Photos by Josh Keown
October has been officially recognized as National Pizza Month. Since its inception in 1984, it has been briefly featured from time to time in the national media. Every year, Pizza Today gives it some ink. This year, I propose that our industry start a celebration and public relations blitz. If we don’t celebrate our industry, who will? I know we don’t need much prompting to start a party, so let’s see how we can make next month a winner.
October is a perfect month to jumpstart your PR and marketing strategy into high gear. Vacations are over, and school is back in session. The weather is cooler, and families have gotten over the cash fl ow crunch of the September “back to school blues” (which comes with outfitting all of the kids in new wardrobes, supplies, etc). I would propose that every pizzeria operator in the country get behind this awareness campaign. Your campaign could use the following tools to get the awareness out to your area:
• Get a banner made for the front of your store.
• Headline it on your next fl yer printing.
• Mention it on box toppers and door hangers.
• Change your marquee or changeable copy sign.
If you blend National Pizza Month with another event, like National Fire Prevention Month, it will gather more momentum. You will not get free public relations if the media or public thinks it is a ploy to sell more pizzas or advertising. Your celebration must include some benefit for the customer. If you don’t answer the question, “What’s in it for me?” it may be perceived as self-serving. Here are some ideas I’ve successfully used for awareness and sales builders.
• Team up with the local fi re department to do a smoke detector battery check and replacement check. This is so important for seniors because they are very afraid of climbing up on a step stool or chair to service a detector. Any fi re department worth their salt will jump at the chance of lending a hand. Just cross-promote the idea and offer to help fund the battery costs. This is a perfect cross promotion with a local insurance company.
• October was my anniversary month. All month long we held a weekly super deal and topped off the month with Customer Appreciation Night. This was by far the best single marketing event I ever did.
• You may want to tie the affair in with an employee bounce back certificate. During the month of October, employees hand out half off any large specialty pizza to lost and non customers. Add this disclaimer: “One certificate per person, valid only during October.” To finish off the month, organize a Halloween costume parade at your store. All dressed kids and chaperones get a free slice of pie from 6-7 pm. Would a few pieces of candy and a small gift certificate also be in order? Imagine if every single pizza place advertised National Pizza Month on a banner, poster, changeable copy sign, fl yer, box-topper or any other collateral piece for five weeks. The power of 70,000 establishments is a big number.
October is right around the corner. Make your place the talk of the town.
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