Target The Pain
“I don’t need more customers on Friday and Saturday evenings, I need them Monday through Thursday – especially at lunch. How do we make that happen?”
Find the need, find the pain --- study it, and then use your collective resources to serve your customer’s need(s)…….This is truly the best of times….if you’re in the printing business, and you have smart, ambitious Sales Reps --- and owners.
Quick background is that in the coming years, taxes are going up on individuals, and discretionary income is expected to take “a big hit in the gut”.
If you’re in the restaurant business, you’ll do almost anything legal and respectful to get folks in the door. Competition is tough, and expected to get much tougher next year. The last five years have been torture. The next few years --- especially for the restaurant business --- are expected to be --- well, it’s hard to imagine how bad it could be.
Resources to study:
RefUSA --- which tells us that there are over 16.2 million restaurants in the U.S. --- with revenues that exceed $1,000,000 a year. (Hard to believe, isn’t it.) We also learn that there are over 11,000 restaurants with revenues that exceed $5 million a year! With an experienced librarian, you can identify the restaurants, their owners and contact information --- that are within 30-50 miles (or really any zip code) of your plant or office.
www.franchise.org --- the International Franchise Association - a membership organization of franchisors, franchisees and suppliers. This site provides members and guests with a one-stop shopping experience for franchise information.
www.restaurant.org --- website of the National Restaurant Association.America's restaurants employ nearly one in 10 Americans.
www.PrintInTheMix --- has numerous research studies showing how cross-media and multi-media programs that are grounded in print products --- outperform almost all other forms of promotion. Read them. Use them. Be shameless.
A Few Strategy Options:
1. Do your homework --- take some time to examine your choices. Work to match-up the customer with your company’s culture. For instance, if your company has a high-end culture, pursue the top-end targets. If direct mail and mailing are part of your specializations, research the chains and franchisee owners in your area.
2. If you pursue a chain or franchisee with a string of locations, brainstorm your questions, and then go and personally talk to location managers to learn: (a) what they are doing now, (b) what they wish they were doing, but aren’t, and (c) ambitions and value-system of the owners and/or senior management. Have one or several of them get you an appointment at the top. Get an invitation to attend their franchisee council.
3. Look for opportunities to “cross-sell” cross-media programs --- that can be tested economically. Examples include local beverage companies, and entertainment events --- from athletic arenas to theaters and concerts.
4. Distribution is always a key. Don’t forget EDDM from the USPS --- which lets you target geographical zip codes, which can be used to target preferred economic profiles. (A client this week worked on a program that included 2.5 million direct mail postcards --- that are expected to repeat --- to be distributed from over 20 USPS locations.)
5. Results measured can include: (a) new customers that have never before come-in, (b) what else was bought --- beyond the promotion (representing additional full-price income!), and (c) repeat business that’s developed as a result of the promotion.
6. Don’t forget that your restaurant customer has periods (times of day, days of the week, days of the month) that are painfully slow. In effect, they’re giving away food in these periods, because their fixed costs didn’t stop. So get aggressive, offer discounts and bonuses to folks who come-in during these periods. When you charge and collect anything more than your marginal costs of the product or service you’re selling, you’re improving your customer’s bottom line.
7. Don’t hesitate to use research from PrintInTheMix to educate your target decision-makers. Test your program. Refine it. And become a real business partner with your customer.
It’s past time we acted like real partners with our customers. We need to understand our customer’s business, and how to use our collective resources to improve their business performance.
The days of “returning a quote to get an order” --- have little future. Our customers expect more, and they should.
This is truly the best of times…!