Instincts are invaluable, but it’s good to remember that marketing is a practice based on solid theory as well. Understanding this theory and applying it strategically can help you gain new customers, increase revenue and build profit. The “Four P’s” of marketing remains one of the most reliable tools through which we can pull certain levers to stoke the flames of success.
But in a digital world do those principles still ring true?
The obvious products are your menu items but services count here too. The style, quality and attributes that make it unique are all aspects of the product offering. A product that lacks quality or a unique point of difference is vulnerable to competitive threat. Are you investing in innovation? Do you have written quality standards? Is what you offer truly unique? By continuously asking and addressing these questions, you will shore up your product offering.
Product attributes need to be honed for digital exposure. Do you have great photos? Not just good photos but great, gorgeous enticing, I-want-it-right-NOW photos? Are the product descriptions so tempting they make the mouth water? Is your website mobile-friendly to ensure it can be easily viewed on all handheld devices? Remember: Amazon’s profit is driven largely by its cloud services, so consider adding downloadable content to your product offering that you could charge for, such as an online
Too often, price is the default lever business owners go to if they aren’t comfortable with other marketing strategies. The right price is the highest one you can charge that customers will be willing to pay and feel they’ve received good value for money. Pulling on the price lever too often results in a “race to the bottom” leaving little margin in which the business can operate. Promotional pricing is an effective tool to attract customers or highlight certain products, but don’t discount too frequently or customers will become trained to wait for the sale and your margins will be eroded. Check on your competitors often to ensure your prices are in the right zone.
Digital tools have given the consumer a lot of pricing power. It’s so easy for them to check prices on the fly and compare your offering to others nearby. These tools also allow you to provide digital coupons pushed directly to customers’ computers or smartphones. You’ll save on the printing costs and make it easier for customers to redeem them because they won’t have to bring a paper coupon from home.
This is where your product can be obtained and how easy it is to find. For food service, “place” is an expanding part of the marketing mix. The traditional place to find your products is likely your bricks-and-mortar restaurant, and if you have delivery it can be at the customer’s door. That’s assuming your bricks-and-mortar location was established in an area with market potential surrounding it: is that still the case? Has the neighbourhood changed in the years you’ve been in business? Those young families who ordered pizza every Friday night may now be empty nesters interested in artisan cuisine; if so, you’ll need to revisit “product” perhaps by offering smaller portions and more upscale ingredients.
Digitally speaking, your place will be your website, online store or other digital tools like UberEats. Making it easy for customers to find you online will soon be paramount. Google often changes its algorithms to favour websites with characteristics it wants to reward. Responsive websites and sites with high content engagement are examples of two attributes Google will reward you for having. Online ordering of food is predicted to overtake traditional walk-in or phone ordering by 2022 so restaurateurs should not neglect their websites and online presence.
Promotion is all about getting the word out through advertising, signage, banners and word of mouth. These activities require you to invest time, money and creativity to make people aware of your brand. Make sure you audit your promotional activities regularly to look at your spend versus your return on that spend. Who are you targeting? If your target market has shifted to become empty nesters, you may need to shift from coupons and sponsoring little league to a direct mail offer of your new, smaller artisan pizza.
The challenge with promotion in the digital space is that the time in which to make an impression is much shorter. If you engage in email marketing, Facebook ads or promotional updates via Twitter, it’s important to analyze your open rates, conversion rates, engagement (likes, comments, shares) and to test different offers and wording.
The 4 Ps of marketing . . . 2.0: Marketing Insights
The 4 Ps of marketing . . . 2.0
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November 14-18, 2017
Canadian Food & Drink Summit 2017
December 5-6, 2017
Food & Drink Summit
December 5-6, 2017
International Pizza Expo
March 20-22, 2018
SIAL Canada and SET Canada Trade Show
May 2-4, 2018