Using CPU to evaluate ROI

marketing-plans2When it comes to tracking your club’s marketing efforts—your ROI (return on investment), the three most important letters you need to know are CPU: Cost Per Unit. What is CPU, and how can you track it? Ross Yamashita of explains.

Club owners and management are inundated with marketing avenues available to them to attract more guests. When speaking to them, I’ll always ask what their most effective marketing campaign is. I usually get a quick, confident answer. Unfortunately, in many cases, their perception of successful campaigns is based on a snapshot of what they see while they’re at the club or what management “recalls.”

Gauging the success of your marketing campaigns in this manner will become very detrimental and costly. While there’s no shortage of opinions of what marketing strategies work best, many club owners are not monitoring, or simply don’t know about, the most important number for tracking the success of their marketing campaigns—the Cost Per Unit (CPU).
Figuring your CPU is very simple: Take the total cost of a marketing campaign (usually broken down by a single week or month) and divide that number by the amount of returns you received in that time period. So, if you spent $1,000 in one month for radio advertising and 100 people came in as a result of that particular advertisement, then your CPU is $10. Basically, it cost you $10 to bring that guest through the door. Most club owners compare their CPU to their average check to gauge the success of the campaign.
If you’re not incorporating tracking your CPU, here are some simple steps to get started.

Make your marketing campaigns trackable 
Most, if not all, POS systems utilized in the industry today allow management to add custom buttons to track returned passes and generate reports. This makes it very easy to breakdown your CPU.

For printed materials, place a different promotional code on each advertisement or printed pass and enter these codes into your POS system. If you’re utilizing street or other promotional teams, you can use the same pass but print a section of the card in a different color and enter them into your POS accordingly.
Advertisements like billboards, radio and cable television commercials can be more difficult to track because there’s no physical card or pass for guests to bring in. Hopefully you’ve included some type of incentive for these types of ads, such as “mention this ad for a free drink.” This gives your guests incentive to redeem your offer upon entry. You can also get additional phone numbers and place different numbers on different ads so you can track the number of incoming calls.

Another great marketing resource is your website and social media. Create an ad and place it on your website so guests can print them or access them on their mobile device. For social media, be sure to differentiate your tracking codes by platform (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc).

Train your staff to track your CPU
What about the guests who don’t bring in a pass or mention an ad? Your strongest resource will be your staff, particular your front door staff.
First, determine what information you want to track about the guests coming to your club. Are they local or from out of town? Is a certain hotel or local business referring guests to your club? Are they coming in from an event or convention?

Create a sheet and have your doorman or receptionist ask each guest where they came from or how they heard about your club. This is also a good opportunity to ask them if they saw your billboard or heard your ads on the radio. You definitely don’t want your guests to feel like they’re being interrogated when first walking in, but a couple of targeted (and cleverly worded) questions will help you get a better understanding of where you should be focusing your marketing efforts.
Train your staff to be able to enter the correct pass into your POS. If necessary, keep a book at the front desk with all the different cards, passes and ads so they have something to reference.

Will tracking your CPU be 100% accurate? Absolutely not. But, you’ll have a much clearer picture of what’s working and what to scale back on. With these efforts, you’ll be well on your way to streamlining your marketing campaigns to help increase your ROI.

Ross Yamashita has managed gentlemen’s clubs in Las Vegas and was the Marketing Manager for Spearmint Rhino Companies Worldwide, Inc. He can be reached at (702) 508-4477 or

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