Monday, April 18, 2011

Recommendations to club night promoters for smarter use of flyers

This post is based upon findings from the 2010 Leeds Clubber Survey, which had a particular focus upon attitudes towards, and usage of nightclub and club night flyers in Leeds by both promoters and clubbers alike. Along with this a literature review was carried out into best practice flyer design and distribution techniques, the culmination of both have contributed to the recommendations made below.

Club night promoters are largely aware that flyers are not as effective a promotional method as what word of mouth recommendation and social media are (although they don't always want to admit this). Word of mouth and social media come at very little cost, other than ensuring that the people who have visited club nights have had the most enjoyable of times. 

Promoters should capitalise on the fact that the majority of their customers are regular repeat visitors, by continuing to entice them back.  Whether it is the musical repertoire of a particular night, the quality of the venue, the price of drinks or the entry charge, whatever feature or combination of features that a particular club night has that is attractive to its customers should be maintained, and every now and again improved upon to reward those loyal repeat customers who keep coming back.  As many clubbers already know which club nights they are visiting, it is unnecessary to give them another flyer.

With that said, there is still a place for flyers, but their use could be smarter and certainly more efficient.  For mainstream club nights that attract a wider audience of clubbers and particularly student clubbers, on street flyer distribution will never be as efficient as it could be as long as a mass distribution to anyone and everyone is adopted.  Therefore the following recommendations are made:
·     target your existing customers with flyers as they leave the premises (exit flyering), only reward them with something better than a ‘paper’ flyer.  Re-usable flyers made of something that is more longer lasting than paper could further encourage repeat visitation.  For example a plastic credit card sized flyer that upon presentation gave the bearer something that other clubbers did not get in terms of reduced entry or a special offer could be an attractive proposition to customers.  Such a flyer should include clear information about what it entitles the bearer to, as well as terms and conditions;
·     encourage earlier nightclub attendance by providing flyers with special offers for those who arrive earlier;
·     if flyers made of paper and card are to be used, then use them more efficiently by making them last for a prolonged period of time, and making their presentation upon arrival at a club entitle the bearer to a special offer or discount that non-flyer bearers are not entitled to.  Flyers could be collected by door staff, and then exit flyered back to customers as they leave;
·     flyer content needs to adhere closely to what is suggested in this post, and this needs to be more consistently applied by promoters to all of their flyers;
·     capitalise upon the fact that clubbing is a social activity, and allow just one flyer to entitle a group of clubbers to a discount;
·     do not employ people to distribute flyers that are not friendly and chatty, consider the quality of the flyer transaction rather than the quantity of flyers that are given.  Flyers taken by clubbers for the ‘wrong’ reasons (often pity and guilt) are realistically of very little worth;
·     other than special offers consider ways by which flyers might contribute to the atmosphere of a club night, by giving them a purpose for a ‘fun’ activity that takes place during the club night, this might encourage clubbers to keep hold of them and not throw them away;
·     and be conscious of an ageing population, which will mean an increase in older clubbers. Older clubbers are less likely to pick up flyers so promoters should begin to consider alternative ways to promote to them.

Flyers for club nights that feature ‘niche’ and specialist music genres certainly have a place, particularly as their audiences are interested in reading more about them.  Flyers for these type of club nights that are distributed by friendly people who are passionate about the music are likely to have a greater efficiency than flyers that are left static to be collected or are distributed by people who do not represent the ‘scene’.  It is therefore a recommendation that flyers for ‘niche’ and specialist music nights are distributed by fans of the music, in the places that are frequented by their target market, and that conversation forms part of the flyer transaction.

All letterbox flyering should immediately cease, it fuels ill feeling amongst clubbers to flyers, promoters and their club nights.  It is potentially damaging, and risks souring the relationship between clubber and promoter.  The only possible exception to this rule is if flyers are used in a friendly ‘door-knocking’ manner and given by hand along with conversation.  This is what some specialist dub-step promoters do in halls of residence, knock on a door, ask the occupants if they are fans of dub-step music, if they are not, they apologise for bothering them and move on.  If they are fans, they give them a flyer into their hands and tell them about the club night.  For this to be carried out effectively it needs to be done by people who are genuine fans of the music.

Club night promoters need to acknowledge that clubbers are overall an environmentally aware group, and that needless waste created by flyers enforces a negative perception of the promoter and club night.  In addition to what has already been stated above about reusable flyers, the following initiatives should be considered:
·     promoters should be seen to be more active in picking up discarded flyers;
·     have clearly marked ‘flyer bins’ along the street where distributors are so that those who do not want to keep flyers dispose of them in a way that allows them to be used again;
·     make greater use of posters and lesser use of paper flyers;
·     produce fewer flyers that are valid for more people, thereby encouraging group visits;
·     concentrate more on social media and online promotions.  It would be relatively simple for promoters to distribute a link to their customers that took them to a page of flyers that contained special offers that could be printed by clubbers or even saved onto mobile smart phones and shown upon entry to gain a discount.

It is a recommendation to all club night promoters to be honest with themselves about the use of flyers, do they really represent true value as a promotional medium? To really be able to gauge this, promoters should attempt to survey those entering clubs (particularly in queues) to gain a clearer understanding of the impact that flyers really have upon their customers choice of club night. Promoters should consider experimenting with club nights that are not promoted at all by flyers - and if any of you are 'brave' enough to do this, I'd be very interested to hear your results!

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