Operators Guide: Marketing & Promotion #4

COVID-19, Marketing

Objective – This is fourth in the series of guides to operators of amusement and attractions venues, in the changing landscape #AfterLockdown. An overview of the best practice and suggestions on marketing and promoting your operation, brand and offering, as you recommence business, in a crowded market.

  1. Operators Guide: Priorities for Operators Post-Lockdown
  2. Operators Guide: How to Answer Difficult Questions
  3. Operators Guide: Unique Needs of the Game Room
1. Special Comments
-Treat your position as if you are “restarting afresh’
-No matter how long in operation, take a fresh look at your business
-Be prepared to start afresh, make no assumptions
-Undertake this evaluation even if you are an established business
-Understand that these are your guests, not just your customers
2. Start-Up Mode
-Look at what you intend to offer and what makes that special
-Take advantage of a fresh look at your branding and identity
-Evaluate if your offering is the best it can be to achieve your goals
-Ensure that your team understands and agrees with the direction being taken
3. Market Research
-Look at the competition in your immediate area, not just entertainment
-Use social media to collect information on your competition’s offering
-Use online resources to collect information on best practices
-Visit industry association and media resources for information
4. Value Proposition
-Establish what your Unique Selling Point will be
-Understand what is your target audience (don’t have just one target)
-Ensure you are offering a flexible package to suit changing needs
-Do not fixate on the hardware or technology, but on the experience
5. Undertake a SWOT Analysis
-Ascertain what your Strengths are against competitors
-Ascertain what your key Weaknesses are (see if they have changed)
-What Opportunities do you have now to improve your position
-Consider all Threats to the business, especially from other operators
6. Employ Digital Marketing
-Use social media to collect information on your core market
-Look at using Google and Facebook to construct a detailed database
-Understand how best to share your message through these mediums
-Consider using influencers to help shape your message
-Set up email automations to keep top of mind with guests
7. Communicate with Guests
-Gather from database of guests and ask some important questions:
-Ask them what is important to them now
-Ask them what they like best about your offering
-Ask them what they are missing right now
-Use the testimonials in all marketing channels to attract new guests
8. Understand What is Important
-Build up a profile from your database of your key customers
-Start to collect a database of targets from social media
-Understand the best way to reach out and connect with your guests
-Highlight your offering and how much you value the community
-Don’t just push transformation, pull too – by asking questions
9. Build a List of Social Influencers
-Ascertain the key individuals and posters (influencers) in your area
-Reach out to influencers and offer incentives to support you
-Include information that can be shared through these channels
-Give them early access and previews to new offerings as exclusive content
10. Build a Social Community
-Build contact with fellow proprietors in the area
-Offer shared promotion of services (local food and products)
-Ensure contact with local government, promote reopening
-Special offer for local businesses
-Invite First Responders and their families
11. Build a Fun Message About Your Offerings
-Create video of efforts taken to keep guests safe at site
-Create message, do not overemphasize risk
-Ensure you are building on family values and community spirit
-Remember, you are in the “social” entertainment business
12. Create Social Media Moments
-Ensure to capture images of guests in venue
-Create video of preview opening
-Create video about reopening, promoting family and staff
-Ensure website pages achieve best presentation
-Use loyalist testimonials to promote the business
13. Arrange a Preview Opening
-Arrange a special preview opening of the facility
-Ensure that this is videoed for later use in marketing channels
-Ensure you make it feel like a special events (must attend)
-Reward loyalists (previous guests), treat them like celebrities
14. Offer a Unique Value Proposition
-Understand what you offer that is unique compared to competition
-Understand how you can improve that offering
-Consider how you promote and describe that offering to your guests
-Promote your offering in a unique way
15. Final Observations
This is “Not Game Over” for our businesses but is the beginning of a new chapter in growing our business. This will need resolve and a preparation to embrace and support guests looking to enjoy the social community and fun offered. Help guests recapture social entertainment again!

Andre Lawless
Andre Lawless is the CMO and One-Man Marketing Army at Lawless Marketing, a consulting business focused on location-based entertainment and disruptive technology. He has more than 25 years of experience with a decade in out-of-home amusement. Lawless led marketing for Ecast downloading jukeboxes and Buzztime’s networked trivia game platform and recently has executed integrated marketing for VR companies Zero Latency, Minority Media, SPREE Interactive and Entermission. He’s also worked with cashless payment companies PayRange and Tigapo. Andre has directly consult-ed and executed upon launch marketing plans for numerous LBE businesses and is happy to talk about how to help you reopen in a meaningful way. You can reach him at andre@lawlessmarketing.com.

Kevin Williams
Kevin Williams – a leading specialist in the immersive Out-of-Home entertainment industry, through his consultancy KWP Limited, specializing in interactive entertainment. Coming from a long career in the theme park, amusement and entertainment software industries, being an ex-Walt Disney Imagineer. Well known for his news service, The Stinger Report that has become a-must-read for those working or investing in the international market. Along with this, he is also a prolific writer with regular columns for the main trade publications in this market, along with presenting numerous conference sessions on the sector and its global impact. He is also the co-author of the only book on this aspect of the market, “The Out-of-Home Immersive Entertainment Frontier” – currently working on the next edition, schedule for publication soon.

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