Ian bought a very expensive lease from his local brewery and became the proud landlord of a village pub. Although the pub had been there for many years, trade was rather poor as the previous landlord had not bothered to serve any food and had relied on the wet sales alone, which seems to be in decline. Heavy drinking is not very fashionable or health orientated these days, so Ian decided to offer delicious home-cooked food as well. He and his wife revamped the kitchen, had a very nice menu printed and waited for the customers to pour in. A few locals tried the meals and enjoyed them, but most of the time, Ian’s poor wife was standing about in the kitchen, twiddling her thumbs.
Eventually Ian approached his local newspaper and booked a very expensive series of adverts, aimed at local people. The trouble was, the newspaper circulation are was very large, so he was paying to advertise to areas well way from his hostelry. There are thousand of pubs in all areas, so not many people will travel very far to eat out, however good the food. Alan and his poor wife waited and waited and although a few new customers did try the meals, the cost of the adverts far outweighed the profit on the meals.
Luckily, one of Ian’s customer had some experience of business promotion and advised Ian on a course of action. He pointed out that less than a mile away, there was a very large, modern housing estate, containing about ten thousand private houses. Ian plucked up his courage, knocked on a few of these doors and did some local research. He found that many people who had bought these new houses were mostly from out of the area and did not even know that Ian’s pub existed. As many families eat out at least once a week, as well as for sunday lunch, Ian had found his target market.
Luckily, Ian had the sense to listen to the advice he was given about targeting and devised a plan of action. He had some attractive but inexpensive leaflets produced, offering a discount on meals taken at certain times and on certain days. The leaflets were well designed, promoted his “brand” (The pub name and a warm welcome figured prominently, as well as a map of how to get there) and offered a special discount on certain meals at certain times of the day. All that these potential customers had to do was to bring the leaflet with them, to obtain the discount. This meant that only his targeted potential customers got the discount and also meant that he knew how effective the leaflets were being. Ian arranged for Royal Mail to distribute the leaflets to each household and very soon, a steady flow of new customers were calling in to get their discount and to try the food. Ian’s wife fed them well, so naturally, they came back. Ian also made sure that he got their names and addresses each time and added them to his “Christmas card list”.
Every time he changes the menu or comes up with a new offer, Ian writes personally to his customers, inviting them to call in. He also sends them an inexpensive personalised Christmas gift each year – a valuable way of increasing customer loyalty and always makes sure that he includes his Christmas menu. He has repeated the printed leaflet campaign on a regular basis, both to the original estate and to other local areas and estates, continually building his customer base.
Ian TARGETED his potential customers and maintains contact with them. He does not rely on “word of mouth” (largely a myth) or passing trade. He uses the power of targeting and gives inexpensive business promotional gifts to reward his customers for their loyalty and his business continues to grow. Everyone has to buy business in one way or another but Ian gets maximum return from his business promotion budget, with very little waste.