The Right Approach to Marketing
3rd August 2012
Our briefs, on the whole, are focussed on getting ‘bums on seats’ for multi-site operators. We use a mix of digital communications, PR, social media and neighbourhood marketing to do this. We develop the plans and we implement them.
Quite often though there is a real debate with the client about the level of involvement they want their teams to have in developing and implementing these plans at pub or restaurant level. That’s particularly the case when these plans involve social media and neighbourhood marketing. I can appreciate both sides of the argument and, at the end of the day, it has to be the client who decides what they wants their team to do both in head office and at site level.
On the one side are those who want their teams at site level to be totally involved in marketing their pub or restaurant. They want them to tweet, to update facebook and to respond to reviews every day, be they on booking engines or on sites like Trip Advisor. They want them to be responsible for their mailing lists.
They also want them to be the people who know their local neighbourhood like the back of their hands. They should be the ones, they argue, who need to know the concierges, the event organisers, the key opinion formers, the school heads and the PAs in local businesses. This local knowledge is vital, they feel, in keeping their brand’ top of mind’ with the community who are most likely to visit, recommend and revisit. It helps them understand what’s going on and to be at the heart of what’s going on – it also means they keep a close eye on competitors.
This approach means that in each site there must be someone who not only knows the principles and detail of what they need to do but also has the enthusiasm and energy to put them in place. It also demands a thick skin, a huge amount of self-confidence and outstanding emotional intelligence. Companies who adopt this approach still need to make sure that they support their operators on the ground by providing the training, information and materials they need to make a success of their social media and neighbourhood marketing activity.
On the other hand, I work with a lot of operators who just want their operators to operate. They don’t want them distracted by any involvement in marketing of any kind. Sometimes these clients fundamentally believe that they don’t really need to ‘do’ marketing and that an outstanding pub or restaurant, run outstandingly well, will generate its own success without the need for any sort of marketing.
If they are persuaded that marketing can be beneficial then they want this done centrally or via an external resource (often us). They want that resource to tweet, update social media sites and keep their own websites fresh and relevant. They want that resource to be the one that makes contact with local bodies and businesses. They want this individual or team to ‘get bums on seats’ and the only role they want their managers to play is to ensure that those customers have the best possible experience. Word-of-mouth, they argue (and who can disagree), is the best possible form of marketing.
Whichever approach operators take, they have to make it very clear to all involved. They have to ensure everyone involved in marketing at any level is clear what role they have, where their responsibilities lie and how they will be measured. I respect both approaches because both, I think, put the customer at the heart of what they do.