Canadian Pizza Magazine

Marketing Insights: The Movable Feast

Michelle Brisebois   

Features Business and Operations Marketing

The Movable Feast

You probably see the same faces in your operation on a
regular basis. These are the faces of customers who live close by and
make your business a regular part of their routine.

You probably see the same faces in your operation on a regular basis. These are the faces of customers who live close by and make your business a regular part of their routine. A family purchasing $25 worth of product from your operation on a weekly basis will generate $1,300 worth of gross revenue per year. Ten families would logically generate $13,000. Life is beautiful as long as these ten families continue to frequent your establishment.

But what happens if they move away? 

Statistically, about 20 per cent of your neighbourhood will turn over every year, and in our example above, that’s two families or $2,600 gross revenue lost. As people move in, you’re starting from square one all over again with new faces. With a very active real estate market currently bubbling in Canada, a strategy for marketing to newcomers is an important piece of any retail plan.


The turnover rate of your target market will depend on the type of community you’re targeting. If you cater to college and university students, then you know you have pretty much a two-to-four year relationship ahead of you before they graduate and move on.

The yearly turnover rate in this case is probably almost 50 per cent in some areas, but what works in your favour in terms of recruiting newcomers is the close-knit nature of this community.

If your target market is populated by many high rise apartments and lower end housing, Statistics Canada reports that turnover in these markets can be as high as 33 per cent per year. This turnover rate is due to the fact that many people in transition, such as new immigrants or younger consumers, will reside in these locations for a short time before settling in a more permanent location.

The last few years have seen very low interest rates entice many people to trade up to larger homes so turnover in most areas of Canada has been fairly brisk. This means each year your business will be starting fresh with a new crop of consumers. A robust customer acquisition strategy is imperative to your success. It starts with understanding the newcomer frame of mind.

Newcomers to a neighbourhood will be immersed in change. They’ll be changing doctors, dentists, grocery stores and favourite eateries. This transition period will likely make them more receptive to new experiences so, it’s prime time to encourage them to try your products and win their hearts and taste buds.

Pizza is a classic comfort food and the perfect entrée to make one feel at home. Once your business becomes a firm favourite, you’ll have replaced that customer you lost to a move away from your market. The trick is to target these newcomers with the right message at the right time.

Few people have working ovens on moving day or even for a few days after closing. Consider the introduction of a “moving day special” at a very attractive price. Bundle the pizza, drinks, paper plates (the good dishes are probably buried in some box), plastic cutlery and some raw vegetables if you carry them. Promote this offering in the real estate advertisers.

Placement costs for this type of publication are usually very reasonable and what better place to target someone moving? You may want them to pre-order with a credit card (to be charged the day of the move) so that your newcomers don’t have to stop their unpacking to find the phone book and call to order. The pizza will simply show up at the appointed time.

Another conduit to relocating consumers is the real estate agent. Find out who the top agents are in your market. Often certain agents will focus on one geographical area so they’ll have several listings in a certain neighbourhood.

Give the agent a coupon for a complimentary pizza. Real estate agents won’t want to recommend something to their clients they haven’t tried, so get them on board and familiar with your business. Let these agents know about your “moving day special.”

Some good agents (depending on how lucrative their market is) will want to congratulate their buyers by treating them to a nice hot meal so they may wish to pay for it as a house warming gift. It’s one less thing the newcomers will have to think about and it’ll leave a great impression of the agent. Real estate agents rely on repeat business and word of mouth, so this type of “delighter” will be a great business development tool for them.

Another key touch point for newcomers will be the local schools. Starting a new school can be daunting for kids. What better way to ease the transition than to supply the pizza for a class party welcoming new children to the school? The parents of that new child will be grateful for the gesture and the parents of the other kids will be thrilled they don’t have to pack a lunch that day.

Marketing really boils down to two simple objectives: customer acquisition (convincing new customers to try your product) and customer retention (selling more products to current customers). We must always keep both of these objectives in balance – if we focus only on new patrons, we’ll risk alienating the current customer base. If we ignore recruiting new customers, our business won’t grow.  

Fresh faces in the neighbourhood are a great business development opportunity and welcoming them with food is an age-old tradition. After all, a house just isn’t a home until you’ve christened it with pizza.•

To locate a real estate agent near you, visit or call:
The Canadian Real Estate Association: • 613-234-2567

Yukon Real Estate Association: • 867-633-4290

British Columbia Real Estate Association: • 604-683-7702

Alberta Real Estate Association: • 800-661-0231   

Manitoba Real Estate Association: • 800-267-6019

Association of Saskatchewan Realtors: • 877-306-7732

Ontario Real Estate Association: • 416-445-9910

Quebec Federation of Real Estate Boards: • 514- 762-0212

New Brunswick Real Estate Association: • 800-762-1677

Nova Scotia Association of Realtors: • 902-468-2515

Prince Edward Island Real Estate Association: • 902-368-8451

The Newfoundland & Labrador  Association of Realtors: • 709-726-5110


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