Maker’s Mark Holiday Sweater Heats Up December Traffic


Image from: Whisky / Shutterstock
As marketers we’re interested in how to create memorable interactions with our customers. One of my marketing friends explained to me once that the reason she enjoyed being a marketer is that she liked to find new ways to make people fall in love with a brand. While loyalty programs aren’t a new idea, having a creative approach can create a lasting impression.

While this particular campaign isn’t new, it seems to be one that is worth revisiting as it has created a lasting impression. Around the holidays everyone is preparing for ugly sweater parties, cookie parties, and family parties. Last year, Maker’s Mark did a direct mail promotion to their Brand Ambassadors, and it paid off this past December. The campaign consisted of outfitting their Ambassadors with a special holiday sweater for their bourbon bottles. While I got a lot of direct mailers during this past holiday season, I can say that hands-down my Maker’s holiday sweater was by far the most noteworthy and engaging thing I received. I know this must have been an expensive campaign,as the custom branded sweaters sent to each Brand Ambassador, but it was one that paid off in terms of traffic and attention.

With the help of this little green and red number, they surpassed the December traffic for one of their largest competitors, Jack Daniels. Now that’s lookin’ good!

On top of squeaking by one of their largest competitors,’s Unique Visitors and Visits in December jumped 303%  and 278.87% month-over-month, respectively. Moreover, they had some impressive year-over-year growth in terms of Unique Visitors, with almost 28% growth from the prior holiday season and passing’s conservative 5% growth.

UVs to Makers Mark and Jack Daniels

Visits to Makers Mark and Jack Daniels

In terms of daily activity, it’s delightful to see the attention and reach metrics prance upwards from Wednesday through the weekend for the three weeks prior to the Christmas holiday, which likely coincided with the receipt of the snazzy sweaters. While they gave ice balls as their gift last year, you can tell that this campaign was a real hit in comparison.

Daily Reach to Makers Mark and Jack Daniels

Daily Attention to Jack Daniels and Maker's Mark

While it’s still a little too early to say if they will see a prolonged lift from the sweater promotion, we’re seeing about a 4% increase in direct traffic to the site in January. Even if traffic slows in the new year, this gift has stimulated interest in Maker’s swag, as there’s been an 80% month-over-month increase in outgoing traffic from

In conclusion, not necessarily every campaign will be a hit. Ultimately successful campaigns ride the fine line between timing and appealing to their audience’s interests. Maker’s Mark were successful not because they gave a gift, but because they touched on common holiday tradition with a brand twist.

About Lindsey Mark:
Lindsey Mark works in Client Relations at Compete and is responsible for the strategic development of client retention and support policies for, with a focus on education and training efforts. She graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY so she's a certified technology junkie and open source advocate. When she's not thinking about marketing or training digital 007's at compete, she's doing yoga & blogging about gluten-free diet and lifestyle. Find Lindsey on Twitter as @linji, Google Plus as Lindsey Mark or connect with her via LinkedIn.