Your pub exists because of the customer’s choice to patronage your establishment. These days, ever-increasing competition allows the customer much more choice on what to do with their free time. Therefore, a marketing and advertising plan is essential to ensure the long-term success of your operation. Marketing your Irish Pub falls into two categories:
- External marketing includes all forms of marketing and advertising that are designed to reach your customers and potential customers in their offices, homes and/or vehicles
- Internal marketing includes on-site promotions, point-of-purchase displays, menus, table tents, other merchandising items displayed inside the pub.
Effective marketing is difficult without an understanding of your current and potential customer base. The more you understand your customer, the better equipped you will be to fulfill your customer’s needs and keep them coming back. Therefore, the most important step in preparing a marketing plan is to have a complete understanding of who your customer is. What is learned during this step is critical because it is key to all that will follow in your marketing plan. Customers differ from one establishment to another because Irish pubs, bars, taverns and restaurants differ. In addition, the lunch patron for your establishment may differ from the weekend and/or evening patron.
One of the challenges you will have as the manager or owner of a Irish Pub is establishing your pub’s image as specific and different to other existing pubs in the area. Many Americans have not experienced a quality pub and they may have a perception that a pub is smoky, dingy, dirty and dominated by hard-drinking middle-aged males. The Irish Pub concept is unique because it is designed to create a premium experience for your customers through its authentic decor, specialty food, premium beverages, and superb staff.
A study of your local market is needed to help you determine what your potential customer base is, where this customer base comes from in your area and when this customer base is likely to visit your pub. To help identify your market and potential customer base and to commence your strategic approach, you might consider the following questions:
- What type of person will be attracted to/feel comfortable in my Irish Pub?
- Will my customers be the entire community, or only specific groups within it?
- Does my customer base comprise of foot traffic, vehicular traffic or both?
- Can my customers be linked to the patronage of nearby attractions such as theatre, cinema, sports complex, other bars)?
- Can my customers be linked to local venues such as Government Offices, Universities etc
- What other pubs exist in the area and what kind of clientele do they have?
- How important is the pricing of retail food & beverage in the area?
- Looking at a business map of your area, can you identify those factors that might impact positively or negatively on your business?
- is the area heavily industrialized which might impact positively on Monday to Friday business but negatively impact on weekend business
- is this a university-dominated area where your business might be very good during term but very poor during holidays?
- It will take time to build a full picture of your market. Talk to other local retailers and ask them about their business. Joining local small-business organizations is always a good way to stay in tune with what is happening, or going to happen, in your area.