Guerrilla Marketing Ideas for Pub Owners
There are many things to love about owning a pub. You can be your own boss, serve up some great food and drinks, and meet interesting people. But what might put a bit of damper on this adventure is the stiff competition. The food and drinks scene is a highly competitive one, and success is not a guarantee. There are only so many people eating out at any given time; your goal is to make them choose your business over all the other restaurants, bars, and pubs in the area. Good marketing helps you rise above the noise. Though they’re effective, taking out ad space costs money, and social media campaigns require time, so it might be time to try something new instead. Try these guerrilla marketing ideas for pub owners for some creative caffeine!
What is Guerilla Marketing?
The term guerrilla marketing was first coined in the 1980s. It comes from the phrase guerrilla warfare — a type of fighting in which small and irregular groups use uncommon yet highly effective strategies based on the element of surprise, usually to fight a bigger and stronger enemy. Guerrilla marketing is similar but without any violence. When we’re talking about guerrilla marketing, we typically refer to creative marketing tactics that use surprise and shock to promote a business, often at low to no cost.
Getting the Most Out of Guerrilla Marketing Ideas for Pub Owners
Guerrilla marketing requires planning just as much as any other type of marketing campaign. You cannot just walk out into the street and start talking about your business; Well, you could, but this will not yield much success. So instead, you’ll need to:
- Define the goals for your campaign.
- Determine the metrics with which you’ll measure your success.
- Allocate resources accordingly (not just financial — think of the time and workforce you’ll need to invest).
- Develop a plan for your campaign! (The most important!)
Low to No Cost Guerrilla Marketing Ideas for Pub Owners
One of the significant benefits of guerrilla marketing is the low investment costs. This feature makes it suitable for small business owners. So even if you’ve just opened your pub, you can employ the following tactics:
Highly controversial but often highly effective, ambush marketing is a high-risk, high-reward game. The idea is to “ambush” somebody else’s event so that you don’t have to organize one yourself. It works especially well for pubs, bars, and restaurants because hardly anybody says no to free food and drinks, so you can bring your own dishes as a form of unasked-for catering and use that to promote yourself.
If you’re offering food delivery, you might also turn it into a marketing tool, even just locally. Paint the car or bike you’re using and have your delivery drivers wear recognizable uniforms. They’ll serve as out-of-home advertisements while out doing work.
Become a Local Legend
If you want to be memorable, you need to stand out from the crowd; you must find your special something, a niche within your niche. For example, create a signature drink, use themed decor, become the most accessible place for food and drinks in the area, have unique staff uniforms, make an Instagrammable corner everyone will want to visit, or come up with your “quirk.” The point is to become famous for something unique.
Creative Guerrilla Marketing Ideas for Pub Owners
Guerrilla marketing opens up almost endless possibilities for creativity. So if you’re artistically inclined, you can let your imagination go wild.
Arts and crafts as a marketing tool
Art is the perfect tool for guerrilla marketing because both aim to incite emotion. So consider using art to promote your business:
- Paint a mural near your building.
- Decorate the front of your pub creatively.
- Do some street art around town. (NOTE: Check local laws and ordinances here. Though well-intentioned, “illegal graffiti” might not be the notoriety you seek!)
If crafts and DIY are skillsets, put those to good use by creating your own unique merchandise. For example, you can make decorations for your pub or sell homemade T-shirts with your logo.
Although they seem outdated, mascots can help the recognizability of your pub. Think about it: if you ever decide to relocate your pub and redesign the space entirely, you’ll still have a mascot that people associate with you even after transferring your pub to a new location. Of course, we don’t necessarily mean an anthropomorphic animal or cartoon, either. You’ve certainly seen bookstores with local cats or dogs as unofficial mascots going viral online (bodega cats is a good example), so it’s easy to see that mascots still work. And while you can’t use a pet as a mascot in the food industry, you can use fictional characters, dolls, toys, vehicles, a local celebrity who often drinks in your pub, or even a beloved staff member with community ties.
Experiential Guerrilla Marketing Ideas for Pub Owners
A great way to promote your business is to give people a taste of what you offer. In this case, the “taste” can be literal. But it can also be a taste of the atmosphere in your pub or the experience you offer your customers.
If you serve food or drinks, pop-up restaurants are always an effective way to promote your menu. Just pack the essential tools you’ll need for your simplest signature dish and drink, set up a tent with a few tables and chairs on the nearest square, and let people enjoy what you offer outdoors while on their way to work or while walking their dogs. Win them over with what you serve, and they’ll surely visit your pub too.
Taste-Testing and Free Food
In a similar vein, offering samples or free food will endear you to potential customers. These samples are especially effective if you’ve recently moved your establishment and are in a new neighborhood where you’re not yet a household name. Prepare some food or drinks that travel well and start handing them out on the street. If there are large office buildings or public gathering spots in the area, go there during lunch breaks and offer up food. You’ll surely gain a lot of customers with the gesture.
One of the reasons why people love pubs is their atmosphere; the camaraderie, the laid-back attitude, the friendly staff, and live music. It’s not easy to bottle that and offer a sample. But social media lets you come close. Post photos on your Facebook page or do live stories on Instagram. When people see others having fun in your pub, they’ll want to join in.
The Benefits of Guerrilla Marketing ideas for Pub Owners
Using guerrilla marketing ideas for pub owners can be very beneficial for your pub. First, guerrilla marketing is very effective, and you’ll see results fast. With a good campaign, you can easily attract dozens of customers the same day. Furthermore, guerilla marketing tactics make your pub stand out because not many pub owners are using them. They’re also just plain fun to engage in. Finally, guerrilla marketing is very affordable, so even small local pubs without much cash to invest in the promotion can reap its benefits.
Looking to offer alcohol delivery in your pub or restaurant and not sure where to start? Read our article below!
About the Author
Cindy Kane is a recent New York University graduate putting her MBA in marketing to good use at Golan’s Moving and Storage, where she works on digital marketing campaigns for their moving business. Her main passion is helping small businesses, so that’s the direction she hopes her career path will take. When she’s not working, she likes spending time with her cat and baking.