I went through the January issue of Exotic Magazine and scanned the advertisements. As per usual, the ads were a rehash of the same things. I’m still curious as to how many customers the ads actually draw in. One of the really hard aspects of marketing is to figure out how effective your ads really are. Do the ads bring people in? Are they driving them away? Is anybody noticing them?
At trade shows we’ll use exit polls. We’ll hire a couple of attractive women to interview people as they leave the booth. At a nerd trade show a little bit of cleavage will go along way for getting information. A little cleavage won’t do very much at a strip club. So what would be the best method interrogating the customers? I’ll try an experiment and setup a series of polls on left side of the blog. Remember to vote early and vote often.
In a club I’d take a different approach. I would print up tickets for the waitresses to pass out. The customer would get a dollar off the price of a drink for filling one out. You get what you pay for in marketing. People’s time has value to them. If you want something of value you have to give something of value in return. At a nerd trade show cleavage is money. You can even ask for a twitter or e-mail address and start an e-mail list. This will really tell you where you customers are coming from.
In my opinion most of the magazine ads don’t do much. Most people that read them either already work in the industry and want something to read when it’s slow or they're curious customers. My guess is that most people pick clubs that are close to where they live. Just like any piece of real estate- its about location, location, location.
One of the difficult things with magazine ads is how do you determine if it’s working? Or why it’s not working, why? The most obvious way is to track bar sales. If the ad works sales should go up, or at least maintain a level. If you run an ad and don’t get any results you are faced with some difficult questions.
The ad could be a failure. It either doesn’t get the readers attention or doesn’t delivery the message you want. Most of the ads I see in the magazines deliver the message but they probably don’t grab the reader’s attention. All the ads look almost exactly the same. It takes a lot of skill and creativity to come up with effective advertisements. Good advertising agencies make big bucks coming up with ad art for a reason.
The ad could be failing to find an audience. Most ads I see deliver one message: "we’re not dead yet." Basically, they let the reader know that they are still in business but nothing more. Some will promote an upcoming event. Most places seem to only advertise an event one month in advance. This is stupid. You are only giving your reader one chance to find out about your event. If they skip a page, or don’t go completely through the magazine the event gets missed. They should advertise at least three months in advance. If you are going to buy the ad space you might as well get as much use out of it as you can.
The ad could simply not be reaching the right readers. To me this is the biggest problem with most ads. They are preaching to the choir. To get new customers I think the clubs have to spend more time on internet based campaigns. Besides the usual social media suspects (twitter, facebook, blogs), they should spend more time working with review sites like www.barfly.com. They should also work with the sites that do strip club reviews. I get a ton of referrals from www.twosheds.com. I also get a lot from www.tuscl.com as well. One thing that always amazes me is the number of referrals I get from www.rivercitykitty.com. As far as I can tell the site hasn’t been updated in over two years and yet it’s one of the top referral sites. Despite its apparent demise it still draws a lot of interest and activity. Quality counts for blogs too. The good stuff will last.
Most of the ads I see are just the usual things I’ve scene for the past ten years. They are just doing what they’ve always done. Clubs should find out how they get their customers. If the ads aren’t doing anything then get rid of them and save the money or change them to something new. The market has changed.