Every week in Vegas, there’s a different convention in town (Non-Covid Years). Electronic Expo, Car Dealership Expo, Builder’s Expo, etc. There are expos for every niche demo imaginable. These events are where exhibitors get to sell to their target customers. There’s one that directly applies to every one of us reading this magazine, of course, and that’s Pizza Expo. All the items on display relate and are directly targeting people like you and me. We don’t see hot food warmers for soccer Moms as well as pizzeria owners called “Insulated bags for busy people”; we see pizza hot bags explicitly designed for pizzeria owners. We don’t see cash registers for any business; we see Point of Sale systems geared and sold as ideal for pizzeria owners. Even the Point-of-Sale systems that can do more than pizza are designed to be shown off to pizzeria owners. Every item on the Pizza Expo floor could be used by someone in our industry and is sold that way. This approach isn’t new for expos, and it sounds completely normal to market to a specific demo. But why is it that so often we, as pizzeria restaurant owners, do the complete opposite?
Here’s an example I’ve learned from previous failures. When you say, “we can cater any event and any occasion, we can do it all,” we hope we’re casting a big net to gain significant results. However, instead the customer hears this: “Here’s our run-of-the-mill catch-all approach that will give you run-of-the-mill catch-all service that’s not designed for you specifically.” All this because it’s a catch-all approach when the complete opposite is my hope. The broader net theory leads to more effort and fewer results. What works significantly better, and what I’ve transitioned to, is going after niche groups.
Going niche is nothing new, but going after the niche in a highly specific way is. For example, instead of calling a car dealership and saying, “Our pizzeria can cater your big weekend sales events.” Try this instead: physically go to the dealership, with the Car Dealership Special information in hand. Show an offer like 10 pizzas and four two liters with plates, forks and knives with a dealership in the background. Say, “You can modify the special if you’d like, but we have found that this package works very well in this environment.” You’ve eliminated the guesswork, as well as given this potential purchaser a sense of purchase pride. All while alleviating their purchase anxiety of wondering, “Do these guys know what they’re doing? Will this work for my business?” Instead it appears as, “of course they totally know what they’re doing. They have a special named after the job that I’m in.”
This approach works for every group imaginable. Every job, every group, every club, every hobby … yes, all of them. Instead of me naming them off, think of what is around you. Schools? Sports groups? Whatever it is, take a few different package deals and curate to that audience, make the sales materials resonate to that demo, and then name the package after the people you’re targeting. With that simplistic move, you have created niche marketing that will make the customer feel safer in the purchase with a higher propensity to seal the deal.
MIKE BAUSCH is the owner of Andolini’s Pizzeria in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Instagram: @mikeybausch