It’s Saturday night and the bar is hopping. Throngs of people come together under the glow of neon lights to take advantage of drink specials as Bret Michaels’ vocals fade into the background. That’s right, they don’t need nothin’ but a good time, which is where you, the distributor, come in.
Think about it. Who doesn’t remember the cool T-shirt they won on trivia night, or the beaded necklaces they scored for Fat Tuesday? It’s all about selling experiences—something that Holly Spillers has mastered.
As co-owner of Proforma MVP Marketing, located in Katy, Texas, Spillers gets to serve up effective promotions on a regular basis. But, one particular Halloween-themed promotion that she handled for a client in the restaurant and bar sector stands out.
Here, Spillers explains the thought process behind the campaign.
Describe a promotion of yours that you consider one of your best.
Holly Spillers (HS): We have a client that owns and operates 23 regional British-themed pubs. Halloween is a big event for them every year and they celebrate with costume contests, live bands and drink specials.
What items were featured in this promotion, and what influenced that decision?
HS: Proforma MVP Marketing has helped this client promote these events through a variety of items, including custom drink coasters and banners, which advertise the upcoming activities. At the events, patrons love to take photos with their friends in front of a printed background. (We even include a red carpet.) We provide stadium cups for beer specials and table throws to provide an official location for customers to register for the Halloween costume contests. Proforma MVP Marketing [also] provides beaded necklaces and [can coolers] as giveaways.
How was this a profitable promotion for your company? For your client?
HS: Our client was very happy with the promotions, and we are already talking about Halloween items for this year. For us, this client is one of our top five customers, so the partnership is extremely profitable. They look at us as solutions providers—helping them come up with new ideas to make their promotions better year after year.
Did you encounter any challenges with this particular promotion? If so, how did you overcome them?
HS: Fortunately, everything went very smoothly for this particular promotion. I started reminding the client in mid-July to plan early. That’s really the key for avoiding many challenges—planning well in advance.
Do you have any advice for your peers attempting a similar promotion in the restaurant and bar market?
HS: The great thing about Halloween, or any holiday, is that it’s an easy opportunity for a restaurant or bar to create a fun event around an already-known celebration. St. Patrick’s Day, Fat Tuesday, Fourth of July, etc. are all great opportunities for restaurants and bars to invite their guests in for a fun time and reward them with a few giveaways and photo opportunities. This particular client of ours knows the importance of always having something going on inside its four walls to attract guests.
Is there anything you would like to add?
HS: This client has an ongoing grass roots marketing program that keeps it ordering from us year-round. [The client] markets itself within a one- to two-mile radius of all its locations. This is something any restaurant or bar could benefit from, and promotional products have proven to be the best vehicle for this.