Once upon a time, we owned and operated an industry-leading event production company. We would secure partnerships with some of the most exclusive New York City nightlife and hospitality venues (1Oak, Marquee, Gramercy Park Hotel, and Soho Grand Hotel to name just a few) in exchange for filling their venues with a hyper-specific type of crowd. In any given week, we were driving thousands of people to various venues spread across the city.
THE STATUS QUO
Each day, we were exhaustively tasked to recruit, train, and manage hundreds of subcontracted promoter-driven marketers. They would build large networks of social relationships, host them at our events throughout the week, and we would pay them industry-standard rates, from subjective-based performance criteria. Under our guidance, these promoters were able to build independent units of control around the customer relationships and they were being rewarded handsomely for it.
All seemed to be going well, until one day, we realized that we were stuck in a trap of repetition, performing operational functions that we no longer enjoyed. Our options were limited, as we chose to adopt the standard industry model of outsourcing our marketing to subcontracted promoters. In pursuing this short-term growth hack, we subsequently forfeited the control of our customer relationships and had very limited flexibilities to pursue any significant changes in our business model. Like the majority of the industry, we were stuck in the rat-race, overly reliant on outside entities for the success of our marketing operations.
THE ANXIETIES OF CHANGE
Because of this, we started exploring opportunities within the digital world that could replace our dependence on third party promoters. In doing so, we reached out and tried partnering with some of the more established digital marketing agencies in the area, so they could help us build more controls around our customer relationships. As a result, we worked with three separate agencies over the course of 3 years. Unfortunately, none were able to unlock the subculture of our audiences and although we tried, we never had enough time to walk them through all the subtle nuances of our industry, as we were too busy running the day to day operations of our own business. Consequently, the marketing fell flat, never able to culturally connect with our target audience. Thus, we were back to square one.
And so, we abandoned the idea of outside help and instead turned our
focus to within. Convinced that digital marketing held the keys to our industry’s salvation, we refused to lay down to the status quo and decided to push on. Subsequently, we began asking ourselves, what if there was an agency that had the cultural intelligence to effectively market to our audience? What if this agency was incentivized and willing to integrate systems and processes directly within the organization, so that lifestyle hospitality organizations could finally become independent from third party entities, putting them in complete control of their own marketing and customer relationships?
LEAVING COMFORT BEHIND
With backgrounds in marketing, design, and a passion for digital technology, we knew that if we focused hard enough on these problems, we would be the best agency to tackle these unique challenges. Realizing how well positioned we were, we began daydreaming on the impact we could make by solving these issues for lifestyle hospitality, and the much larger and far-reaching effects it could have on the marketing industry as a whole. For these reasons, we decided to walk away from the comfort and safety of everything that we knew so well, to dive into the deep unknown of all things digital.
THE WILDERNESS YEARS
Investing hundreds of thousands of dollars of our own money and over the subsequent five years, we began deconstructing the relationships between lifestyle hospitality organizations and their customers. Fixated on the simplest and most cost-effective ways to scalably build, grow, and monetize personal relationships with customers, we had to rethink traditional digital marketing from the ground up. Specifically, we looked into all the points of friction between these relationships, drilling down into which components would scale, with the aid of digital technologies and cultural strategies, and which could not.
ARMED FOR CHANGE
After interviewing hundreds of lifestyle consumers and working closely with many organizations, we believe we have the best insights available for creating marketing strategies around cultural communities. By extension, we believe that building an amazing product and service experience requires an intelligence around the culture for which you are creating. And so, by developing digital marketing strategies that target the needs and aspirations of hyper-specific audiences, we can now help businesses to grow much more personal and meaningful relationships with customers.
Where lifestyle hospitality organizations previously could not participate in the opportunities and promises of digital marketing, now they can.
WELCOME TO LIONAR.