Nearly everyone can agree that advertising is an important aspect of marketing, but there is much more to marketing than just advertising. In fact, nearly 80 percent of all marketing takes place within the four walls of the business -- the physical appearance of your business, the attitude and appearance of your employees, and the type of experience you create for your customers.
A successful four-walls marketer has one basic principle; use every ingredient, recipe, space and staff member to grab your customers' attention and keep it. Be creative; use your walls, ceilings and floors. Choose carefully what to say, when to say it, and most of all, how to say it. Assess all aspects of your restaurant then translate the hot spots into messages that zero in on the hearts and minds of your customers. These messages will help you to form a relationship with your customers that will turn them into your sales staff, the best sales staff that you have.
A great example is the game the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, a concept based on everyone being at most six steps away from any other person on Earth, so that a chain of, "a friend of a friend" statements can be made to connect any two people in six steps or less. Four-walls marketing is a little like that, but instead of Kevin Bacon think Pizza Bacon and connect the common ingredient, bacon, to a successful marketing promo that will touch six groups of people, using six different media's in six easy steps; see if you can find them all.
Max wants to boost his pizza business but has very little money to spend, so using four walls basics here's what he does;
- He runs a contest on Facebook and Twitter asking his customers to create a new pizza – the winner gets naming rights.
- The winner, Kevin Smith comes up with a combo of chicken, bacon and BBQ sauce. Now called Kevin's Bacon BBQ Pizza, it will be created by his staff from ingredients he has on hand.
- After the new pizza is created, he puts up a sign, sends out an email blast and box tops a flyer announcing the winner and inviting customers in for specific samplings days.
- He contacts the Boy & Girl Scouts and offers them a fundraising opportunity by having them door hang the box toppers for a penny a piece donation for each one they hang.
- He treats his "community sales staff" to a pizza party when they have finished the door hanging to thank them for a job well done and calls the media to cover the presentation of the donation.
- At the pizza party each scout gets a certificate of thanks, a coupon for a return visit and an offer of sponsorship for their next community event.
This is just the beginning for our friend Max. Although this promo cost him very little, his ROI was probably in the 5 to 10 percent range during the two weeks it lasted, but his long-term return will be even higher if he keeps the momentum going. Pizza bacon gave Max a foot in door to the brass ring of all marketing demographics, the local schools. He can use his Scout connection to open the doors for him so he can cultivate relationships with a killer school program made up from his four walls marketing tools. Once he has the schools, it's on to the clubs and organizations that support them and on and on it goes.
The moral of the story; you already have what it takes; you just need to use it to develop circular relationships, give your customers the best that you have, back that up with great customer service, and they will give you their loyalty and bring you their friends. From there the possibilities are unlimited.
Marla Topliff, president of Rosatis Pizza, has helped grow the Chicago franchise from 60 stores in 1999 to the 170 national brand that it is today. She supervises all aspects of marketing, customer service, store communications and vendor relationships.