2009 June: Marketing Matters

2009 June: Marketing MattersMuscles produce force. Muscles create motion. Muscles incinerate fat. And therein lies a paradox. Most attempts at weight loss involve dieting instead of exercise. Successful, long-term fitness comes from working out, not from starving.

Dieting is the absolute worst thing you can do if you’re trying to lose weight. Starving yourself has the reverse effect by causing even more weight gain over time. That’s because severe dieting causes muscle mass to shrink. The less muscle you have, the less fat you’ll burn.

Do you realize that marketing is the only expense in your business capable of generating revenue? All other expenses are nothing but dead weight that is carried by the success of your marketing efforts. In your pizzeria, marketing is the muscle that burns the fat. Bottom line: it pays the bills.

While most pizzeria owners would love to have more money to spend on marketing, when cash fl ow dries up marketing is almost always the first expense on the chopping block.

In tough times, it’s tempting to cut back a little here and there. I get that. I also understand that rent, payroll and keeping the walk-in stocked are top priorities. That said, exercise extreme caution when turning a critical eye to your marketing budget. Your goal is to invest those dollars more efficiently, not to cut them. Ideally, we want to force each marketing dollar to do the work of 10.

Begin your belt-tightening by following these tips, that way you don’t feel the urge to slash your advertising:

? Cut wasteful advertising that does not produce more than it costs

? Use programmable thermostats

? Change the filters in your HVAC

? Trade pizza for window washing, bug spraying, etc.

? Clean your oven (you’re paying to heat everything in it — even the junk at the bottom)

? Clean the fins on your refrigeration compressor coils

? Measure and weigh your toppings

? Use only one small trash can in the kitchen (people throw away less when they have to keep hauling the bag to the dumpster)

? Look into a better rate on credit card processing

? Consider a prime vendor agreement with your distributor to bring overall food costs down.

Now, closely examine your results from mass marketing. Keep in mind that anything pulling a 2 percent response rate means you’ve wasted 98 percent of your money the minute you write the check.

Invest in marketing that targets your current customers. After all, they’re 700 percent more likely to order from you than a total stranger.

Also, you need to realize that simply generating one extra visit per month from a customer will have a profound impact on your profits. That’s because, other than food cost, that extra visit won’t cost you any more rent, payroll or fixed overhead. That extra visit is packed with profit.

It’s gut-check time. Look in the mirror and make a promise not to cut your marketing — because, if you do, you’ll trade a very brief reduction in spending for a long-term debt balloon. Cut the fat, not the muscle. ?

Kamron Karington owned a highly successful independent pizzeria before becoming a consultant, speaker and author of The Black Book: Your Complete Guide to Creating Staggering Profits in Your Pizza Business. He is a monthly contributor to Pizza Today.