HEAD TO HEAD WITH KATY MOSES, MANAGING DIRECTOR AT KAM MEDIA
Tell us about what you do at KAM Media and how you come to set it up?
I set up KAM 5.5 years ago in 2014. We focus on the grocery and hospitality retail sectors because we have a real passion for and knowledge of those channels. I thought that there was a gap in the market for bespoke creative research, i.e. research that serves a purpose AND is delivered in a creative, informative way to excite and inspire the recipient. Research is only helpful if it’s actionable – I’ve seen so many companies spend money on insight only for it to sit in a desk drawer somewhere. We provide a service that doesn’t stop at delivery, but also ensures that the insight we provide has a purpose and becomes a strategic, integral part of business decision-making.
What are the biggest challenges impacting the on trade currently and how can licensees overcome them?
We all know that rising costs, business rates, employment costs and taxes, are a real and constant problem in hospitality, but so is competition. I’m always keen to point out to our clients that if you’re a gastro pub, your competition isn’t the other gastro pub nearby; it’s the Italian down the road, the new independent cinema with a cool bar/restaurant. It’s the experiential bar with an Escape Room up the top, it’s Deliveroo and Netflix. The only way to ensure that, as a hospitality business you are front of mind with your customers is to know them inside/out; to understand why they visit you, what purpose you serve, what occasion are they on, what do they want/not want from you, how can you improve your offering? Understanding your customer and your competition, upcoming trends and where you sit in a customer’s repertoire of social is essential.
What are your top three predictions for the future of the channel in 2019?
I believe that the cult of personalisation will continue to thrive. We want what we want, how we want it, when we want it. Customers are becoming more demanding and hospitality businesses need to be able to personalise the experience they offer, from the way they market to customers, through to the offer that they place in front of the customer, to the way that that offer is executed, it will continue to be about personalising the experience. 57% of customers state that it’s important that they can customise the food they order according to our report Ontrade Outlook, 2019.
Speaking of experience, I only see ‘experiential’ as an increasing trend. The days of the main mission to a pub/bar being “popping in for a quick drink” are over. That’s not to say customers won’t ever do that, but the majority, especially the younger generations want more from their social spend (77% of 18-24 year olds want their local pub to offer an experience that they can’t get at home). Operators who create an experience rather than a visit will continue to thrive.
And finally, we need to get better at creating social success without relying so heavily on alcohol. 39% of Generation Z are teetotal. Health and wellbeing are becoming more important to customers, so we need to start reacting to this behaviour.
What more can suppliers do to help support the channel?
Suppliers need to be able to support operators not just by having monetary offers available but through their knowledge of the channel and the customer. I think that there are many suppliers out there who don’t understand the pressures on operators and who think knocking a few pounds off a case will solve any issues. Operators need suppliers to understand them and their businesses and provide personalised support that leads to a partner-based relationship.
You must have been to hundreds of venues throughout your career. What’s your idea of a perfect night out? Where would you go, what would you eat and what would you drink?
Well, my answer to this goes back to some of my earlier points – for me there’s no one ideal night out. Like most hospitality customers it depends who I’m with, what mission/occasion I’m on, what’s on offer near me, etc. BUT, if I had to make a decision right now as to what I wanted to do tonight; I’d head up to Soho for drinks outside in the sun, people-watching on Old Compton Street, followed by dinner at Randall & Aubin, then over to Ronnie Scott’s for some live music and possibly finishing up at a little place I know where you can dance the night away underground to the best DJ’s, with quickly and expertly-made cocktails and fun, unpretentious people. Where is it? Well I’m not telling you THAT- it’s a secret!