If you are in the food service business, bringing in new customers is a continuous need. Once they find you, your ability to keep customers thinking about your business and keep them coming back is dependent on how well you treat them.
Every single visit presents another opportunity for you to win a customer over (or lose their business). Hopefully, they’ll be back. Hopefully, they’ll tell their friends about their great experience. Hopefully, they’ll leave you a great review on Yelp. But, unless you are a monopoly, it’s unlikely that your business can survive on “word of mouth” alone.
Enter marketing. You need to consistently remind prior and potential customers about who you are and what makes you better. Let them know what you have to offer. Or trigger the memory of their last Great Harvest experience.
All too often, I come across the belief that once a bakery cafe owner has invested in building awareness and understanding of what makes them special, that they can check it off their list, and they are done with their marketing investment.
“There. Checked that Box.” Doesn’t Work for Marketing
Marketing is not a special event that occurs at one point in time. If you want continuous growth, then it is an investment you need to keep on making — and it will keep on giving. Investing in one flight of advertising on radio, or running an occasional newspaper ad and expecting dramatic and continuous growth is like going on a crash diet. It may work short term, but you are going to drift back to the norm.
Think about the past day. Right now, how many ads do you remember hearing or seeing? Go ahead, name them. If you can name three, you are doing well. For the sake of argument and easy math – let’s say you were exposed to 100 ads over the past day. That’s 97% that you “missed.” So, assuming all ads are equally remembered, you’d have to run an ad a day for a whole month just to be remembered once!
Fortunately, advertising works better than that example. In my past, we always worked to achieve reaching fifty percent of our target audience an average of three or more times over the course of four weeks to be effective. Well numbers, ratings, and proven recall studies will tell you how much you need to buy in a certain media to be effective.
Marketing Requires an Ongoing Investment
At Great Harvest, now with both radio campaigns and digital campaigns we have proven evidence of what it takes to be effective, and the range of investment it takes to generate a positive ROI. That is powerful information that we can use to help bakery cafe owners grow their business.
Just keep in mind, if you want to grow you have to keep watering the plants! I have just as much evidence now that shows when you stop the marketing investment, the growth path reverses, and you drift back to the norm. Scary how that happens. . .
What’s even scarier is that this is what I hypothesized we would see, and it is proving to be exactly right.
See examples of our marketing support for franchise owners:
More thoughts on marketing from Eric Keshin: