The 7 P’s of Marketing

7ps-marketing1   THE MARKETING MIX E. Jerome McCarthy created the Marketing Mix in 1960. Since then, the 4P’s have been featured in every online marketing article and marketing textbook in the nation, often alongside other materials featured in various books and seminars on the subject. It has since evolved into 7 or sometimes 8 P’s of marketing. The Original 4 Ps of Marketing:   1)   Product – It all starts with the product. The most important thing in your business, as any marketing professional will tell you, is the quality of the product itself. No amount of marketing will make up for a badly thought up restaurant or food product. I can tell you this from personal experience, after helping my brother open a soft-serve, fresh yogurt establishment called Creme de la Creme in Burbank, California. We opened it next to our store in Burbank. The yogurt was made fresh, was tangy and tasty, and the toppings were always fresh and plentiful. Was the product good? Yes it was, but apparently not good enough because we eventually closed the business down. The point of the story is that being good enough is not good enough. Your product has to be great, fabulous, awesome, perfect, exciting, different, tantalizing, alluring, seductive, fun, colorful, attention -grabbing, and inquisitive. If it’s not all of these things, don’t even bother. I highly recommend you read a book called Blue Ocean Strategies. I have mentioned it before, and I always recommend good friends and family to read this book. It was one of the required reading assignments during my last year of my bachelor’s degree in management at Woodbury University. I forgot most of what we studied back in those years, I’m sure as most of you that did an undergrad degree forgot the course materials as well. But I will never forget the underlying premise of that book, which is as important today as it was when it was written. In fact if they ever do an anniversary edition or something like that, it would be my thrill and honor to write a great opening paragraph for that book. It really did change my life because it taught me to hope and think outside the box. You should never think in terms of creating a new product to fight within an industry, you should create an industry unto itself. Much like Cirque du Soleil has done by creating a circus without animals, or what Apple did for music, phones, and more recently in 2015, for watches. They did not follow the norm but pretended they were starting from scratch. Apple asks itself, if a phone or watch did not exist, what should it look like today? What should it do? So the question we should be asking ourselves today is not “how do I make a better burger?” It should be more like, “What is the niche market no one is even trying to target? Is there a need out there that people are so hungry for, people are always talking about and asking for, but the big corporations are too busy “thinking inside the box” to actually listen to the consumers? If you have a well-researched answer to this all-important question, you just may have helped create the next big “Gold Mine“. Whether you want to create the next Starbucks or the next Subway Sandwiches, you need first evaluate what need the market is not addressing. For us it’s obviously fresh, fast-casual Mediterranean food, which is why we feel we have room to grow. Our goal is to be included in the INC 500 fastest growing companies. How will we get there? By working with the right people, getting investors, and through networking and leverage. These are all the same things you should be striving for. These universal goals and methods will never change, it is just up to the right teams to find and implement them. It all begins with the having the right product. 2) Place – Remember the story of the Glenoaks Zankou? We opened a second store in Glendale based on ill-conceived advice about our competition possibly opening across the street. So in reality, the decision to open there was based on 1) fear 2) irrational thoughts 3) Decisions done without enough homework or analytical information 4) Poor timing 5) Outside influence   When you look at this list above, think of all the decisions we have all made based on these factors. Every single time we have done this, we were wrong and usually paid a heavy price. In our situation, I lost over $50,000 cash invested, and we lost about $150,000 per month for the course of a year and a half. You need not pay such a high price if you listen to the advice in this book. Imagine if the $30 or so you invested in this book can save you $300,000. Would that be a wise investment? Of course it would! So do your homework and make sure the place is extremely well thought out. Remember the old adage in the restaurant business: location, location, location. 