The goal of advertising … not discounting.

“The goal of advertising is to sell more stuff to more people more often for more money”
Sergio Zyman, The End of Advertising as We Know It

Sergio Zyman was the man responsible for the change of fortunes of several large US Corporations. So when he hands out advice, you listen. The truth is that some people don’t get the basics of marketing. They seem to think it’s about taking a business and then flying at the ground with great speed.

Sell more Stuff. Customers often want to buy extra things off you. Help them along here, upsell a bit if you need to.

More People.  You need more customers. Every business starts with few and needs more.

More Often. Now you have these customers, get them back through the door. You don’t need to bribe them. Often they just like to be reminded that you are still there.

For More Money.  Put up your prices. How do you do that? Offer an improved product and sell it.

I was reading an article in one of the US hospitality magazines this week. For years I have banged on about how discount schemes damage the reputation of restaurants. Someone finally agreed and they stumped up more evidence to prove it. They found that established businesses killed their reputation every time they ran a discount promotion. New, youth focused, businesses seemed to do well though. The key seems to be that some schemes can create a buzz for these kind of places, especially in the student or graduate market.

A huge difference is that established businesses outside of this market are often patrolled by discount junkies. They don’t come back, they don’t spend more money and they don’t buy more stuff. Each coupon will be a one time purchase not a ticket to loyalty.

If you are looking at the Foursquare, Instagram and Twitter set then you might not be surprised that Groupon and Amazon Local can get them in. They also react well to messages on social networks. So once you have got them in, they are on your list.

The other market? They often want a bargain and won’t come back at the full ticket price.

A takehome is in attracting YOUR kind of customers. In a youth market there is often an overlap between regulars and bargain hunters. Pricing is keener in this market.

Find a way of building a good email list, this will be better for your reputation and your pocket. You have control over who you invite back this way.

I did a straw poll with several local restaurant mail lists. Nearly all of them wrote when they had something to sell. Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, Christmas, you get the picture. So is everyone else. Try sending a recipe out every couple of weeks. Keep a blog and make sure that goes out to your mailing list.

Long term wins over short term any day. You have to spend a lot of time mending short term pain like a PR fallout from your latest discount. Put that effort into building a list of regulars AND write to them, regularly.

People want to buy when they are ready to buy, not when you want to sell to them.

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