Marketing is about getting the word out, and while strong marketing strategies encompass a nuanced strategy, it starts with hitting the street and using the community to get the word out.
Canvassing local businesses, retail outlets and hotels will flyers is helpful as long as the street team knows how to manage and utilize them. “There are a lot of approaches,” says Kelley Jones, founding partner of Trust3 Hospitality. “When it comes to street marketing, it’s about picking a demographic in the target market.”
For example, stunt marketing, which involves doing various theater art on the street, gathers people in one spot and captivates people’s attention long enough to present marketing materials, Jones says. However, the challenge with street marketing comes when people don’t want to be bothered, no matter if the street marketing team is shilling a free Champagne happy hour, he quips.
A benefit of street marketing is that it can be measured through tracking. If a person comes in with the flyer, a bar owner can offer them a bounce-back gift such as a food or drink discount. The key is to do something to acknowledge the new guest without cheapening your brand.
Jones recently opened Poppy Den by Chef Angelo Sosa in Las Vegas and to cultivate clientele, the restaurant offered a free happy hour to local businesses, which helped introduce the restaurant and the staff to the community. “It was an effort to get together in a business setting,” Jones says.
Part of Jones’ plan is to maintain that presence within the local community. “People will forget you,” he says. “Out of sight, out of mind.” Managers will go out once a week to do marketing and visitation marketing. “We do it strategically,” hitting one type of business one week and checking out another the next week.
Street marketing via the Internet also helps supplement those literal street marketing efforts. “We incentivize,” says Jones. “If you work in one of our properties, we tell you to go out there and spread the world,” he explains. “The staff is part of it; it you’re coming out to work, put it on Facebook.”
Marketing is about building relationships, says Jones. “It’s really predicated on our ability to get the word out, and it’s always going to be important.” The funny thing, he says, is that technology is becoming ingratiated in all aspects of the hospitality industry, but “there’s nothing hospitable about hospitality and technology—that’s why (street marketing) is so important—because you’re building a relationship.”