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When it comes to marketing, it may feel like you throw up a bunch of signs, maybe get a radio ad, publish a Facebook post and instantly improve your revenue — simple! Yet, the strategy that goes into marketing is far more complex than that.

Foodservice Marketing 101

There is a ton of strategy that goes into a successful advertising campaign for your location. Without the right strategy, you are essentially throwing out ideas and money without any way to measure results. It’s like shooting a shotgun and hoping one of the hundreds of pellets finds its mark. You are wasting the rest of that shot.

With years of retail marketing experience, we started thinking, “Why not share that foodservice marketing knowledge with everyone?”

That’s what we are about to do! We reached out to two of our retail advertising specialists to get six surefire tips to improve your store’s marketing. We help our retailers implement these tips daily with the assistance of this two-part blog series. Today, we are starting with three tips from expert PFS marketer, Anthony Pierce.

1. Edutainment

You walk into a grocery store and as you pass the deli, you see a monitor playing a short video about the products in the hot case. It shows the chicken cooking fresh in the fryer, mom and dad picking out an entrée along with side dishes, then quickly flips to the kids enjoying the fresh meal, followed by a variety of available meal options and specials.

This example shows two things: 1) There’s an entire hot case full of ready-to-eat food right in front of you, and 2) You’ve just stood there and been engaged in their products for 15 seconds. Many retailers have taken this new approach to consumer engagement, from big-box chain stores to restaurants. Edutainment is here and it works.

As Millennials and Generation Z become a larger part of the economy, and Gen Xers become more interested in their family's nutritional consumption, educating these consumers about your products and why they should choose you is becoming more important. However, these consumers don’t just want a textbook definition of how the food was prepared; they have Siri and Google for that.

A 15-second, colorful visual explaining the process not only educates but grabs attention and entertains, too (hence the name edutainment).



2. Value Proposition

Another concept and approach to building brand engagement — consumer loyalty and trust — is not a new one at all. The Value Proposition is a term used to set apart your products and offerings versus those of competitors.

In business, you are either a “Price Point” destination or a “Value Proposition” destination.

Price Point Retailer:

  • Competes with lower margins and cost-cutting methods.
  • Usually a lower-quality product.
  • The customers you gain are always looking for the best deal and can be lost easily.
  • Shouldn’t always be the way of life for your location.

Strategically timed, aggressive offers do well to attract consumers who may have little interest in your location initially. A strong Value Proposition for your business can leverage the extra traffic from this offer to expose consumers to all you have to offer.

Value Proposition Retailer:

  • Higher quality food.
  • Higher consistency food.
  • Properly trained staff to communicate the value of your food to customers.
  • Customers see the higher quality and become loyal customers that are hard to lose.

Your staff needs to be professional, well-dressed and wear name tags to develop relationships with consumers. As representatives of your brand, the team needs to engage consumers, be friendly, make suggestions of what foods to try and describe why those suggestions are a great choice. They need to be brand champions for you, having tasted and tried all the food themselves.

This creates an opportunity to offer samples for the consumer to try these new, exciting foods. The ability to personally describe the quality, taste and freshness of your product adds to the value of visiting your store and making purchases. Those purchases can come at higher prices since the full value is so much more than what they expect to pay for your product.

3. Analysis

In the end, there are many avenues to advertise and market to consumers. Regardless of your chosen strategies, taking the time to measure and analyze the return is an important step in determining the overall success and impact those strategies have had on your business. Tracking coupon redemptions, direct mailer usage, social media boosted posts and sponsored ads are important.

When promotional strategies are in place, be sure all team members actively ask, What brought the customer in today? Many times, like with radio, there is not a tangible coupon to count or flyer to redeem.

In these cases, simply stating to the customer that you are curious what brought them in (so you know when certain marketing options are working better than others) is not only a helpful tracking method but creates conversation with your guest and feeds into the practice of engaging with consumers.

In part two of this blog series, we’ll be covering more about signs, social media and coupons.

Editor's Note: This blog has been updated for accuracy and content. It was originally published on January 23, 2017.

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