Implementing a Core Values Marketing Plan

It is best to give and recieve

In a previous post, I discussed the benefits of implementing Core Value Marketing as part of a successful growth strategy.  This type of program creates a bond with your potential guests while providing tremendous opportunities for free publicity.  Most importantly, it allows you to provide much needed support to organizations in your community that need it to continue their good works.  This is a win/win proposition that allows your business to grow while helping the causes you care about.  Your business does well because it is doing good for others.

Success in Core Value Marketing is contingent upon a number of factors.  Determining the right organization, offer, and tracking methods are instrumental to producing the results that you would like to achieve.  Restaurants that attempt to provide benefit to their community often are disappointed in the response, but rarely recognize that the failure was based on a poorly designed and implemented plan.  Successfully organizing a Core Value Marketing program that benefits both the restaurant and the group you are helping, requires taking several factors into account.  Failing to consider each of these items could result in a plan that disappoints both the restaurants and the groups you intend to help.

Here are some important steps in executing a successful Core Value Marketing campaign:

Determine the Offer:  Are you going to offer a rebate to the organization or a discount on gift certificates?  Is it going to be valid for a day or a month?  Just during the week or on the weekends as well?  How will your distinguish which guests came in because of the offer?  The first step is to determine what type of offer you can afford to make.  A smaller rebate or highly restricted offer will deter many of your potential guests.  A large rebate with no restrictions may displace other guests or damage your bottom line.  Before making an offer to any organization, you must know what is practical and affordable.

Determine the Organization:  Once you know what you can afford to offer, it is time for you to find a group to partner with.  There are several factors to keep in mind when selecting the group.  You must choose a cause that people feel passionate about.  The group that represents this cause should have the ability to quickly distribute this information to those who care about it.  Large charities may not find your offer worth investing their time in.  Smaller charities might not have the reach to drive traffic through your doors.  A mid-sized, community based group will probably yield the best results.  Also take some time to consider any drawbacks to the organization you are considering.  There are too many worthwhile causes available to choose one that may potentially cause a backlash.  Stay away from political groups or those who are even slightly controversial.  You may also want to add special consideration to groups who allow you to make a tax deductible donation.

Spread the Word:  While the organization you choose should do most of the marketing, use your connections to publicize it as well.  Send a well written press release to any media outlets in your market.  These often will appeal to newspapers and radio stations looking for a feel good story on a slow news day.  Do not forget to provide these releases to any local bloggers who write about the issue.  Make sure your contact with the organization has copies of your logo and basic information about your restaurant.  Make certain that they have all the information on the promotion and the restaurant correct to prevent angry guests from arriving at your door.

Track the Progress:  This is one of the most important steps in the process and the one where most restaurants fail to capitalize on the program.  One of the first decisions you must make is how you will track the sales generated by this program.  If your promotion continues for more than one evening, you should opt to track it in house.  You should provide updates on the amount of money earned by the group throughout the promotion.  This creates excitement for the group and may inspire a last minute push to get more of their supporters to take advantage of the promotion.  This also creates another great opportunity to send out a press release and gain some more free publicity.

Publicize the Outcome:  After completing a successful campaign, the last thing you want to do is mail a check.  This is another great opportunity to solidify your connection with the organization you are supporting.  Again, press releases are your friend.  Bring the group a big oversized check and find a good opportunity to present it.  Try to get the local media to show up for the ceremony.  Make sure you have a camera present as well.  Hang a picture of the presentation in your lobby.  Let your guests know about the size of your donation.  Use this positive publicity to excite the next organization you work with.

The opportunity to gain exposure for your restaurant while helping the community is far more fulfilling than publishing another coupon.  The benefits of this type of marketing go far beyond simply increasing sales.  Your staff will respond far more favorably to this type of promotion than discount based incentives.  The integrity of your menu pricing is maintained in the minds of your guests.  You also have the ability to convey to the community that you want to be a good corporate citizen.  These benefits make Core Value Marketing a wise component of your restaurant’s marketing plan.

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About David Hayden

David Hayden is a restaurant marketing and training consultant based in Kansas City, MO. He writes a series of 9 blogs collectively known as The Hospitality Formula Network and is the author of "Tips2: Tips For Improving Your Tips" and "Building Your Brand With Facebook"

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