The English countryside is dotted with small villages and hamlets, each filled with people who have their own local ways of doing things. Yet, while no village is quite like the next, there are a few traditions that cross the sheep-dotted divide. Chief amongst these eminently English traditions: the pub.
Short for public house, in many places the local pub is more than just a drinking establishment. It is a place for family gatherings, public discourse, and resolving community issues—a city center, in function if not in name. So you might well imagine that these local markets would be a hard place for an out-of-town competitor to survive after opening its doors. This is the story of Marston’s Pubs, the outsider which has not only dared to set foot in local communities across the English countryside, but has thrived there. It is also the story of how marketing and data can conquer any challenge together.
With over 1,900 pubs in communities across England, Marston’s is as successful as they come. The challenge as the company expanded across the country was that each community valued different aspects of their local pubs. The upmarket food and seasonal menus that worked wonderfully in one town were sacrificed in others, making room for pool tables and other leisure activities. When a new, popular pub like Marston’s opens up in town, the locals often fear that their desires will fall on deaf ears.
Thankfully, Marston’s has partnered with Microsoft Dynamics CRM and can listen to customer sentiment on a level previously unheard of. Instead of reading thousands of emails and comments individually, Marston’s uses social listening to manage customer sentiment all at once, noting which issues are important to each community it serves. By tracking keywords concerning the names of its pubs and brands, Marston’s can make changes faster and serve its communities better.
Traditional pubs are also under the strain of more competition than ever before. Bars and clubs are encroaching on the once-hallowed social space of the pub, so to survive pubs need to offer more than just drink and a social forum. Seeing these trends through up-to-the-minute analysis of an evolving market, Marston’s has diversified. There are now 11 different types of Marston’s establishments, serving communities as public house, carvery, rotisserie, party venue, and more.
By giving local communities the personal focus they deserve, Marston’s Pubs has thrived in an environment that has proven fatal for many of its competitors. When you see the competition becoming steep, or when you have the opportunity to expand your business, data and analytics are the key to a prosperous future. With the right tools in hand, you can turn sentiment your way, increase your business, and care for each of your local communities the right way.
If you’d like to read up on how social sentiment, marketing, and data can improve your business, download our e-book, Your Brand Sux.