3) PriceThere has to be great value given in exchange for the money customers give you. Notice that nowhere in this previous sentience did I ever use the word “cheap”. I don’t want you (or us) to ever be cheap. Cheap and drink is for cheap people, and we are not cheap people. We are people of high quality, that demand and require high quality food and service everywhere we go, and we should require no less from the businesses we establish. Starbucks is not cheap, and neither are my other favorite brands. Habit burger is not cheap. A nice double char, salad, and drink will set you back over $10 easily. The Veggie Grill is not cheap. A decent veggie burger, salad, hot wings and a drink for 2 will set you back over $30. The point is the very best restaurants and bars out there, the ones making bank, are not cheap. A good price represents value, so you have to be wise when you develop the menu. Make sure the high profit items are highlighted better, and give them prominence. Make sure the popular expensive cost items are not featured as much, or if they happen to be very popular it may be time to do a price increase. Don’t be shy or timid about this. Keep focused on quality and service, and people will keep coming. You have to have faith and keep fighting, never give up. Relenting on price and settling for lower quality only to decrease the numbers after the dollar sign on the menu is tantamount to surrender.     4)  Promotion – Make sure signs are as large as possible and vivid. Use great marketing colors. I personally love red and yellow, and on printing materials I love black, cream, red, and yellow. These are my colors, but they don’t necessarily have to be your colors. The Zankou T-shirt is yellow and red. I don’t know why my dad and grandfather chose these colors, but they did. Maybe because a chicken is yellow? I don’t know, but it has since become an iconic representation of all things Zankou. people write to us on our Facebook page and email us pictures of them wearing the famous Zankou T-shirts in Chicago, New York, and Miami. We love it because every time people buy a cheap T-shirt for under $20 they are in fact marketing us all over the world! What a privilege, to be able to charge people for the “benefit” of them marketing your brand all over the place and everywhere they go, from the gym to jogging on the sidewalk to the malls. It’s a great privilege and honor, and one you can have too if your promotions are being done right. Think of Facebook, Yelp, Foursquare, online and offline. What kind of promotions can you do there? What about in newspapers, magazines, other print ads and radio? The possibilities are endless. Don’t make the mistake many businesses make when thinking about promotion, and that is advertising or marketing just before or right after the ship starts sinking. Remember, marketing and advertising are something you ought to be doing continuously throughout the year. It’s not some kind of lifeline you toss to your business at the last minute, when you ignored all the marketing and advertising efforts that came your way because you were too busy doing the other aspects of the business. Let me say this right now, right off the bat, kitchen and operations people do not understand or enjoy marketing. If they are given any marketing duties whatsoever, you can be guaranteed these tasks will go incomplete and never get done. If this sounds like you, and you’re reading this book, that is completely fine. Just realize that as an operations guy (or girl) you can’t do everything. Designate someone you trust to do your marketing for you. Don;t just ignore that department completely; it’s a mistake that will cost your business dearly.   I avoid clients for whom advertising is only a marginal factor in their marketing mix. They have an awkward tendency to raid their advertising appropriations whenever they need cash for other purposes. David Ogilvy     5) People – What is an organization without its people? Nothing. From the top to the bottom the people are what really matter when it comes to leading an extraordinary restaurant empire. Managers, shift leaders, line cooks, chefs, kitchen supply experts, cashiers, even the delivery people that bring us the supplies are all an important link in this chain. Break one link off and what happens to the entire chain? It falls apart. We are as strong as our weakest link, so in marketing it’s very important not just to have the right people but to train them repeatedly, until they either get it right or you get someone that gets it right. The right employees and associates make all the difference in the world. They are always there, even when we are not. It’s paramount to get the right people in there, because they become the face of the brand and the entire organization. Never underestimate how important having the right people is. I would say it’s on par with the quality of the product itself. Because if your product is great and your customers love it, what if the service sucks? Will these customers ever come back after your staff is rude to them, gets orders wrong, won’t apologize or make it right, can’t speak English, or talk behind the customers’ backs? Would you ever return to a business that tolerates that kind of behavior?     