One of the key ingredients of our success has nothing to do with flour, sugar, butter or cinnamon. Nor does it have anything to do with our beautiful packaging or our passionate approach to serving our clients and guests. It does however, have everything to do with marketing.
There are so many ways to get the word out, choosing what form of media to use often seems overwhelming. To add to the confusion, most entrepreneurs are understandably, so focused on the care and development of their product that marketing is usually a second thought. Since marketing is often out of their comfort zone it often ends up playing second fiddle to everything else.
In addition, most entrepreneurs mistake marketing for advertising. They don’t understand that telling the world about their product is just one aspect of marketing. Marketing does include advertising, but for a new business especially, it also includes positioning. An existing business that has established its position in the market, can focus primarily on advertising their product. A new business must first tell their target market who they are, what they stand for and most importantly, what their clients can expect of them. In short they must define their position in the world.
From the beginning, we knew we had the finest crumb cakes in the world and with the opening of our first European Bistro in 2012, the most delectable european breakfast/brunch dishes this side of the pond, but we also understood that no one else knew that. We also knew, what we stood for, who we were, and to us, what we stood for was inescapably joined with our offerings.
When it comes to marketing, most small businesses tend to think small. Advertising in the local newspaper, coffee table TV guide or door-to-door hand-outs are usually the norm. However, the “norm” is exactly what you don’t want to do if you want to be successful. If you want to grow big, you need to think big.
We wanted our offerings to make a difference, not only for our clients and guests but also for those who work so hard on the farm, ranch and plantation. We wanted to have an effect on not only our own carbon footprint but also on how others affect the world we live in. If we were going to do our small part to change the world, we had to grow big enough to make a difference.
With that in mind, we took a different, non-traditional route. We chose to do NO advertising. Although, not the norm, we believe that it’s better to have a happy client/guest tell someone about us than to have us tell someone about us. Don’t get us wrong, we may not have advertised in the traditional sense, but we did get the word out. We just used another form to get to our target market and that form of advertising is called “pr”.
Pr is ideal for painting a picture about your company and it’s products. In most cases, if done properly, it has the credibility of having someone else talk about you. But, in order to have an effective pr program, you must have a story to tell. If your story is newsworthy, it will be picked up by the media and by grassroots organizations and individuals and be told over and over.
Most companies operate under the premise that a “better” product or “cheaper” price are the best motivators to get potential clients to follow them. We felt that, because it is used so frequently (doesn’t everyone say they have a “better” product), following this path results in a “so what” consumer reaction.
Because we will never cheapen the quality of our offerings, to sell at a “cheaper” price than the competition, this strategy not an option for us. In addition, pr on price or quality is old school and almost never newsworthy. It’s our belief that in order to create an effective pr program, you must have a story that the media wants to tell because the public will find it interesting enough to read.
There are stories in every company. You just need to know where to find them. We were fortunate to have the history of our four-hundred year old family crumb cake recipe as the foundation for the “Crumbzz Story”. But we didn’t stop there. Because we travel across the world for the finest ingredients, we knew that would also make an interesting story. If you follow us, you know we are very green minded. Three percent of our profits go into our non-profit Crumbzz Green Foundation and we actively promote sustainable farming, fair trade and eco-friendly operations. All of those are story lines, in and of themselves. In addition, we continue to be interviewed on the opening of our first European Bistro. Why? Because in choosing a small town with little or no discernible business activity, we helped bring life back to their historic downtown area. Even bringing dishes from across Europe back to our European Bistro continues to be newsworthy.
We don’t just wait for the media to find us. We continually send out press releases on anything we think will be of interest to readers, including, new product offerings, patio openings, new restaurants and specialty stores that carry our cakes, to list just a few. We even made an event out of the addition of a giant rain barrel to water our plants,
Two caveats; ONE: We never try to sell anything in a pr piece. We do however, believe that everything, if positioned correctly, is newsworthy. For it to be successful, it MUST be newsworthy. We look at every pr piece and ask ourselves, would someone find this interesting? Would they like to read this? TWO: Writers and reporters are human. Being human, they tend to like well written pieces that leave them with little or no editing to do. If they have to spend the time re-writing a piece, it better be one heck of a story or it will never see the light of day. Short and to the point pieces are are the best, with a “hook” headline (a headline that will draw them to read further).
For those of you with small businesses who are thinking of starting your own pr campaign, make sure that if you can’t write, you have someone who can, write your pr pieces. Oh, and don’t get upset if they make changes to your masterpiece. Their main goal is often different than yours and may not match up with your grand vision.
Who do we send our press releases to? Most people would think we send to media outlets that focus on food and dining. Not so. Yes we send to those organizations, but we also send to downtown development magazines, environmental media, travel sites and city life magazines, to name just a few.
Today, traditional media (magazines, TV, radio, etc.) is no longer the only way to reach potential clients and guests. In fact some of the newer forms of social media are as important or depending on your target market, in some cases, more important than traditional marketing mediums. Understanding our client base and targeted market led us directly to these forms of client interaction. Why? Because that is where our clients are.
Next Month – How We Use Social Networks