In the following interview, Lisa Gasse reports on the use of the socialPALS platform and the new paths it opens up for association groups.
Interview with Lisa Gasse from GEFAKO
Lisa, please tell us a little bit about the GEFAKO group and your special task in online marketing.
GEFAKO is the most important beverage wholesale cooperation in southern Germany. More than 135 family-run beverage retailers with 260 beverage stores in Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria and the Ore Mountains belong to the strong association. They offer a wide range of beverages, dedicated service and the best advice – whether in the beverage market, as a partner to the catering industry or as a beverage supplier for offices, households and events.
My job as Online Marketing Manager is to make our specialist beverage retailers more “visible” online and to support them on their way into the online world.
What are your specific goals in trade marketing and how do you want to specifically involve and support your beverage retailers in this?
GEFAKO supports beverage retailers not only through central purchasing, but also significantly in the area of marketing. Most of our shareholders are small family-run businesses, without a marketing department and with tightly scheduled workdays that leave no time for implementing marketing campaigns.
Our aim is to use various campaigns to bring customers into the beverage stores, for example by promoting the services, large product ranges and expertise of our specialist beverage stores. Above all, we want to reach the young target group with our measures, because young people unfortunately rarely go to specialist beverage stores these days.
What has changed through the use of socialPALS?
Previously, we could only play out advertising in the social media area centrally as GEFAKO. However, this is of course not perceived as very personal by the customers of our retailers and the connection to the local retailer was missing. Through socialPALS, our central advertising messages are now communicated directly by the dealers. This way, the retailer appears more personal to their customers and there is a connection to the local beverage market. We can now reach the young target group in particular more easily via targeting and direct them to the beverage stores with suitable campaigns.
The great thing is that we achieve this without increasing the effort required of our retailers. The amount of time we spend internally also decreases from campaign to campaign.
Can socialPALS help increase the awareness of retailers with regard to online marketing?
Yes. Thanks to the ease of use and transparency of the platform, beverage retailers can see the results of the ads directly. The key performance indicators still need to be explained and also compared and argued with the classic KPIs of print ads. But awareness is increasing from campaign to campaign.
Above all, it is through socialPALS that we are getting many retailers to deal with the topic at all for the first time. Before that, it was always too much effort for them or they were afraid that their know-how would not be sufficient. Also, many dealers notice that by regularly participating in the socialPALS campaigns, their organic reach on Facebook and Instagram increases.
How did you become aware of socialPALS?
As a member of ServiCon, GEFAKO always participates in interesting events specifically for association groups. In the course of the Anchor Day in November 2019 at Google in Hamburg, we got to know socialPALS through one of the presentations. Our first joint campaign was to promote home delivery services during Corona’s early days.
Why is using the socialPALS platform interesting for you?
Through socialPALS, the perception of our retailers has changed in terms of online marketing but especially in terms of Facebook and Co. For example, some of our dealers created a Facebook company page for the first time because they saw campaign content on other dealers’ channels.
Before socialPALS, there was no way for us to center-feed content to merchants’ social media channels. Now we don’t want to do without that option anymore!
Illustration of ads incl. KPIs. In comparison: Promoted post to organic reach.
What factors do you use to measure the success of a campaign?
On the one hand, we look at link clicks to landing pages, such as our website www.bierentdecker.com. We also compare the increase in sales of an advertised product between a retailer who participated in the online campaign and a retailer who only participated via traditional print media.
How much time did it take you internally to set up and implement the campaign?
It was easy, and socialPALS is always there to answer questions. You get the hang of setting up the campaign yourself very quickly because the platform is very user-friendly.
The time required cannot be compared to the mammoth task of sending Excel tables with posting texts and images to all retailers. The campaigns become much more effective and measurable through socialPALS, and we always have all KPIs under control.
How difficult was it to motivate the dealers to participate and how did socialPALS support you in this?
The socialPALS employees have a very high acceptance among our dealers. They know that contact is very easy and they are helped very quickly.
That’s why we notice that activating dealers becomes easier from campaign to campaign and some dealers are already literally waiting for the next campaign.
What’s next for GEFAKO and socialPALS? Are there plans for further campaigns yet?
Now that we have implemented five successful campaigns with socialPALS, we will schedule a campaign every month for next year. The socialPALS campaigns are already firmly scheduled in our editorial plan.
In addition to our own brands, we will also implement campaigns together with our industry partners. I’m already very excited about this, but I’m sure that with the great support from socialPALS, this next step will also be a success.
Thank you Lisa for the interview!
What our dealers say
Time required/ Handling:
Actually, it’s completely easy. The only problem is that after a certain time you forget the processes, e.g., for placing an ad on the landing page. But after quick deliberation, everything becomes easy again.
I use, if you allow the term, the handling is “housewife-safe”!
During the introduction:
At first, it was a lot and intense for a short while (new territory for us). But the explanations were coherent and succinct.
Immediate feedback and password reset.
Otherwise there was no contact until now – but it was also not necessary!
Effects on customers:
Currently I notice that up to now I have sold 4-5 beer calendars only via the first advertising push on Facebook (feedback from customers: “I saw it on Facebook!”).
Apfelbach Getränke GmbH
Mark Apfelbach / Owner
The time required is really low and the handling super easy. Once you get through the first settings & links, it’s virtually just “one click” every time. Should something not work out, socialPALS is easy to reach with its competent contact persons.
The best thing is, you have regular advertising on your channels in social media without much effort. At the same time, the posts are written as if you wrote them yourself.
I consider the cooperation with socialPALS an absolute success and would recommend it to everyone.
Jennifer Di Filpo