Since this month’s issue is about Social Media and Marketing I thought I should break out the article I wrote many years ago which has stood the test of time.
Whether you are a restaurant owner, a foodservice equipment dealer, a food broker or a manufacturer you can make more money by using the media skillfully. The media is a tool which if handled in the proper way can increase sales, increase your target market’s awareness of your product and lend credibility to your business.
When I had my equipment dealership on New York’s Bowery I advertised my company’s ability to deliver a job on time with the most economical prices in a trade newspaper. The ads were designed to show the public a satisfied customer each month selected from the jobs which we had completed. Photos of the proud new owner were taken in the new kitchen and the owner’s quote was below the photo. The title of the ad each month was “Another Opening By Appell Foodservice Equipment” I ran that ad campaign for at least two years.
What did this ad campaign do for my business? The message was delivered to any restaurant owner or owner to be, that we were the dealership who could deliver on time and do it within budget. In the ad we looked like General Motors!
Even with this success, I was not aware of how to fully use the media to increase my business. I never sent a press release to the newspaper that I was advertising in. Why? I didn’t fully understand the power of the press and the ways it can successfully help a business grow and create the image of a strong and profitable company.
Public Relations VS. Advertising According to public relations companies, PR firms are not usually involved in the design or placement of ads. They are responsible for the placement of stories in the media which show a company in a favorable light. Did your restaurant sponsor a charity event or give a free meal to any kid with straight A’s in school?. Did you celebrate your 10th anniversary by giving away free soda with every dinner? This type of information is needed by media outlets every day to fill their pages or air time. Send a press release to a newspaper telling them your story. “Don’t try to sell in the press release, just be informative. Include your name and telephone number in the release in case a follow up is needed by the editor.
“If you need help in writing the release and distribution, don’t just look in the yellow pages, ask around for a referral and use a PR firm that specializes in handling restaurants or foodservice clients.” Said Barry Epstein of Barry Epstein Associates, a Boca based PR firm.
Advertising is different from public relations in that you want to get a message to the public about a particular product or even a company with the results being a sale. Repeat customers are cultivated by advertising over a long period of time. Some studies have shown that it takes a reader at least 7 viewings of the same ad before it is fully read or understood. How many times have you been watching TV during the commercial break and see a piece of a commercial that attracts you?. You saw the ad, but you didn’t catch the company name. You have to wait for the ad to appear again to see it fully.
While an effective marketing effort involves much more than just advertising, it is nonetheless vital to a client’s success. In short, how can I beat a path to your door if I don’t know where your door is? Advertising as a marketing strategy is profoundly different from public relations. Advertising is a controlled “spin” on your business paid to (hopefully) speak to a targeted audience. Remember, in all advertising, your future customer tunes in to only one radio station, WII-FM (What’s In It For Me). If you don’t win their heart and head in your advertising, you lose.”
So often, when people look through Today’s Restaurant News in my presence, I hear the comment “Oh, I see “X” Company placed an ad this month” Invariably my response is that the ad has been running for several months. Longevity is a key to successful print advertising. Ad design and the need for the product are other elements to a winning campaign. Often an ad is designed and expectations are high for the phone to ring off the wall. Nothing happens. Why? Is the publication reaching the target audience? Is the ad beautiful but not carrying the right message? Is there a need for the product? Has the ad run only one time? Advertising expenditures must be judged in the same manner that mutual funds are evaluated, over time. Not everyone needs your product when you want to sell it. Timing is important. Advertising and Public Relations are essential elements to a successful business. If you use them, they will serve you well.