Author Topic: Any ideas in finding ways to get more foot traffic to my area at market  (Read 14587 times)

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scott123

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Please define "marketing" as used in this sentence.

Off the top of my head- Advertising, free samples, signage, flyers, coupons, phone calls, promotions, web pages, social media. If you make world class pizza, people will find you.


Offline waltertore

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I am not nearly as well aquainted with Norma as many here so I may be way off base.  I think I remember her saying she is only open 1 day a week and I saw in a previous post she is selling today?  IMO being open 1 day a week and a Tuesday at that is going to make it hard for people to remember.  I would stay open a few days in a row regularly- the busiest 3 days of the week.  That sinks in easier.  I agree with Scott that great pizza draws people but only being open 1 day a week and weekday at that and not in a major food city, is going to make it a tough sell.  I say all this with experience.   The bakery/pizzeria I run is only open during public shool hours and days that school is in session.  We have been officially open 1 year and people are just begining to get in their  head that such a thing exisits in a public high school.   I live in a rural area of central Ohio where good pizza is considered whatever is cheapest.   These things complicate building a steady customer base and maybe Norma is dealing with this in some way?  Walter

I grew up in Essex County New Jersey which is a stones throw from NYC and probably the king of Pizza in the USA.  I also have lived in Austin, TX, Sonoma County, CA, and Brussels, Belguim.  I am use to hunting down good food and excited about trying new places but out here it is almost always a waste of money.  I never have lived rural before and outside a major food city.  I am learning one has to educate the area to ones product.  They enjoy this and I do too. 
« Last Edit: July 23, 2013, 12:05:12 PM by waltertore »

Offline TXCraig1

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I am not nearly as well aquainted with Norma as many here so I may be way off base.  I think I remember her saying she is only open 1 day a week and I saw in a previous post she is selling today?  IMO being open 1 day a week and a Tuesday at that is going to make it hard for people to remember.  I would stay open a few days in a row regularly- the busiest 3 days of the week.  That sinks in easier.  I agree with Scott that great pizza draws people but only being open 1 day a week and weekday at that and not in a major food city, is going to make it a tough sell. 

The market where she is located is only open on Tuesdays.
Pizza is not bread.

Offline TXCraig1

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If you make world class pizza, people will find you.

Maybe, but perhaps things can be done to help it happen sooner rather than later?
Pizza is not bread.

Offline La Sera

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I disagree that you don't need marketing. The world is full of successful companies that peddle mediocre products with strong marketing. Start with these: Microsoft, McDonald's and Domino's Pizza.

Successful retail business owners (and pizza business people in particular) know that they are in the marketing business first, and in whatever it is they sell, second.

Business in not a catch line from a fictional Hollywood movie, it's real life for people who's lives are on the line.

Norma, you may have to move to somewhere with more potential.

You may have to change businesses. Is this truly a business or a hobby?

You might make more money selling dough balls in your area instead of pizza.

Or sell whole, cut pizzas wholesale to other busy food stands who then sell slices. No work for them.

Why in the world would people in PA want Detroit or New Jersey style pizzas? Sell Pennsylvania-style pizza (whatever that is -- make it up yourself). Sorry if that sounds harsh, but that's a very poor business model.

Or start selling (and financing) small pizza ovens to other businesses, even restaurants, throughout your area and make your money supplying dough, sauce and toppings.

I know these sound radical, but looking at those photos makes me think you need to really rethink the business.

I so hope you find a solution.

Offline waltertore

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The market where she is located is only open on Tuesdays.

thanks for the clarification Craig.  I still think one has to educate the people to good food when living in an area where there is very little to none, and the majority of the population has not been outside the area.  I take it as a big compliment when people say they like the pies.  They can't say- man this is like a good NYC pie because they have never been there.   The cool thing is this makes it a wide open frontier.  There is no competition.  The village I lve in (3,000 pop) are mostly 6 figure plus earners and have been around the world.  They seek out our pies, breads, and baked goods and regularly say how it reminds them of NYC, Paris, etc.  But outside of this small island of people that have lived/traveled around the world,  I deal with deep poverty and cost is more important than quality for the sake of survival.  Still it is a fun challenge and I love it. I am a PT Barnum type personality and love spreading the word on my program and products. I think one has to have a good deal of this in them to make it in an area like I live.  I catered a big event Sunday and my friend who I helped start a bagel business was there too.  He is so shy he was shaking before the event started. His bagels were beautifull and were filled with all sorts of smoked fish, meats, etc.  The presentation was also great.  But the line for our pizzas was never ending and his barely a trickle.  I greeted everyone and just cut up the pies to slices in the box and put them on paper plates. I don't have any pizza bags so they were a bit warm at best.  I use old school NJ pizzeria PR that I learned as a kid.   It was a great gift to grow up in that culture and work in it as well. Walter
« Last Edit: July 23, 2013, 12:31:18 PM by waltertore »

Offline jeff v

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Maybe, but perhaps things can be done to help it happen sooner rather than later?

Yes. I suppose it could depend on your goals but still...
Back to being a civilian pizza maker only.

scott123

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I disagree that you don't need marketing. The world is full of successful companies that peddle mediocre products with strong marketing. Start with these: Microsoft, McDonald's and Domino's Pizza.

