Debunking Three Advertising Myths


man in coffee shop

Marketing strategy has evolved over the years, incorporating new technologies and tactics to attain specific goals. Within that strategy is advertising, one of the most popular and useful tactics. It can use a variety of media, such as T.V., radio and print, to create exposure, awareness and, ultimately, sales. Advertising might seem complicated or expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. So, to help you create an effective advertising campaign for your restaurant, we’ll walk through a few misconceptions that many small business have about advertising.

1.       Advertising requires a large budget.

It’s not about spending the most on advertising to get the best return. In fact, it’s important to start with a small budget to make the investment provide a better return. Think about some of your most valuable diners that frequent your restaurant or have a higher spend per table. What does that customer look like? Where do they live? Focus your advertising to similar targets. Invest in advertising where diners are looking for places to eat.

For instance, if you draw a corporate lunch crowd, advertise on a billboard nearest to local office buildings. If your restaurant receives a lot of commuter traffic, look to advertise in publications that you see commuters reading on trains and buses. 

2.       Immediately stop advertising when it’s not working.

On average, a consumer will  see an advertisement nine times before they will remember or take action. Therefore, getting the most repetition and exposure are key to driving effective advertising for the long haul.

A consistent, repeating message also closes the window of opportunity for competitors to undermine your space in the market. Remember, it’s easy to make the decision to stop and start new programs quickly when looking at short-term results. It takes foresight into the future for  long-term success.

3.       Using coupons in advertising brings cheap customers. 

Measuring your advertising and marketing programs based on one visit and one customer is really difficult to do. Return on marketing should be based on the annual value of that customer.  If one customer visits your restaurant, has a great experience and returns three more times that year, the long-term value of that “cheap” customer is much higher than the revenue from their initial visit. Returning customers also tend to spend 33 percent more than first time customers. This concept, known as  penetration pricing, focuses on increasing market share (and sales volume) vs. making a profit in the short-term.

Measuring customers’ foot traffic and value over time will result in better decisions and a better return on investment.

Some additional things to note:

Never assume your customers are yours for life. Remember, your current customers can also act as your best brand advocates. Satisfy your current customers and establish relationships that will lead to a larger customer base for the future.

A dip in sales does not mean you should cut your marketing budget. Successful marketing can bring your company out of a sales slump, and remaining diligent in your marketing strategy means it’s less likely for a competitor to take your place in the hearts, minds and budgets of your consumers.