Nashville Micro Breweries, Micro Interactions and Messenger Chatbots

My first visit to Nashville circa 2009

I first visited Nashville back in 2009 and fell in love. I fell for the whiskey soaked neon buzzing honky tonks. The unassuming little venues in strip malls with pot-holes in the parking lots that have hosted performances by some of the most famous acts in music. The fried chicken and enormous burgers that I would never find in my home of Sydney, Australia. Most of all, the friendliness and welcoming spirit of the locals made me feel like I'd found a new home. So I decided I'd move there one day!

Fast forward to 2019, and my relationship with Nashville has progressed to a steady commitment. Having lived here for three years, it’s not surprising that I've seen some dramatic changes. In case you haven't heard, Nashville is booming. Over 400,000 people have migrated to the greater area since 2010. Like Austin TX, another southern city prone to stereotype, the cowboy hat and boots cliches are giving way to waves of millennial newcomers. The new Nashvillians are eager to plant roots and start new jobs and start new businesses. Even ecommerce behemoth Amazon will be building their 2nd headquarters here and Apple Music has announced plans to move their main headquarter into a warehouse in the inner city.

Options, options, options. 

With such a surge in growth, who wouldn't want to take advantage of opportunities to set up business in the area? Locals and new residents now have a huge number of options when it comes to choosing where to eat, drink, shop, work and play. 51 restaurants opened in the downtown area alone in 2018, up from 43 in 2017. Fashion designers are opening boutiques and launching new lines as the buzz builds, new co-working spaces are springing up as entrepreneurs work on their next big startup ideas.  And true to the Nashville spirit, hundreds of musicians write songs, produce tracks and perform in innumerable venues.

Micro Breweries and Micro Interactions

It's an exciting time to watch all of these businesses thrive, and perhaps the best example of this "options explosion" is the craft beer market. Who loves micro breweries? Nashville does! Yazoo, Fat Bottom Brewery, Black Abbey, Southern Grist and Tailgate Beer are just a few of the options,  catering for casual beer drinkers as well as the most seasoned beer nerd.

14.5 million people visited Nashville in 2017. Add to this the 1.9 million who live in the greater Nashville area and you have a lot of potential beer drinkers. What's the best way for the businesses to reach these visitors and engage with them? Consider traditional approaches:

  • Google search eg "best beer in Nashville"
  • Local blogs and websites that feature various guides to the city. 
  • Discount and coupon booklets. 
  • Apps

The problem with all of these options is that they demand many micro interactions. And micro interactions are like little bricks in a wall that seperate a customer from a behaviour or purchase. While a Google search may bring up a website for visitors to consider, they will still have to go to the site, navigate and find what they're looking for. The same for local blogs and guides - they rely on the viewer having the time to navigate a website, dig for articles in the link structure and move further away from their original search. 

Discount booklets and coupons are still available for most major cities. They’re a cumbersome and archaic way to reach new customers, and they also come with the environmental impact of using a large amount of paper.

Unless an app solves a universal problem or one that at least plagues many people, no one is going to use it. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that for individual businesses, and even most franchises, apps are just about dead. Even back in 2016, a Localytics survey found that amongst all app users, across all industries, 80% do not use the apps they have downloaded after three months.

The Quest for Craft Beer

So consider a craft beer aficionado looking for a micro brewery to try.​ In this image, each beer represents a different micro brewery vying for our hero's attention. 


Because of all the micro interactions involved, he's faced with a complicated and cumbersome experience.

Our hero remains separated from his craft beer drinking experience by a wall of micro interactions. Though it's not a huge wall, it's a wall nonetheless.

The Power of Messenger

Consider what our hero can experience with Messenger: 

What better way to help someone who is looking for a craft beer brewery than to directly message them?

This is the power of Messenger marketing. The Messenger platform is so native, so convenient and already part of most people's day to day interaction with friends and family. Therefore, very few micro interactions are required in order to shift attention to engaging with an offer from a business.

For our Nashville micro brewery owners, imagine sending an offer to your new potential biggest fan,  who accepts the offer and downloads it to his phone via Messenger.. You then send him a discount Uber code which he uses by pressing a button that books his ride for he and his wife and friends. Within 15 minutes he's at your brewery raving about how awesome it is to discover new beer this way. Wait, there's a tasting event at the brewery next week with live music? One click on a button brings up a ticket purchase screen from Eventbrite, ticket is purchased and delivered. All through Messenger.

What's more, the end users have control over who messages them. It is impossible to spam, blast, saturate or abuse the platform. This puts the pressure is on marketers to create an enjoyable and engaging user experience, or the end user taps a button and ta-da. Guess what? No more messages.

Are apps dead overall? No. Messenger is itself an app. It's the walls of micro interactions which define apps that are crumbling. These walls are made up of downloading, installing, signing in, signing in again, learning the user interface, updating, the list goes on and on.  

Experiencing Nashville for the first time again. 

Nashville is an exciting city to be living in right now. There really seems to be "something for everyone". The businesses that are quick to recognise and adopt the power of Messenger will have a big advantage as consumers come to expect more personalisation, more enticement up front and more control over the advertising and communication they receive.

I envy the visitors who get to visit Nashville for the first time and fall in love with the city just like I did in 2009. The difference is, Messenger will make it much easier and put the city right at their fingertips, minus the micro interactions. 

About the Author

Nick Miller is a digital marketing specialist and musician based in Sydney, Australia and Nashville TN. His agency Forward media forwardmedia.io specialises in powerful, profitable and provable solutions for the music and hospitality industries. He has helped artists, music venues, record labels and restaurants build engaged audiences and online advertising systems that follow the customer journey from discovery, to sale to viral promotion. Some notable clients included record label Broken Bow Music Group and the Wildhorse Saloon, a 6000 capacity venue in Nashville TN. Combining a passion for creativity and "story-boarding" the relationship between businesses and the people who become their valuable customers, he is committed to helping his clients continually surprise, entertain and delight.

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