Marketing is one of the most fun things you can do in business. Besides cooking, this is where you get to be the most creative. Marketing has seen many forms over the years from magazine ads to television commercials. Driving down the highway and you still see businesses investing in billboards which at one time, were all the rage. Then there’s the kid on the street corner twirling a sign drawing your attention then pointing the way to the phone store or pizza shop. No idea is ever immediately marked off the list of things to try when it comes to marketing a product.
Back in the day the encyclopedias were sold door to door because someone at some point thought this was a great way to market a product. If you’ve ever watched The Founder then you will get the idea of marketing. This is a movie about how Ray Kroc got McDonalds and the marketing strategies he had used over the years. As a kid I had a job at a local pizzeria and my job was to hand out fliers. We walked through the neighborhood placing them on screen doors then off to the local shopping center to secure them under the windshield wipers of cars. Marketing has seen many shapes and sizes, but it was always trying to be creative.
Word of Mouth
I was always told the best form of marketing is word of mouth and even in today’s technological age, this holds true. We see the advertisements on television and read them in the magazines while we wait for an oil change, but neither is as effective as someone telling you about a place. Every advertisement is trying to speak to you about the goodness of this or that product so you will get it the next time you get on Amazon or head to the mall. However, if you’re like me, unless it is really creative, you turn the page, channel surf, or fast forward to get past it.
Now switch gears to the new restaurant you recently tried. Most of us try it because someone whom we trust told us about it and when we were in the mood to try a new place, then off we went. This happened to me a while back when my daughter was telling me about a great little bistro looking place which served brunch style food all day. We finally went and the food was so good, I was compelled to speak with the manager/owner about how great this place was from the décor all the way to the food. Even today, word of mouth gets it done for marketing.
Social Media
This is still so new for us all. The old guard who still out there designing magazine adds, sometimes balk at this new form of advertisement, but it’s getting to the point now they can’t ignore it. If you are in business these days, the new generation of consumers will check social media when looking up a business. If you do not have a Facebook or an Instagram, then you can write off getting their patronage, because this is their first stop. This is how they look at you with their hand-held computer we call a phone. They look here to see if your business or product looks appealing, what other say about it and if it just catches their eye. I have to admit this isn’t just an attribute of the younger generation, I often turn to social to find what I want to know about a business.
Top social media apps you need is Facebook, Instagram and TikTok. If your business is also business to business, then you also need a Linked-In (which I recommend you have regardless). Your everyday consumer may not look at Linked-In but they will look at the others. They will research your social footprint to find out how relevant you are in today’s digital age. Instagram is where you can place some awesome photos of your food while Facebook allows you to have direct communication with their customers if they choose. TikTok is just a whole different kind of 15 to 60 second videos which have the reputation of being fun dance and music videos. However, the “How To’s” instructional videos are quickly moving into the most popular category.
How many reading this remembers the “Mean” Joe Green Coke commercial where a kid offers him a drink and the massive football player repays the gesture with his Steelers jersey. Coke sales skyrocketed during this time because Mean Joe, as a Super Bowl champ, had great influence on the consumers. To be balanced in this article the same could be said when the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, promoted Pepsi. Once again sales rose for this company because Michael drank it, we wanted to drink it. The term for them back in those days were “spokespeople.” We didn’t have the word “influencer” for this yet but we sure do so now and it isn’t reserved for the celebrities.
The goal of every business is to get their products into the hands of the everyday person. For instance, charcoal companies aren’t staying in business just to supply some pro cooks but they will supply them because the everyday cook, the backyarder, will look to these cooks as influencers. Companies today hire these type people because they are well known in their niche or have a considerable amount of social media following. When this happens those many backyard cooks use what they use so they can cook like them.
Marketing today has changed the way it looks but the core of it is still the same.