IN today’s on-trade, it’s harder than ever to stand out from the crowd. But even pubs with a unique offer – be that a specific theme or focus on a specific drinks category – can go unnoticed without a suitable marketing plan.
That was the message from firms which specialise in on-trade marketing, who told SLTN that operators must get the word out about their venue in order to attract customers and maximise profits.
Colette Duff, customer marketing manager at Tennent’s, said point of sale “is a crucial way to drive rate of sale in your outlet – but good use of external point of sale will help to get people into the bar before they’ve even bought a drink”.
“Externally, consider using A-boards, parasols, café barriers or even wall murals to help drive visibility for the brands on offer in-bar,” said Duff.
“An interesting statistic is that 90% of drinkers will look down before entering your bar, so floor mats can be an invaluable asset to have.”
Echoing this view, Debra Leslie Jamieson, marketing director of visual display firm UK POS, said A-boards “are one of the most important point of sale displays for attracting passing trade”.
“This can be especially helpful if your business is tucked away from the high street, so you can use point of sale to direct people to you,” said Leslie, who added that the type of A-board that’s best-suited to a venue will be dependent on how often its offers are switched up.
She explained: “If you opt for a chalkboard A-board, it allows you to get creative with your signs and messages to make you stand out in the market.
“However, if you change your offers regularly, a pavement sign with a no-hassle, interchangeable poster will suit your needs better.”
Brand loyalty is a major customer retention method and helps establish the voice of your brand.
Jamieson reckons event flags, which can be customised to include a pub’s branding, is another clever marketing tool that is especially useful for promoting events such as food and drinks festivals.
Inside, there are various points to consider to ensure a pub’s marketing approach reaches the customers before they place their order at the bar.
Duff of Tennent’s said: “Consider how the flow of drinkers works in your outlet; use the space on their way to the bar to maximise your drinks range.
“A bit like a motorway, people will normally look straight ahead, glancing from side to side as they make their way to order.
“Neons are extremely eye-catching and look amazing in certain types of outlets. Chalk boards and posters are also handy ways to promote food, events, live sports but also your drinks offering. Once at the bar, this is where you can maximise point of sale to drive purchase.
“Think strategically; customers will look at founts, staff uniforms, taps, glassware and fridges, so consider branded point of sale to help encourage sales of certain drinks.”
Jamieson of UK POS agreed, stating that making an effort to ensure a pub’s branding is present in as much of its marketing as possible can really pay off.
“Brand loyalty is a major customer retention method and helps establish the voice of your brand – this could all be impacted by how much of your brand personality is included in your advertising,” she said.
Jamieson added that originality and authenticity are vital to any marketing campaign, regardless of its size.
Ensure displays are clean, neat and spelt correctly; it’s important to stand out but for the right reasons.
“Don’t copy competitors – be original with the point of sale you display; you want to stand out in the market and have your own strong brand personality,” she said, adding that consumers “are always on the lookout for the next best thing, so think of clever ways to grab their attention”.
It’s also important to get the basics right, according to Jamieson.
“Ensure displays are clean, written neatly and spelt correctly – it’s important to stand out, but make sure it’s for the right reasons; pay close attention to detail on your point of sale,” said Jamieson.
Planning is another important consideration when it comes to capitalising on events that offer the potential to increase footfall into Scotland’s pubs and bars, advised Duff of Tennent’s.
“Four to six weeks in advance is a great opportunity to get ahead, as people have busy lives,” she said.
“Using social media is another platform to maximise awareness of events and occasions in your outlet, meaning drinkers looking for something to do don’t even need to leave the house before your bar is on their radar.”