I think we are at a point in the nightlife and bar industry where every single club and bar in North America could use more revenue and traffic. Even the venues that are full with lineups down the street are seeing decline in the per person spending. (i.e. 1000 people in the club used to bring in X amount of dollars and now only brings in Y – with the same traffic). So whether you need more people to come in or need to find ways to increase more spending at your capacity venue, times are calling for adjustments in your promotions.
It gives nightlife marketing experts like myself an unlimited supply of contacts and business but it also brings a unique problem where venues are starting to see a squeeze in available cash flow for marketing. It is a dangerous spiral for the nightclub and bar scene because in every business marketing is part of the life blood, cut that out and you could be closing your doors soon.
So the question has come up several times now, do you HIRE a promoter or BE the promoter? And if you are doing yourself how are you keeping up with the changing world of nightlife marketing?
I can safely sit on both sides of this fence because I have and do offer hands on promoter services as well as coach and train management and staff to execute the promotions on their own. But what do you do? What is your unique situation?
Before you decide here are a few points on the difference of hiring an outside promoter or learning to do the promotions internally (and properly).
HIRE an Outside Promoter:
There has always been an easy allure to hiring a promoter to bring their following and do the work. A few years ago this was an easy solution. Bring on a smart promoter with a good eye on the trends, good work ethic, a large following and access to more. The promoter comes in and takes over one of (or all of) your nights and takes the cover charge as payment (you keep the bar sales). Seems like a great deal for everyone and if you have hired the right guy (or girl) you are set.
A few points:
– They are hands on and will be at the club every week handling the promo and logistics of the night.
– Have heavy input on decisions such as DJ or band, music styles, cover charge costs, even drink pricing (due to their target following and knowing what fits)
– Promoter has their own street team of promoters and expenses that need to be covered
– If they quit or lose interest you will lose your night. In the end it is their built following and the people will follow.
– You are basically hiring a Marketing Director so their fee or revenue is going to be high. They could very well be the reason why you are busy and making any revenue on their night so get used to seeing cover charge payouts in the thousands every week. Granted if you did the promo yourself and pay thousands weekly on radio, there is your marketing fee. Think of their take as that marketing fee (don’t get greedy or jealous – promoters have large expenses too, we aren’t running to Vegas every Sunday =)
Why hire out?
1. You don’t know the nightlife industry so hire the experts,
2. You have tried and haven’t seen the right success so need a fresh look on the promotions,
3. You (and regular management) do not have the time to add marketing to your plate,
4. It is just easier to let the experts do it and count your liquor sales.
There are definitely countless plusses in hiring out your promotions to a seasoned veteran. This also works very well when you have a few strong nights going and want to add an extra (off night) to your weekly listing. Bringing in a fresh new following to do the work is a great idea.
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