Dear Aunty B,
I run a fast food business. I expected our business to do well in this downturn as we are a cheaper alternative.
But we rely on a large marketing spend to keep things ticking over which I have to cut. Do you have any suggestions on what I should cut and how I should do it?
Don’t cut your marketing budget. What you need to do is change your marketing strategy to get cash in the door as soon as possible. Think of it this way – cash used to be king; now it’s gold, and marketing means cash!
First you must focus on getting greater value from existing customers rather than finding new ones. Try getting repeat business, encourage loyalty and getting a bigger spend from existing customers.
Call your staff in and declare war on the downturn. Make sure all staff understand the value proposition of your company, and they are upselling and structuring their product offerings accordingly.
Ask for the marketing suggestions of your staff. What do customers want? Make sure sales staff are trained in upselling techniques – “would you like fries with that?” – and structure product offerings accordingly. Look at non peak periods when staff are under-utilised and try and get customers in the door with special offers.
Send letters or emails to customers reinforcing their value to your business and backing that message with a purchase linked reward.
You don’t say what fast food you sell. But researchers point out that in past downturns people actually become healthier; they drink less, eat healthier food and stay fitter than in a boom. Counter intuitive, huh??
But if that’s the case, then can you market the healthier products on your menu; maybe develop a “fight the downturn with great prices and good health” theme.
So don’t panic and don’t cut. Change strategy!
Your Aunty B.