Mobile Marketing & The Nightlife Industry: The Basics

As recently as a few years ago, the average nightclub’s marketing efforts amounted to a team of promoters passing out flyers to whomever he saw fit. But then email marketing stormed on to the scene, and today, you would be hard pressed to find a nightclub without an electronic marketing strategy. By harvesting a database of patrons’ email addresses, nightclub owners were suddenly able to reach their customers directly. Smart nightclub owners sought out event marketing firms able to marry these databases to detailed demographic information. Gone were the days of randomly passed out flyers; instead, a nightclub owner could target females with a certain income residing in a certain zip code, who reported going out a certain number of nights a week.

While these efforts were great successes, they do not represent the pinnacle any longer. Once again, technology is allowing intelligent, forward-thinking nightclub owners to reach ever more precise, and ever more interested customers—increasing Return On Investment (ROI) and building lasting relationships. SMS and other text messaging technologies, which might be unfamiliar to you, are an ingrained part of life for most nightclubs’ target demographic. The 18 – 34 crowd has grown up with cell-phones in their hands, and they have been texting for the better part of a decade.

Just as email shifted the paradigm of nightlife marketing, mobile SMS marketing will do the same. A customer, particularly in the typical target demographic is rarely without cell phone in hand. Customers are now available 24 hours a day. And of course not just any customers, rather selectively targeted customers. For a generation who came of age dependent upon their cell phones, constant connectivity has altered their habits. Plans can change, and friends can be alerted. Nightclub owners can exploit this, sending out reminders, and offers, hours before, or even as events are occurring.

How can nightclub owners exploit mobile marketing to draw crowds?

Owners can send out drink specials to be known only by those in the know. They can send out invites, which customers can flash at the door. The possibilities are endless. And just like email, the messages can be forward on by the customers to their friends. A wittily worded offer can spread amongst friends’ phones like a viral video making the email rounds.

Mobile marketing need not stop at the door. Owners can text patrons inside their club special offers all night, rewarding them for their loyalty, at the same time compelling them to stick around by making them feel as if they are in on something that others are not aware of.

Text Messaging is growing at a rapid pace. Nearly 65 Billion Text Messages were sent in the US in the first six months of 2006, a gain of almost 100%. With about half of US cellular subscribers utilizing text messaging—heavily weighted among those under 34—this amounts to about 80 text messages a month per user. While this may seem like a large figure, remember for a moment that the US is still considered a laggard at SMS adoption when compared to Europe.

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