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Remember when the only words in the dictionary were proper words? No slang, corruptions, or colloquialisms in Webster’s world! But this practice ended several years ago when the colloquial contraction “ain’t” was first displayed in a dictionary. Prim and proper English teachers everywhere threatened to revolt, but alas, to no avail.
Soon the floodgates opened, and today the dictionary is full of almost everything you hear on the street. Whether for good or ill, our language has evolved, and Webster has kept us posted.
If you know very much about me you know that one of my favorite modern words is “underdog,” and yes, it’s in the dictionary. Webster: Underdog – a competitor thought to have little chance of winning a fight or contest. But you already knew that didn’t you?
We know a few other things Webster doesn’t mention that can make being an Underdog pretty cool:
1. Underdogs may be small, but they’re wiry.
2. Underdogs may not have the traditional power of the Big Dogs, but they have more fight in them.
3. Most people root for the Underdog.
Have you ever felt like an Underdog? Of course, most of us have. But what about in your restaurant? Do you ever get the feeling that even if you are allowed to stay in the contest, you’re never going to actually become the champion in your marketplace?
If this sounds like you, stick with me and I will help you change that attitude by explaining WHY there is one more thing that we know about Underdogs:
4. Sometimes…Underdogs actually DO win!
DON’T PLAY BY BIG DOG RULES
If you play by the same rules as the Big Dogs, you will lose. They have more money, a bigger image, bigger signs, better locations, etc. Since you can’t out-muscle the Big Dogs, as an Underdog, you have to be smarter. To become a successful Underdog Marketer, you must play by Underdog Rules.
Being an Underdog Marketer means you know how to use what you have at your disposal. By that I mean the resources you can afford, plus the stuff you already own. This is where Underdog Marketing gets exciting, because…
… there is an excellent chance that what you can afford
and what you already own is ALL you need.
And it’s all right inside YOUR FOUR WALLS.
About now you might be asking how your plan to saturate the market with TV, radio, and print ads fits into all of this? Two words…
If you feel you must see your burger, bar-b-que, or blue plate special dancing across the screen or jumping off the page, you’re lapsing. Say these words to yourself S-L-O-W-L-Y…
DON’T PLAY BY BIG DOG RULES
There, there, it’s OK. I know how hard it is to kick the mass marketing addiction. BUT let me hit you with some marketplace methadone that will get you started on your rehab:
MASS MARKETING IS DEAD!!!
LONG LIVE NEIGHBORHOOD MARKETING
I can see how it might seem that I’ve just introduced a second marketing strategy. But Underdog Marketing is so basic it cannot be considered a discipline that is separate from Neighborhood Marketing. It is the whole business seen from the point of view of its final result – that is, from the customer’s point of view.
The operative word here is “customer.” And the operative question right now is, where do your customers come from? The answer is…
…within a 10 minute drive of YOUR FOUR WALLS.
Research has shown that 75% of your customers fit this profile (incredibly, 87% of quick-serve customers travel 3-5 minutes to their restaurant of choice.) How’s that for mass-marketing methadone?
Since “mass-marketing in your neighborhood” is a contradiction in terms, your key to success in the critical years ahead will include focusing on your Neighborhood, maximizing the assets you have within YOUR FOUR WALLS, and thinking like an Underdog.
Here’s how Underdogs use Neighborhood Marketing:
1. Your menu is the first line of attack.
...make sure it sells your food AND you!
2. Employees are your ICs (Internal Customers).
...when ICs aren't happy, nobody's happy, especially your Customers!
3. Your merchandising should be a visual & written expression of your restaurant.
...make sure your Customers feast with all of their senses, including their eyes!
4. Know who your current Customers are, literally, through “data capture” of their names, addresses, birthdays, anniversaries, etc.
...then reach out and touch them!
5. Even if you don’t think you are an Underdog, Neighborhood Marketing tactics may make you feel that way because your tacos won’t be tangoing across the TV. But here’s the payoff that makes being an Underdog way cool…
Neighborhood Marketing will make your bottom line do the cachiiinngg cha-cha
All you have to do to make it happen is…
… think like an Underdog,
…focus on your Neighborhood,
…and maximize the resources you have
…within YOUR FOUR WALLS.
NOW go call one of your neighbors!