February 9, 2016 |

Smash-Hit Marketing Strategies

By Pizza Expo


Christine Corelli

Christine Corelli Conference speaker and author

Forget tough! Competition in the pizzeria business has always been tough. But today competition is fierce.

Customers have an abundance of pizzerias to choose from. New competitors are emerging every day armed with great pizza recipes and sophisticated business plans. In this environment, even if you make the best pizza in the world and have an established, profitable business, applying marketing strategies that are far more creative than your competitors is not optional. It is critical to your success.

The Challenge for Independents

Large pizzeria chains have ad agencies and marketing departments that decide where to put their company’s marketing dollars and efforts. They do all the research, creative work and implementation of campaigns for them. This includes their social marketing. They have the know-how to make all of the many social marketing tools work together. But the independent pizzeria businesses owners I know who have one to five stores don’t have this luxury. Most must do it all on their own while running the business and serving customers. Others have hired an affordable professional to assist them. Either way, they want to do it right and see a big ROI on the time, energy and funds spent.

The Good News

Whether they’re handling their marketing on their own or have someone to assist them, there are independent pizzeria business owners and managers who are getting great results in their marketing endeavors. What are they doing? They are rethinking their branding and positioning, and they’re recognizing that advertising is a key component of marketing. They are upping the “Wow” factor on their websites.

Their social marketing savvy is allowing them to send campaigns to customers for a fraction of what it cost just 10 years ago. They are using text-marketing services that enable them to send campaigns in an instant. Some are even working hard to establish a “personal brand” and obtaining free publicity. Others are “partnering for profit” with local businesses. All of these efforts are helping them see a big difference in their bottom line.

What, Exactly, Are They Doing?

Are you eager to know what, exactly, these smart independents are doing? Want specific examples and real world case studies? There’s nothing I’d love more than to share them with you, and I will — at Pizza Expo in Las Vegas. For now, here’s one real-world example of a smart marketing campaign.

A pizzeria and bistro located in a near-north suburb of Chicago is known for its authentic Sicilian brick-oven pizza. Everyone loves it. The business is thriving.

They’ve always done a great job of marketing and advertising and are consistently coming up with new campaigns. They also are willing to take a risk. Here’s one they decided to try. They offered an Elegant Express Meal that feeds four and includes:

  • One 12-inch Margherita pizza
  • Bruschetta
  • 1 whole roasted chicken
  • Pasta with vodka sauce

The price was $24.99 for a meal that feeds four. They keep it simple. There are no substitutions. They deliver locally for just $3 more. What a great deal for such great food!

The Strategy

The owner predicted that many people would be ordering these Elegant Express dinners to serve to their guests, and he was right. When their guests raved about the great pizza and food and asked their hosts where they ordered it from, the hosts told them about the pizzeria and its ambience, the great deal and the excellent fast service.

The Result

Today, on any given evening, you can see people coming in to pick up their dinners at the counter. You can see the brick oven filled to capacity with pizzas coming in and going out. You can see the chef (who is also the owner) supervising the assembly line for preparation, cooking and packaging. Better yet, his cost for bread, tomatoes, chicken and pasta leave room for profit. There are two more things you can see:  the hostess seating people and a line outside the door of customers who are willing to wait. They do a huge volume of pizza pick-up and delivery orders, many of them Elegant Express Dinner orders.

An Even Better Result

The restaurant’s manager and marketing manager told me it’s the best thing they’ve ever done. Word-of-mouth advertising and the marketing campaigns on this package deal have generated new customers and impacted their bottom line. And that’s what I call a smash hit!

During my two sessions on March 8 at Pizza Expo — Branding That Impacts Your Bottom Line and Smash-Hit Marketing Campaigns — I will tell you who this owner is and what he is doing to create a personal brand. I’ll discuss other smart marketing campaigns and events. And I will provide you with real-world examples of ideas for impactful marketing, including:

  • How to establish a business brand that creates a buzz
  • Marketing musts for pizzeria businesses
  • Marketing campaigns that create bottom-line results
  • How to establish strategic partnerships and “advocate systems” that do your marketing and advertising for you

Christine Corelli is a conference speaker and author of five business books, including the top-seller “Wake Up and Smell the Competition.” She will present her marketing and branding seminars on Tuesday morning and afternoon, March 8, at Pizza Expo.

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