6) Processes –  Ray Crock would love this part. For him it was all about the process. That system that’s set in place with rules and regulations about everything you can imagine, right down to each pickle on every hamburger and the temperature of the fries. But just like everything else, there is a downsize to being too rigid when it comes to processes. This reminds me of a story of the time I was visiting Germany. Germany was the last leg of a long and elaborate European tour my ex-wife and I had embarked on, and we stopped in a little town called ______________________. There was a nice black church that was built  high in the center of town and many historic landmarks. We stopped somewhere and they gave us a 45 minute break on the bus tour to eat wherever we wanted. I was in no mood for a food adventure or to try a weird restaurant I could possibly get sick at (think of the Italy food-poisoning story), so we opted to eat at a McDonald’s. Now I don’t know about you but when I eat somewhere, even if it’s McDonald’s, I want my food to be hot. Not just lukewarm, acceptable hot. I want it to be so hot that if I eat it quickly enough it could just possibly burn my mouth. Because to me, french fries and a burger are ONLY tasty when it’s scorching hot. But on that day, they gave us our Big mac and chicken McNuggets lukewarm. Now the Germans are a very smart, proud, yet methodically functioning people. They are like a clock, and they follow rules to the T. They dot their I’s, so to speak. So when I asked the cashier to give it to me at a very hot temperature, she smiled and said yes, but they never really gave it to me at a hotter temperature, only the one I suppose the parent company told them was “appropriate.” The point is, this methodically “everything is the same all the time” mentality that currently pervades our industry is not the best thing that’s happened to us. Because of industrialization and in an effort to reduce errors on the part of minimum wage workers, they have made everything so robotic that the food is never very tasty. It’s just “acceptable,” but at least it’s routinely acceptable. So the food at a McDonald’s, anywhere in the world, is consistent. Consistently bad. Make sure the employees follow careful processes that are written down, but give them enough room to not only grow as people but make certain decisions on their own. Give them the freedom and understanding to be able to help customers. Don’t make them just act like robots, this is terrible.   Physical Environment What kind of physical environment would you like to convey? Pink’s hot dog stand near Melrose isn’t much of a royal environment. A small hot dog stand in the south west of Hollywood, it stands alone as the one source of last minute club food Angelinos enjoy every day. But people in LA don’t go to Pink’s only as a last resort. The place is packed almost any time of day, drawing long lines of hungry customers. I love Garrett’s Popcorn in Chicago. There is nothing like it in LA, although we do have Popcornopolis. That place has a great atmosphere, with large popcorn stands and corn popping in the background all the time. Though not as fresh or buttery as Garrett, it seems to do the job.   The physical environment you create around your brand doesn’t have to cost millions of dollars. The atmosphere we created in Burbank did cost about a million dollars. It has a plasticized olive tree in the middle, meant to signify our beautiful Middle Eastern culture us Armenians from Lebanon brought with us. We mixed it with Italian style stone layers on the columns, and a hand-painted mural in the middle above the tree. That dome was painted on for many weeks, a beautiful painting based off art from a church in Turin, Italy. Such extravagant art and modeling can’t be copied at every location. The size does not permit that, so we intend  to go with a more modern, standardized procedure in the future with more red, shiny colors, deeper blacks, and more use of stainless steel. As long as your created environment mirrors the brand, the feel and tone of what your company stands for, this is what matters. This can be done relatively cheaply. You need not spend millions. It’s more of a matter of finding a decent contractor and down to earth designer. It’s very important that the physical environment matches the brand, the high quality and equity of what your company is trying to convey. Some of these brands like Pink’s got it easy. They don’t have to look the part. But more recently this has changed, since brands like Chipotle and Blaze are setting a new trend of making fast casual not just clean and organized, but each store having a nice and distinctive feel to it that communicates quality and taste.   The 8TH P Productivity is the eight and last P. Productivity is just as important as the other P’s. The way to get to highly productive employees is to keep them happy, communicate often, tell them you appreciate them, and give them as much freedom and responsibility to complete their duties as possible. Notice  I said to complete their tasks, not to goof around and play silly games. I often walk inside restaurants to find staff flirting, wasting time, making jokes, on their cell phones, or worse not even looking at customers nor caring about our wants and needs. People can play and be silly on their time. No staff should take their job or position lightly. I am a big believer in the “work hard play hard” mentality. When it’s time to party, I think I know how to party. But you will never see me playing stupid or silly games with my staff or associates. When I am at work I am serious. Employees and customers are always watching you. Be on your best behavior, even if they’re not. It’s a sign of maturity and leadership.   Productivity & Quality –  Sources 1)    http://www.professionalacademy.com/news/marketing-theories-the-marketing-mix-from-4-p-s-to-7-p-s

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