gin is vapor distilled in the column of the still instead of the pot, making it a lighter gin than its more juniper-heavy counterparts. With botanicals like lavender and citrus, Waterloo No.9’s standout ingredient is the pecan, which you may be surprised to learn is not actually a nut, it’s a drupe.

A drupe is a fleshy fruit with a thin skin and a central seed, like a plum, cherry, or olive, and a category of fruit that not many people know about. In the B2B world, however, category creation depends on awareness. Creating a category takes time, starting with strong analyst relations, a clearly defined product set, and a sturdy brand identity. You’ll know you’ve created a category when you’ve finally got competition, so marketers should develop strong content campaigns to firmly establish their stance as the true category leader.

We covered all the ins and outs of the ultimate form of brand differentiation in A Toast to Category Creators with Chip Rodgers of WorkSpan, Gabi Zijderveld of Affectiva, and Bernd Leger of Mimecast.

12. Values-Based Marketing, Neat with Berkshire Mountain

Berkshire Mountain Greylock Gin, Ethereal Batch 15, and Garden Ethereal Gin (Sheffield, MA)

Berkshire Mountain Distillers’ wide array of spirits include a gorgeous line of gins, and we got to try three of them! Their Greylock Gin, rated the #1 craft gin by the New York Times, shines as a London Dry with licorice, mint, and cinnamon botanicals. The other two gins come from Berkshire’s Ethereal gin series—each limited-edition batch gets a new label and recipe. The Batch 15 has a citrusy overtone with the addition of lemon verbena, while the Garden Gin is earthy and light with cucumber and mint, enhanced with horseradish for a delightfully surprising twist.

Berkshire Distillers got its start on a neglected apple farm in Massachusetts that was nursed back to fruit-bearing health with special care. To turn a negative into a positive, cybersecurity marketers should shift from Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (FUD)-based marketing tactics to values-based ones, laying a strong foundation to unite employees, inspire customers, and attract high-quality prospects into the funnel.

Learn how three B2B CMOs are Getting the Mix Right in Cybersecurity Marketing with Dan Lowden of HUMAN, Kevin Sellers of Ping Identity, and Armen Najarian of RSA Security.

13. Tour the En-GIN Room of Marketing Metrics with Raff Distillerie

Raff Distillerie Bummer & Lazarus Gin (San Francisco, CA)

Fifth-generation San Franciscan Carter Raff started Raff Distillerie in 2011. The brand’s gin, Bummer and Lazarus, was named after two stray dogs who lived in SF in the late 1800s and were so effective at catching rats, the city enacted a law to protect them from dog catchers. Bummer and Lazarus uses a base of 100% California grapes and is light on the juniper, making it really approachable with a creamy mouthfeel and a citrusy floral taste.

Carter shared his number one martini-making tip on the show—shake your cocktail mix with just one piece of ice because, in his words, “Good alcohol doesn’t need too much chill on it.” In the same vein, a good set of metrics shouldn’t be inundated with a bevy of vanity metrics. Katie Risch of Centro pointed to the fact that the rest of the C-Suite tends to overvalue inbound leads and undervalue marketing-influenced revenue—it’s up to the CMO to drill home the value of measuring for quality over quantity in order to properly demonstrate the true value of marketing efforts.

Watch our discussion about The Perfect Metrics Cocktail with Chandar Pattabhiram of Coupa, Katie Risch of Centro, and Rebecca Stone of Cisco Meraki.

BONUS: Use special discount code DREWROCKS for 20% all spirits on raffdistillerie.com!

14. Perfect Partnership Pairings with New Deal

New Deal Distillery Old Tom Gin (Portland, OR)

The Old Tom by New Deal Distillery is complex and floral, distilled with over 20 botanicals and then barrel-aged in a French Oak bourbon barrel. Tom Burkleaux (now effectively known as “Young Tom”) shared that they wanted to create a sippable gin with a bright nose, and they without a doubt succeeded. Tom also shared the story behind the cat on the bottle—due to prohibitive taxes and licensing laws in 18th-century England, Old Toms were served out of wooden, cat-shaped plaques mounted outside of pubs with a money slot and lead tube.

To get 20 botanicals to work together in one spirit takes a delicate balance; the same is true for managing B2B partnerships. When managed correctly, B2B partnerships can accelerate growth exponentially—70% of Appian’s net new logos came from partnerships, and of Wasabi’s 5,000 partners, over 93% of them actively produce revenue for the brand. Wasabi CMO Michael Welts shared that the key to managing such a large partner network: “It has to be super simple in terms of the value proposition and the message. If it isn’t then complexity enters, it just adds time, and ultimately can kill deals.”

Learn more about why your brand needs a PX function in Pairing Up: Partnership Marketing with Denise Broady of Appian, Melissa Sargeant of Litmus, and Michael Welts of Wasabi.

15. Cheers to B2B Communities with Dry Fly

Dry Fly Distilling Washington Dry Gin (Spokane, WA)

Many of our CMO guests wouldn’t consider themselves gin drinkers, and the same could be said for the distillers of Dry Fly. That’s what distiller Patrick Donovan said they created a gin that they would drink. With a mellow, subtle taste, this farm-to-bottle gin quickly became Dry Fly’s best seller, and we can see why. It uses all Washington-sourced botanicals (except for the juniper, from Oregon), including the standout flavor from Fuji Apple.

When describing the brand’s growth over the years, Patrick also shared this: ““We have always done things we felt were the right way but also coincidentally the hard way.” There’s a valuable lesson for B2B brands here—customers can tell if you’re taking shortcuts or ingenuine about your brand. A simple, clear brand story lays the foundation for creating a community of customers who will champion your brand, and then you want to delight them along the way with unique and surprising experiences (like, say, a gin tasting!).

Get more insights into Indulging your B2B Customers with Simon Schaffer-Goldman of Case Paper, Jakki Geiger of Reltio, and Marshall Poindexter of OpenEye Scientific.

16. Keeping SMBs Off the Rocks at AMASS

AMASS Dry Gin (Los Angeles, CA)

The adventurous, versatile Dry Gin from AMASS boasts an impressive list of 29 botanicals, including two different types of mushrooms. The way the umami flavors ricochet through the mouth is delightful, transforming each sip of this gin into a full spectrum experience of the gin flavor wheel. Cleverly disguised in a simple bottle, master distiller Morgan McLachlan summed up the product set of the brand: “Minimalist on the outside and maximalist on the inside.”

As AMASS has grown, its vision has morphed from a boutique spirits brand to an amorphous lifestyle brand, offering a wide range of spirits, non-alcoholic drinks, and personal care products that are united by a focus on botanicals. The story is inspiring, and one that is a useful lesson for SMBs—it’s crucial to stay true to your brand roots as you pivot and expand to satisfy your customer. This is the land-and-expand approach; start your business with a hypothesis of what you want to do, synthesize conversations with your market, and then leverage the data to direct business forward.

Learn more about how to pack complex services into simple packaging in Small Budget, Big Punch with Chi-Chi Liang of Alloy, JD Dillon of Tigo Energy, and Ellina Shinnick of Betterworks.

BONUS: Use special discount code RENEGADE15 for 15% all products on amass.com!