Food & Drink International - Winter 2017, Volume 2 - 71
I'll give away the answer: you can't. You can't really know if your
marketing will never work, or definitely work soon. (shrug)
Marketing is more art than science - or maybe it's like bad science, where you begin an experiment knowing that, at the end,
you probably won't be able to replicate the results if they're
good, and also you might blow yourself up. Still, you gotta put
on the lab coat and break open a pack of new test tubes.
Sometimes the calculations are correct and you get to yell "Eureka!" Arby's did with its "We Have The Meats"
campaign. From the beginning, it was
a hit - currently, sales have grown 20
percent since it launched. Will it keep
going like that? Unknown.
Other times, results are inconclusive. At first. Initially folks were either
baffled or irritated by the reincarnation of KFC's Colonel, especially when
the original comedian portraying the
dead icon inexplicably changed to
another comedian, then again, then
again. Odd. Unexpected. But slowly
the brand is turning around, having
now grown by 7 percent after years
and years of iffy sales.
If YUM! Brands (a corporate name
almost perversely difficult to include
in a normal sentence) had pulled the
plug early on the somewhat bizarre
KFC campaign, which might have
been a reasonable action, their QSR
chicken biz would still be cooking up
gimmicks and catchphrases, hoping
some were (as the legit marketing
term puts it) sticky.
Which leads to the question: How
long should anybody - say, you - stay
with a marketing effort? How long do
you "give it a chance to work," and
when should you give up before you
Here are some questions to ask
yourself about marketing.
1. Is it something nobody
else can say?
IN FAVOR OF KEEPING IT:
The best ideas are "ownable," usually - Sonic Drive-In (not the world's
only drive-in, but one of the world's
few drive-ins with enough presence
to justify a TV campaign) features
characters sitting in a car eating and
talking because at Sonic you sit in a
car, eating and talking.
KFC's Colonel resurrection is technically something only they could do
- their dead spokesman was enough
of a character that he can be imitated
(as opposed to, say, Wendy's founder Dave Thomas whose commercials helped the chain grow until he
died - after which, the marketing has
struggled to find its non-Dave voice;
but you couldn't really put on a "Dave
suit" and step into his role).
IN FAVOR OF DITCHING IT:
Maybe you're the only restaurant at
the top of a skyscraper in the city, and
you rotate to offer diners a 360-degree
view of the skyline as they eat your
expensive, unremarkable food - but is
rotation something people want?
2. Could other restaurants
say it, but they don't?
>> Companies can't know if their marketing campaigns will ever work. Sometimes the calculations are correct while other
times, results are inconclusive.
IN FAVOR OF KEEPING IT:
Burger King famously wants you to
have it your way. Well, you can have
it your way a lot of places. Domino's
confronted critics by taking the issue
of flavorless pizza head-on: well, a
lot of franchised pizza deliverers are
considered on the bland side, but now
food & drink international * winter 2017 volume 2 * www.fooddrink-magazine.com