Miller Brewing to fill b-to-b Internet marketing mug

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Milwaukee--Miller Brewing Co., the nation's second-largest brewer, is to introduce a Web-based platform to pass on marketing and promotional information to its distributor and retail trading partners. The platform will let Miller's 500 distributor partners and tens of thousands of retail outlets access marketing planning content-for example, pricing information and product display requirements for sales-on flagship brands including Miller Genuine Draft Light, Miller Lite, Milwaukee's Best, Foster's, Meister Brau and Olde English 800. It will be rolled out over the next 18 months. Today, Miller passes on nearly all of its marketing content via fax and phone, a slow ordeal for an industry where sales often require spur-of-the-moment changes. "Miller clearly recognizes that data synchronization can improve supply chain processes for its distributors through more effective communication of pricing and promotions, while reducing costs associated with invoice errors and deductions," said Lewis Kilbourne, CEO of Dallas-based The ViaLink Co., which is developing the platform. Miller arch rival and No. 1 U.S. brewer, Anheuser-Busch Cos., began developing a similar platform earlier this year. ViaLink is also working on similar projects for Miller sister companies Kraft Foods Inc. and Nabisco Inc. Another sister company, Philip Morris USA, last year took a different route, launching its b-to-b marketing platform on RetailersMarketXchange Inc., a consumer packaged goods industry hub. All the companies are subsidiaries of New York-based conglomerate Philip Morris Cos. Inc.
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