“We just need more marketing.” It’s the classic line heard from restaurants that are on the verge of going out of business. Sad but true so, let’s look a little deeper.
As a chef, marketing was something that I loathed. Frankly, even the word “marketing” made my skin crawl. I thought it was for sellouts and a chef, from my training and at that time, meant that I stood on professional integrity and the quality of my work and that word of mouth would do the rest. In my mind, marketing was the antithesis of integrity and quality work.
Many years later, I entered grad school as a budding MBA with the same attitude and thoughts about marketing. I begrudgingly attended my first day of marketing 101 with rolling eyes and a curled upper lip. Much to my surprise, I was quite shocked to learn that marketing was in fact the strategic thought process of delivering the message and one’s product to potential consumers. Marketing wasn’t the problem, but rather my limited understanding of marketing. As it turns out marketing is far more complex and interesting than I had thought. . In fact it is part of one’s product.
I have now been a student of marketing for nearly a decade. I’ve learned from many, read a ton, and made a lot of mistakes. I’ve learned that marketing is complex and I’ll address each of the significant components of marketing in future posts in hopes of opening up the amazing mysterious world of marketing for you as well.
But for now, let’s just take a quick look at this idea of ‘We just need more marketing.’ Sadly my friends, most restaurateurs are like I was, and are not willing to take marketing seriously in the beginning to establish their business in the hearts and minds of potential customers, but seem to take it very seriously as a last ditch effort after years of uphill climb and struggle. If that’s the case, the hard simple truth is that it is too late. You simply cannot market your way out of a bad business situation. Marketing is so much more than a billboard or a flyer on a parking lots worth of windshields. True marketing is how we think about our business, how we talk about our business, what we believe about our business and most importantly how we go about conducting our business. Try those marketing 101 efforts long before you print new brightly colored flyers or rent a billboard.
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