[VIDEO] 5 Steps to Scoring Brand Marketing Dollars

So, you’ve built out your bar, nightclub or restaurant and open the doors. Why aren’t brand reps crawling all over each other to throw marketing dollars at you?

The answer is very simple, it turns out.

Tim Haughinberry, founder and now chief creative officer of Back Bar USA sums it up very succinctly: Brands don’t owe you anything.

It’s not that beer, cider, wine and spirits brands don’t have money to spend on marketing and promotions. According to Nielsen data that Haughinberry shared recently, brands within those four categories spent a combined $2.25 billion on marketing in 2016. They’re just not reckless with their budgets.

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Haughinberry says it’s not all doom and gloom, however. The good news is that brands have marketing dollars to spend on advertising, branding, sampling, and product activations. The key to getting your hands on those dollars and forming mutually beneficial working relationships is understanding how brand budgets work.

Watch the video above to get quick tips from Haughinberry himself, and read the rest of this post for 5 steps that will give you great insight into how brands budget for marketing, what they want from operators who approach them for money, and how to deliver in a way that forms profitable partnerships.

1. Be Knowledgeable

Know your concept, know your business, and know your guests. A sushi bar, for example, should probably avoid serving corned beef and cabbage to land marketing dollars for St. Patrick’s Day. If an operator approaches a brand with a dissonant marketing idea, that brand may perceive that operator as a bad risk and avoid them in the future.

2. Be Realistic

This is also a rather simple concept to understand: Set attainable goals. Approaching a brand to ask for $1 million for a party? It’s safe to assume that’s not going to happen. But a great party idea that costs a brand $10,000? That’s more realistic.

3. Plan Ahead

This is what Haughinberry means when he explains that brands budget for events a year in advance. Know this. Understand this. Use it to your advantage. Come up with a detailed plan that outlines your needs, where dollars will be spent, menus, entertainment, etc. Take the time to create and rehearse a professional presentation.

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Want marketing dollars to execute one or two blockbuster events? Start planning now for 2020 promotions.

4. Execute

It’s absolutely crucial that you and your team execute with integrity. Deliver everything you promised to at the highest level possible. Brands plan a year out and so should you. That should give you all the time you need to plan and deliver on every element.

Check this out: Brands Don't Owe You Anything

Once you’ve proven to one brand that you and your team are professionals worthy of investment, you’ll be that much closer to forming a partnership that can last into the future. Such relationships can mean access to even more brand support and more marketing money.

5. Follow Up

A thank you goes a long way after a successful event. Data and pictures go even farther. Take tons of photos, not just to post on social media but to share with the brand that believed in you, your team and your concept enough to include your promotion in their budget. Collect data—number of guests, revenue, amount of the brand’s product that moved—and share it with the brand. Do this as after the event as possible.

Once again, brands don’t owe you anything. They do, however, want to work with you and spend money on concepts that plan ahead and execute with integrity and precision. Give them a reason to give you their money.