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Appell Pie
Today's Restaurant Internet Exclusive
Monday, 25 November 2013 00:00

Wrap with a bow

Appell HPOver the passed few months my columns have been about Marketing including Public Relations and Advertising. In this column I thought I could wrap it up with the subject of Customer Selection.

I was reading an article by Rob "Spider" Graham who is the founder and CEO of Trainingcraft, a provider of digital advertising, marketing and sales consulting and training solutions. He outlined five steps to identifying your ideal customer and I will attempt to tailor his steps to our Food Service industry.

Step 1: Acknowledge that you have a specific target audience

If you are planning to open a specific type of restaurant/business you need to know that your target audience is near the location you are contemplating. For example if you want to attract the 21-39 age group to a casual dining concept you don’t want to open in a warehouse district with no dinner traffic possible. Identify your target audience and don’t assume those out of range will come too.

Step 2: Determine what criteria you intend to use to identify the consumers you most wish to reach

Do the research to identify your target audience and the ways to reach that market. Know that customers of a certain age, location, gender are indeed potential customers for your product. Once you determine the right demographic you need to decide on the proper method to reach them. For example if you are a wholesale produce company and your customers are retail produce markets, taking a billboard on I-95 will not reach the proper buyer with your company message. That same wholesale Produce Company would be better served by advertising in a trade publication read by his customers. Make sure your message is one your audience will be receptive to.

Step 3: Identify what your customers and prospects want most from you

Have you ever watched the Shark Tank? Every entrepreneur thinks his or her product and concept is a ‘no miss’ winner of an idea. I would be wealthy if I had a dollar for every time I heard a new restaurant owner tell me they were going to be the next McDonald’s. Don’t get me wrong, any businessperson should be thinking that way but take your self out of the picture and look in to your idea with the eyes of your potential customer. If red shoes are the rage today why are you trying to sell blue shoes now? Distinguish your company from the others by showing how you can meet the needs of your customers and at the same time work on the weaknesses of your own company to make it stronger and more realistic.

Step 4: Identify the best channels to use to communicate with these people

Here is where Advertising becomes important. What method should you use to reach your target market?  Print ads, Eblasts, online ads, social media, text messages, apps, TV, radio, and many more that have not been invented yet are available to you if you can sort through them and determine which combination is right for your company.  I think the choices are so numerous that listing them and applying a number from one to five for each one of their qualities will display the direction to take and the products to use most effectively. Of course your advertising budget has to be adequate to buy these options but if you don’t have an advertising budget, especially for a new business, you won’t have an old business.

Step 5: Measure campaign results to determine if you actually did reach the right people!

Now you need to measure the results of all your hard choices. Results are initially measured in sales but a business is an ever-changing organism and new choices and decisions have to be made on a regular basis. A fast start does not insure longevity. Remember to market your business using all available means and methods and be able to change at a moment’s notice and adapt to the conditions presented to you. Publicize, Advertise and Profitize.

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