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Musings on the Foodservice Industry

Marketing: Like Pulling Teeth?

As I sat in the dentist’s chair numbed and waiting to have my teeth worked on, I wondered if all this pain and anxiety was worth it.

My dentist warned me that if I didn’t do the work, I might lose a tooth or two down the road.  That would be more costly and more debilitating.  I might even have trouble chewing my food and I love my food!

I, of course, listened to my dental practitioner, a wise and experienced professional whose job it was not to do surgery unless it was absolutely necessary.  He had, in the past, cautioned me that I had to maintain my dental hygiene in order to deter such dire actions.  I obviously wasn’t great at listening to his advice.

All of this made me think of the dozens of would-be clients to whom I have proposed marketing plans over the years.  I have had my share of success but am always baffled by those who not only turn me down but don’t even enact a workable marketing plan.

How, does dental work relate to marketing?

Without being trite, many businesses relate marketing to pulling teeth. They are only going to go for it if they absolutely have to. To them, it is a painful process that costs money, and they are skeptical about the return on investment.

In fact, marketing is perhaps the best preventative medicine a business can do so that they do not lose teeth…I mean money.

A long term, well-planned marketing program can not only strengthen one’s brand but ensure success down the road.  Consider marketing the “flossing” of your company’s brand integrity.  Regular, daily maintenance can save you lots of pain down the road.

So, like a good dentist/marketing man I suggest:

  1. Work with a professional marketing company or individual to create a plan that suits your business, its brand and its mission.
  2. Invest in your marketing plan as you would in inventory. A good rule of thumb is 5% of sales but this might vary depending upon the nature and age of your business. New businesses often spend more in the beginning.
  3. Don’t think of it is a necessary evil but as a necessary positive.pulling teeth
  4. Don’t be a streak “flosser.” Institute a regularly enforced plan that may include daily social media, monthly public relations, regular advertising and email blasts and traditional print collateral.
  5. Give back to the community. Attach yourself to a non-profit that matches your mission and passion.  Goodwill equates to good Karma and sales increases.
  6. Be prepared to market your products and services at trade shows and imbue your staff with your love and knowledge of your products.
  7. Meet with your professional regularly. Keep him/her in the loop about new developments.  Rely on your marketing people to advise you and be prepared to listen, learn and prosper.

Follow these steps and your mouth…I mean your business will thank you.

Rich Leivenberg – The Food Connector

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