One of the most difficult things for bar owners to do is to step out of the day-to-day operations of their establishment and step into the marketing aspects. It is a difficult hat to change. Daily operations, such as scheduling, purchasing and accounting, are very logical, step-by-step, work. On the other hand, marketing requires thinking from a customer perspective and determining what needs to be done to create a fun, comfortable experience. Sometimes, this effort takes more than just concentration; it also takes spending money on a bar marketing plan. For example, visiting your competition and spending your own money while you size them up.
Another important investment in determining how to please customers is your time away from operations. Time is a valuable commodity and using time to talk to your customers is a very good investment. Your patrons are the best source of bar marketing ideas and where to spend your advertising dollars. Ask them what they think about your establishment and how you can improve it. Written surveys make good tools as well. In this case you will be spending money to print survey sheets and time to read and evaluate the information, but it is your profit margin—the investment return—that is the most significant.
One way to properly evaluate your investment is to see your customer value not in terms of a onetime transaction but in terms of a long term business relationship full of transactions. The happier you can make each customer, the more likely they will become a regular. Even more, if you create a regular, statistically that customer will tell at least five people about your establishment. Adding the investment return on any additional transactions coming from patron recommendation increases your bottom-line even further. Do whatever you have to do in order for customers to become regulars. Make them feel important, welcomed and comfortable. The best use of your important investment is to make this happen. Looking around and seeing a bar full of customers will be your welcomed evaluation.
Bottom line is that as a bar owner, you must see marketing costs, whether in time or money, as extremely important investments. In fact, your situation is much like Wall Street—you must study your investment carefully and spend the money decisively, with the expectation of higher returns. For this reason, return, rather than expense, is the focal point you should place on your bar marketing plan.
There are guidelines to follow in order to get the greatest gain. First, you, as the bar owner, must have a specific spending plan in effect and there must be a way to measure, or calculate the return in order to determine the best way to proceed with your bar marketing strategy. In order to achieve the greatest success in increasing sales and profits, you must spend the time and take the effort to review investment results on a constant basis. This is the only way to see which bar marketing ideas are working the best and how to spend your marketing budget on those things that positively affect your profits. Once you teach yourself to see bar marketing spending as a firm investment in this manner, your profit margin, or investment returns, will escalate.