Retailers See Social Media Over Ads As Key To Marketing
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Social media has become the marketing platform of choice for many retailers. And Top Golf's Randy Starr (on left with our own Brian Kinslow) should know. Only 2% of his marketing budget goes toward traditional advertising, he told our audience of more than 250 at this morning's 5th Annual Atlanta Retail Real Estate Summit. “Our model used to be build it and they will come. That's not a very good model,” Randy says. “People are all about posting real-time experiences. Social media is really how we connect with our guests.” And Randy says the company's metrics prove that. Top Golf sets social media benchmarks for Facebook and other sites that, if met, show clear results on the bottom line, better than traditional advertising.
Randy was part of an all-star retail lineup at the W Midtown, which included LDV Hospitality's David Abes (which operates Corso at Buckhead Atlanta and the coming-soon American Cut Steakhouse), The Shopping Center Group's David Birnbrey, Simon Property Group's Sharon Pelonia, Planet Fitness' Stanley DeMartinis Jr. and Hartman Simons' Lori Kilberg (CREW president and our moderator).
“Social media to the Millennial set is their credibility,” Sharon says. “An advertisement, a newspaper or radio ad is foreign to them.” She says Simon has allocated larger portions of its marketing budget to “experimenting” in social media, including online loyalty programs and custom shopping apps. David Abes says for restaurants, getting your food posted or pictures of celebrities eating at your restaurants on sites like Instagram can do more for marketing than traditional advertising.
Stanley (on right with Colliers International's Mike Neal) says Planet Fitness is pulling more funds away from traditional network TV ads and reallocating them to social media platforms. Just this year, the gym launched a website, Planet of Triumphs, which allows users to post their exercise accomplishments. Since its launch this year, it's hit 1 million visitors. “Within a matter of weeks, some of our clubs had 26,000 users on it,” he says.
Speaking of Millennials, we shared a cup of joe with Primrose Schools' Bill Pierquet, who tells us it's that very generation that's driving the accredited preschool's growth within the CBD. Already Primrose opened a school at Colony Square, and it's actively working on sites in Buckhead, Brookhaven at Roswell and Mount Paran roads. It's also eyeing sites in Decatur, Druid Hills and along West Paces Ferry Road. As Millennials marry and have children, they still want to live in an urban environment, so Bill says they see huge opportunity to capture the desire of the generation's parents for quality education.