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Salon Marketing Is Dead – IDEAS Are KING!

Tamara Forrest-Smith

In 1979 I did my first marketing. It was a couple of fly posters and tickets I design for my punk band, Clone Youth.

It was easy. Get big posters made up and stick them where the people you wanted to come to the gig were hanging out. Marketing doesn’t get any more basic than that yet it doesn’t really get any more powerful than that. All of our gigs were always packed. (we even attracted John Peel and Radio One BBC)

In recent times a client that urgently needed customers into his gallery to buy paintings from a famous artist. They had no one booked on and had sold no tickets despite a digital agency working on his event for 3-months. I had ten days to make it happen. On the night of the opening, the gallery had over 500 visitors and sold-out of their paintings. All I did was create a digital fly poster and make sure that the poster was seen in front of the people we wanted at the gallery to buy his paintings.

Each campaign was 35 years apart. Each campaign was simple and did the job it was supposed to do. Sell tickets and sell paintings.

Last week I spoke to a room of salon owners ALL doing marketing and ALL having poor results from that same marketing. Why?

The listener is jaded, the conversation is yesterday and totally boring, it’s the same as everyone else, it has also become complicated, complex and confusing. It doesn’t work – IT’S DEAD! Salon marketing as you are being sold is dead!

If your salon marketing feels like that it is normal today. In a world of me-too experts with no expertise that is what happens -NOTHING HAPPENS. Those showing salon owners what to do are disconnected from the buyer. They have no idea how to connect and attach themselves to the mind of a client.

FREE Salon Extreme Marketing Webinar, Listen Here

FREE Salon Extreme Marketing Webinar, Listen Here

What’s the distinction of the salon (do you even know)? The USP died a long time ago and distinct ideas are now critical.


The biggest thing you can create in your salon business these days is one BIG IDEA. The one big idea can cover so many things. It can be simple, it can be huge, it can be a fine tweak, it can be the perfect angle, it can be the most cost-effective guerrilla way to take your business out but it is the one thing that can change everything for your salon and your salon results.

Salon marketing as a concept is dead. Is it working for you right now? Who gives a shit about having 20,000 followers on Instagram if 20,000 followers don’t book appointments? Whats the point? There isn’t one apart from the expert trying to look and feel like an expert. The bigger problem is most of the experts have no true business-building expertise.

And now, marketing costs are up year on year by over 54% Yet with 81% of readers now unbelievers in marketing messages and with a 71% no longer reading your social media ads or any other ads.

I will repeat … and have been saying this for years … Salon Marketing as a work for all concept is absolutely dead.

What is the salon marketing concept you are told that will work for you?

The concept today is generally doing what everyone is doing, jump on the back of social media, spill out content everywhere and hope to get a reaction that will turn into sales and appointments.

Or even worse … you are still running around like a headless chicken trying to make the same things you have done for years and despite the fact, you still can’t make it work you believe that one day it will work. That’s crazy!

Marketing was at one time a creative chaotic almost random or idea-driven process – today it is mostly a lazy, unimaginative top-drawer process, a one glove fits all concept that really can never fit all and rarely works for the business that wears that glove.

From what I see marketing companies now are more concerned about getting you in the contract over a 12-month period, paying a monthly residual rather than a company dedicated to joint success and results.

And the pathetic results show. Time and again I have clients approach me that have spent small and huge fortunes into marketing that have delivered as good as zero results.

So, what should you do and what can you do?

If nothing is working and you know it isn’t working why are you doing it?


The biggest thing you can now install into your salon business is a big idea. An idea so big that is changes everything. This idea might be intangible yet it is the one thing that can change everything. An idea doesn’t have to be something that is on a table. Can you place the NIKE tick on a table and say wow that is worth billions?

Ideas have changed the world and they can change the outcomes of the business. I know I have seen it. Recently I installed one idea into a high-street business. They had been doing everything and anything online whilst watching their business slowly nosedive. Just two weeks after getting started we experienced an increase of just under £2,400 in a week that is usually slow.

That is because of one idea that I have set up to run for the next 12-months. I believe that the BIG idea will transform their salon business.


So, here’s a couple of things you should really give some thought to. They are the same things I do with clients I work with.

  • STOP what you are doing if it isn’t working
  • If you have an agency fire them
  • If an industry corporation is failing you – fire them
  • Take a week out and give the process some thought
  • Create an analysis of what has taken place
  • Question everything
  • Strip everything back to the bare minimum
  • Search for one thing that could be perfect.
  • Take one thing and turn it into a giant (after testing)
  • Run with that one thing until it stops working
  • Repeat the process to find the next thing to take your salon business to market
  • If it works run with it (everything)
  • If it isn’t giving you what you want why are you doing it?

Forget salon marketing and all of those fake experts with no expertise – it really is dead.

You must start your search for an idea so big it can and will change everything.

If you need help doing that … you know where I am.


The Salon Punk, Alan
Thinker, creative, author and business specialist.

WhatsApp/Text/Call/Facetime/ +447793069486

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