Coquito. The traditional Christmas creme liqueur from Puerto Rico. The ice-cold drink with a big red bow usually tied around the neck of the bottle containing the delicious nectar of the gods. Like egg nog and turkey stuffing, it is a season-specific staple, a drink specifically reserved for the holidays.

Or so we thought.

Photo by Beau Horyza on Unsplash

When I heard about “Mario’s Coquito” and their offering of premium creme liqueur, my first question emerged from a seed of doubt as to the feasibility of the year-round profitability of said drink. Most United States-based Latinos love to toast with it around Christmas, and no one ever really knows where their bottle of Coquito comes from. It’s always given by a friend of a friend, or through a potluck, or through some other exchange where the original source is simply…vague.

Now, the offering of a festive drink available any time of year for any special occasion seemed, at first, a bit off, a bit strange, and even a bit wrong. The drink itself is lavishly opulent in its thick, creamy richness. Usually one tends to have one shot of coquito at a time, satiating one’s sweet tooth for a day or two after consumption. The proposed brand plan strategy to make Mario’s Coquito THE premier drink to those who love the taste on an evergreen was intriguing, to say the least. So let’s take a closer look and pull out our magnifying glass.

Image by janjf93 from Pixabay 

How would they pull it off?

I first took a look at their SWOT analysis to gain some insights as to how they could make it happen. As follows, I made some notes on the external forces driving opportunities and threats in the market:

  • Mario’s Coquito named Bailey as one of their competitors if not the main competitor. While Bailey’s does manufacture an Irish cream liqueur with a taste that the creators said “didn’t taste punishing,” Bailey’s was also never positioned itself as a holiday drink but more as an any-occasion alcoholic beverage. Is this the best competitor to analyze as their SWOT analysis suggests?
  • Mario Coquito credits the expansion of Bailey’s as a reason that demand in the marketplace will also increase. It could be the way it was worded that erroneously suggests causation but the company breaking the “100 MM bottle barrier” does not equate to increasing demand in the general category.
  • The assertion that there is an “increase in Latin culture appreciation across the US general markets” is one that I would be interested in seeing quantified and qualified. Latino buying power has increased, to be sure. According to Nielsen, “the buying power of the United States Latinx population is expected to top $1.9 trillion, which is higher than the gross domestic product (GDP) of countries like Australia, Spain, and Mexico.” All this by 2023! Undoubtedly the Latino population has growing clout and pull in the economy, but how can you translate into an increase in sales? It does suggest that it’s possible. But how? Quantifying and qualifying that claim is absolutely necessary.

The strategy also doesn’t clarify what retailers will be the target through their distribution channels. This is a vital piece of missing information because manufacturers must make sure that the right types of companies and stores buy the product, according to the distribution and pricing strategy employed. Looking over their plan, I am not entirely sure this was made obvious. If they are positioning themselves as the premier brand of creme liqueur – and they are – these must first be defined so that it matches the brand persona they are looking to achieve.

Image by Darwin Laganzon from Pixabay

What the company did exceptionally well was to create and highlight brand personas per their target audience and target market. They also uncovered which platforms and channels would be the most effective to reach the said audience. For example:

  • “The Bruncher” – becoming a part of her lifestyle – I think this was a great descriptor. This particular target group is highly influenced by social media and has a serious case of FOMO (fear of missing out). They want to make sure they stay on-trend and try the latest! In order to properly target them, influencer marketing will be particularly essential as well as search and display ads, all of which were suggested in their plan, however, I think they should *lead* with influencer marketing by choosing ‘micro-influencers that have a greater sphere of influence
  • “El Bori Diaspora” – a comment here would be that YouTube is also heavily used by males when they are in the brainstorming and research stage of the buying process, something to take advantage of as well. It’s currently missing from the plan, so adding YouTube TruView would be something worth looking into.

All in all, I truly believe that Mario’s Coquito has an exceptional chance of finding success if they tie all loose ends and answer those questions regarding the industry and the market as well as define their marketing efforts in a more detailed manner. What seasons will be particularly important to them to promote brand awareness outside of the holiday season? What creative assets and content are they thinking about creating to whet the appetite of their target audience? What kinds of social media boosts will they concentrate on and most importantly, what are the metrics to determine if they were successful or not? In terms of numbers and percentages, what are those SMART goals?

I would be very interested in seeing what their remarketing and targeting efforts look like – channel by channel and which holidays they could leverage to increase brand awareness, most especially their short, mid, and long-term goals. The idea behind the brand is a novel one, and as a Latina, I would be excited to be able to enjoy Coquito any time of the year without having to wait months to enjoy the deliciousness!