Marketing

Bringing the Diners Back

Bringing the Diners Back

Restaurant Hospitality recently listed some of the tactics that big casual dining chains are employing to try to lure diners back to their restaurants after suffering a poor 3rd quarter showing. Consensus seems to be that same store sales have slowed down due to economic conditions, an increase in the number of casual dining restaurants and a shift of consumers to a relatively new category of food service called fast casual. Fast casual is quicker than full sit down service and higher quality than basic fast food. Big chain solutions?

Reduce Prices--Applebee's has got a dinner combo including dessert for $9.99, TGI Friday's has got appetizers discounted up to 50%, Cheesecake factory has reduced portion and prices significantly on lunches, and Outback has reduced steaks by $1.

New Menu Items--Applebee's is going to try out star power by teaming with Tyler Florence from Food Network, 23 new items on TGI Friday's menu, and Cheesecake factory has 16 new items on the menu.

Seems like nothing more than the obvious to me. Any time sales go the wrong direction the knee-jerk reaction is to reduce prices and add features. Eventually that strategy is not going work. Great news for those of us that aren't big chains, but it is going to take some effort. The Restaurant Hospitality article notes:


you may have to fight to keep the business you've got, but it's still there to be gotten.

So how do you fight? Here are a few thoughts:

  1. Get in touch with your customers. Walking around asking them how their meal was is great, but what happens when they walk out the door? Do you have a way to stay in touch with them? Start gathering email addresses and stay in touch regularly with your loyal clientele.
  2. Ask your customers for feedback. Hopefully you didn't wait till sales dropped to realize that your customers want a high quality food faster. Is there someway you can meet that need for them? What else do your customers want? You should be closer to your customers than the big guys and able to move faster.
  3. Get your word-of-mouth on! The best way to "fight" for more business is to develop a force of loyal customers that are actively telling their friends and associates what a great restaurant you run. Don't leave it to chance, get a program in place that makes it easy for your customers to spread the word.

Word of mouth fills seats, now is the time to get started.

Customers who feel that you are listening to them are more likely to recommend you to a friend. How do your customers know that you are listening? Learn more

Carnival of Marketing August 13, 2006

Carnival of Marketing August 13, 2006

Welcome to the August 13, 2006 edition of the Carnival of Marketing. Summer is winding to a close, kids are heading back to school, and it's time to take down the big top and move this carnival elsewhere. For our last carnival hosting this summer, Seeds of Growth is please to present the following "big ring" attractions.

Daniel Scocco discusses the evolution of advertising and what will make the next great advancement to aid both consumers and retailers in Intelligent, Interactive and Converged Advertising posted at Innovation Zen.

Wow! Lot's of neuroscience info from NeuroGuy who presents Why Negative Ads Work: Framing, Emotions, and Irrational Decisions posted at Neuromarketing, saying, "Brain-scan proof that emotions affect everyone's buying decisions."

With a nice comparison Kevin Hillstrom presents Branding verses Selling: Gap vs. Zappos posted at Kevin Hillstrom.

Mr. Spock would be good at business due to his purely logical decision making. Well, David Maister doesn't talk about Spock, but he does present How We Really Make Decisions posted at Passion, People and Principles.

Imani Peterson does a product review in Professional Logo Designing Made Easy posted at AmericanInventorSpot.com.

Writing to real estate agents, Jim Cronin presents Your Company Provided Website Is A Waste posted at The Real Estate Tomato.

Some companies need to grow, some just need to grow up. Benjamin Yoskovitz presents Companies That Act Like 2-Year Olds Need to Grow Up posted at I Got News For You.

I have been a PalmOS fan so this discussion of a public relations stunt by a Palm OS developer was interesting. Tam Hanna presents Dmitry Grinberg evaluating PocketPC? so what? posted at TamsPalm-the Palm OS Blog.

Thinking that marketing materials, including blogs, should be readable, cehwiedel presents Readability as an Online Marketing Tool posted at Kicking Over My Traces.

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of Carnival of Marketing using our carnival submission form.
Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

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More happy customers. More repeat sales. More referrals. Learn more

Is Your Marketing Self-Perpetuating?

Is Your Marketing Self-Perpetuating?

As I've thought more about guerilla advertising and how it differs from quality customer engagement that turns customers into promoters, it occurs to me that the key difference is self-perpetuation, or the lack thereof.

The goal of both efforts is to get people talking to their friends or colleagues about your business--to create buzz. But guerilla advertising is based on a staged event or gimmick that may not even be related to the business. Yes, it creates buzz, but that buzz will wear off and then all you are left with is the headache of trying to come up with the next gimmick.

Turning your customers into promoters through quality customer engagement is different. It may not get as big of an initial buzz, but it grows naturally and is self-perpetuating. People end up talking not about your gimmick, but about how remarkable your product or service is. They plant seeds in the minds of their friends that produce additional seeds as those friends give your business a try and spread the seeds to their friends and so on and so on and so on.

Self-perpetuating word of mouth--start planting the seeds.

Find your happy customers and put a megaphone in their hand. Learn more

Carnival of Marketing - August 6, 2006

Carnival of Marketing - August 6, 2006

Welcome to the August 6, 2006 edition of carnival of marketing.

Mini Singh presents CRM Lowdown: The Positive Side of Negative Feedback posted at CRM Lowdown, saying, "This post explores the positive aspects of negative customer feedback." If you think no news is good news you need to check this out. Bad news will be shared, if not with you then with others, wouldn't you rather know and be able to address it?

Nick Tritt presents Listing Title Search Tags posted at Power Selling on eBay. Some of the principles that apply to ebay listings also apply to web sites seeking to be found. Are you helping your site to be found?

Jim Logan presents More On The Danger Of Being A Duck posted at Jim Logan, saying, "One of the fears of focusing on a niche is missing what’s believed to be the larger market. So, the temptation and result is to be a duck. But there are few decathlons in business."

Tam Hanna presents On the power of stereotypes posted at TamsPalm-the Palm OS Blog, saying, "Did you ever think about how stereotypes affect your business?" Tam Hanna explores how they can be beneficial.

Nedra Weinreich presents The Insider's Guide to Writing a Winning Proposal posted at Spare Change, saying, "I have a secret I'm going to share with you..." Nedra's recent experience on a grant review panel allows her to share some tips on how to respond to those RFPs.

cehwiedel presents Change This posted at Kicking Over My Traces, saying, "Online marketing through a Change This, which may not be "the oldest
established permanent floating crap game in New York" but is a permanent blog
carnival without a set topic."

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of carnival of marketing using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

We'll see you next week right here.

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The Happiest customers tell on average 8 other people. Who are your happiest customers? Promoterz knows. Learn more

The Power of the Talking Bubble

The Power of the Talking Bubble

Remember the talking bubble from the cartoons? It occurs to me that there is a lot of power in that bubble. In fact, the whole intent of word-of-mouth efforts is to get your business in your customer's bubble.

How much money do we as business owners spend getting our ads up in lights, in a magazine, on TV, or online? Fact is, consumers are more jaded than ever and better at ignoring all that expensive advertising.

The real power is not up on the billboards or on the airwaves. The real power is in the bubble.

Do you remember your customers on their birthday? On their anniversary? Do you give special notice to recently acquired customers? Promoterz does. Learn more
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