When Klinq was in beta testing, they spent thousands on digital advertising, but the return on their investment was not there. You see, their margins were small, and spending $47 on Facebook mobile ads was not sustainable for their long-term success.
So Robert Crawford took his social beverage network back to the drawing board and revamped his advertising and outreach philosophies. He re-emerged, focusing his Las Vegas-based startup on growth hacking: putting the power in the users’ hands to market the social beverage network via sharing and gifting.
The growth hacking model is a relatively new way to look at digital marketing, and it all centers on educating and building relationships with venue managers, staff, and customers. Klinq uses growth hacking to drawsmartphone customers to venues by pre-purchasing a deal for them, thus directly connecting them with the venue manager.
Crawford is of the mindset that bar managers have ineffective ways of learning about their customers, communicating, and gaining new exposure. And while it takes a bit more effort, this personal connection being made is what separates Klinq from Groupon-type platforms. After all, just because you check in somewhere does not mean you are a customer.
The idea here is that after a customer is brought in, the deal will not only ensure a retention of business but also a word of mouth advertisement from the customer: growth hacking in action. This is a major distinction because while there might not be much direct competition to Klinq there are tons of apps targeting the hospitality industry like Groupon, Foursquare, Facebook, Yelp, and Grubhub.
But Klinq maintains their focus on promoting growth hacking and building relationships with venue managers. The only way a venue can get on the Klinq platform is if the staff is fully trained and aware of Klinq and knows how to accept the digital receipts.
“As long as we focus on making sure our venue partners are enthusiastic about what we do and how we promote them, we will have an edge no matter what functions the technology has,” says Crawford.
And since Klinq goes all out to educate the venues, they are able to put complete control over every single detail, including the rules of purchase, in the hands of the manager. They trust these venue managers to use their platform the right way, bring customers through the doors, and ultimately help their growth hacking efforts.
“When you offer a 99-cent Grey Goose cocktail, it is too good to not share with your friends,” adds Crawford.
Klinq already has a full repertoire of fast food chains, coffee shops, major casinos, and convenience stores, offering deals at over 100 participating venues in Nevada, California, and Mexico. They want to hit 500 by the end of 2013, and while it is a lot of legwork, we would expect nothing less from a startup focused so heavily on building lasting relationships.
Klinq was featured at Tech Cocktail’s Downtown Vegas Mixer & Startup Showcase on September 12th.