Ask someone to explain marketing, and you'll often get what I call "word salad" - a bunch of polysyllabic buzzwords that when strung together are supposed to sound important. You'll nod your head in agreement because, hey, it sounded like a thoughtful answer. And this is why people often avoid marketing altogether: because they're often made to feel stupid. Yes, there are aspects of marketing that can get very complicated. Especially these days when most of our marketing is done online, it can feel like a foreign world. But for now, let's take baby steps by agreeing on a definition.
A SIMPLE DEFINITION:
Marketing is about creating a product, and then finding a market for that product.
A BETTER DEFINITION:
Marketing is about identifying a need in the market, and then creating a product to fill that need.
THE BEST DEFINITION:
In our ever-changing, modern world, marketing guru, Seth Godin, tells us that marketing is all about creating change. He asks: "Who do you seek to change, and what is the change you seek to make?"
We'll come back to Seth's idea of "creating change" down the line, but here's my little secret about restaurant marketing:
"Marketing the thing can't make up for the thing."
And by that I mean: If your restaurant is terrible, a marketing budget won't fix it. So make a remarkable product that people want. Even if it's just a pizza place, it needs to be the best it can be. Food, decor, service, cleanliness, attitude. It doesn't have to be fancy. But it has to be good.
Remember that the guest experience will always be the cheapest and most efficient marketing tool available to you. Somehow these people wandered in to your establishment... (think of all the effort you put in to getting people to just show up!)... now make them a repeat customer by providing an excellent experience. Impress them so much that they can't help but rave to their friends. Before you start pumping dollars into Google and Facebook Ads, make sure that each and every guest walking in the door tonight is blown away.
And that's the change we're seeking... turning a first-time diner into a regular... turning a doubter into an evangelist for your brand. It's a simple shift that when implemented will make all the difference.
Thoughts on the subject? Share below.