2011 January: My Turn



My Turn



Basic is Best
BY DAN COLLIER // RUSTY’S PIZZA PARLOR,
VENTURA, CALIFORNIA

Every time I read about a great sports coach, the article indicates that in order to achieve excellence, the coach took the players ‘back to basics.’ Just like in sports, I believe pizza marketing has basics. My Back to Basics Program is exactly that: very basic. There are go-to marketing programs that have been successful for me over the past 25 years. These programs have helped me build pizza sales, and they continue to be successful today. Doorhanging is one of the basics that never lets me down.

A doorhanging program is the single most effective way to consistently market to non-customers. Of course, your regular customers will benefit as well. Like all blanket marketing, everyone gets one. On average, doorhangers yield a return of anywhere from 1 to 10 percent. Why such a wide range? Because it can be done right, and it can be done wrong. My goal is 10 percent, so let’s talk about how to do it right.

First, the doorhanger should be oversized. I’m talking a minimum of 4 inches wide by 14 inches tall. And use paper that is so bright you could see it from outer space. As for contest, the hanger should have your menu and at least 2 special offers. These offers should not limit the choices for the buyer. For example, a $15.99 Veggie Pizza eliminates all buyers who want meat. An oldie but goodie is $2 off any pizza. With that said, however, my favorite articles in Pizza Today have suggested never discounting, but always giving customers something for free when they buy a pizza at regular price. Examples include a free 2-liter soda or a free dessert.

We could spend all day talking about how not to distribute the doorhangers. Every not has one thing in common, though: a lack of supervision. I don’t care if you have kids from the local school, regular employees, or a hired company distributing your doorhangers … if you don’t supervise it, it’s going to be a train wreck.

I always make sure these standards are met:

  • Avoid properties with dogs outside
  • Carry water, not soda
  • It may seem obvious, but train them to look both ways when crossing the road
  • Do not slide the doorhanger down the screen door
  • One doorhanger per door— no cars or mailboxes (Post Office will fine you)
  • Strong wind or rain cancels doorhanging
  • Respect property — use walkways,;do not damage landscape
  • No Soliciting = no doorhanger
  • Avoid any ‘skip-list’ addresses (people who have complained)
  • Get permission from apartment managers who have been bribed with pizza

Doing this for 25 years has led me to utilize organizations that cater to people who are in some way developmentally challenged. I have met and worked with some of the friendliest and caring people from these organizations. People who don’t complain when they get their paycheck, but give me a high-five instead. People who take pride in their work.

Here is how I have done it: the organization provides, at no cost, a supervisor and gasoline for a team of 3-4 employees. My manager trains the supervisor and the employees. However, the supervisor reports directly to my manager, who checks on the supervisor every day by driving the area he or she has assigned. We doorhang Monday through Friday, two hours per day.

We consistently put out over 1000 doorhangers per week. We average a return of 70-100 orders … all 52 weeks of the year.

What would an additional 5,000 orders per year do to your bottom line?

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