Successful retail business owners (and pizza business people in particular) know that they are in the marketing business first, and in whatever it is they sell, second.

I know the history of Microsoft.  They didn't spend a dime on advertising until they were banking substantial profits.  Advertising can be effective and is responsible for selling billions of dollars of pizza- if you have millions of dollars to spend on it.  For small businesses, though, there's no advertising that can come close to the impact of the kind of buzz you get from world class pizza. I've seen this first hand- and not just in the U.S.  World class pizza, zero advertising/promotional dollars, tripling projections in 3 months.

This isn't widgets.  If you and I are basically selling the same thing, sure, marketing is everything.  But this is pizza. And people with Norma's skills don't grow on trees. She can offer something that no one else can come close to.  When you're selling a product like that, marketing is meaningless.

And, btw, there's no such thing as NJ style pizza or Pennsylvania style.  There's Trenton Style, New York style and Boardwalk.  Trenton style is very close to Boardwalk, which is what Norma sells.  She also makes one of the best Detroit pies on the planet.  If the Hunt brothers can make money hand over fist selling Detroit style in the middle of Texas, Norma should be able to be profitable with her Detroit pies.

Offline jeff v

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Norma,

Have you asked your regulars, fellow vendors and or FB fans to recommend you and tell their friends? I've gotten pretty decent at networking w other vendors and asking current customers to help spread the word and it helps. In the past we made it a challenge to sell x and asked our friends, customers etc to help. I found most liked to help. You could do a prize of free pizza or a charitable gift to encourage more people to talk about it.
Back to being a civilian pizza maker only.

Offline wahoo88

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Scott, I respect your opinion more than most, but what exactly are you suggesting? Something in the equation needs to be changed in order to obtain better results.  The pizza places that (I assume) don't market are the ones with reputations based on a small contingent of rabid followers who create a certain aura around the pizza.  What Norma needs is to establish this small, loyal following.  I don't know what the culture is in Lancaster Co., but I would assume that the community might be more tight knit than many of our suburban neighborhoods.  This could turn out to be an advantage. I think we could all agree that increased signage couldn't hurt, but word of mouth in this type of marketplace may be the key.  Maybe Norma should just brag about her pizza more (rightfully so) to her friends and neighbors.

Norma's pizza is of the caliber that Scott describes --the one-bite-and-you're-hooked variety-- as being capable of marketing itself.  She just has to figure out how to get it into people's mouths.


scott123

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Maybe, but perhaps things can be done to help it happen sooner rather than later?

I worked in advertising for almost 20 years and, while it was mostly big agencies with corporate clients, I freelanced quite a bit with small businesses and did considerable research on small business marketing.  If someone's opening a chain, marketing is critical.  If someone's opening a sit down restaurant with an alcohol license, then, yes, you've got to spend money on advertising so that people know you're there. For a business of Norma's size, though, it's a different ball game.  Traditional advertising is money down the drain.  You can get into guerilla methods, and those can be effective, but they can also be kind of demeaning.

The grandmother who got tasered on video got a boatload of hits.  While not as original, a pizza eating great grandmother getting tasered would probably bring plenty of new customers ("hey, are you that pizza eating lady that got tasered?""yup!"). That probably would be effective, but dumb and dangerous. Stunts can bring attention, but I really don't think Norma has to stoop to that level.

I mentioned Pizzahacker and Casey Crynes earlier.  Both began as once a week ventures.  Neither did any advertising. Casey might have had a scribbled sign, but I don't think Jeff did. Where are they now? Well, you know where they are now.  I don't know their stories, but I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if they were homeless at some point prior to selling pizza. That's where selling world class pizza (without any marketing) can get you.

Offline TXCraig1

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I don't I agree that Jeff an Casey are good case studies for Norma. For one thing, both were in SF, not rural Pennsylvania.  There isn't even the remotest similarity in the demographics or media. And, while they may not have spent anything on advertising, both received significant publicity. SF eats up that sort of thing (pun intended).

I'm not saying Norma needs to be spending money on advertising. I simply don't know enough to know. I tend to agree with you that it probably would not be money well spent. It's difficult to make a business case for it when you are only open one day per week. I think she probably needs to do something however. I think that if she does nothing, nothing will change. Of course, as others have noted, the range of possibilities that must be considered includes leaving the market.
Pizza is not bread.

Offline pizzaboyfan

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Norma,
Would they let you put up one of these dancing men, with NORMA'S PiZZA in the parking lot ?
A great eye catcher.
Perry

Offline Chicago Bob

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It's obvious that the Market officials don't give a rat's tail about Norma, even after all the years she has been a good vendor there. They got her buried out back and don't want her making a fuss. They take advantage of her kindness and manners. And that is the problem and I doubt it's going to change. You can facebook an twitter all you want for a following but at just one afternoon a week they're not going to come flocking. Hand out all the free pizza you want...but if it ain't free the next week those people are still going to just wait and pick up a Dominoes on the way home from Market. If Norma can't get right up Front and Center in a busy area then it's time to say bye-bye, adios.
 A couple Black Stones could be easily mounted on a small trailer along with the little 3-sink station deal, maybe a quiet 'lil generator for her ref. prep table, etc.. She knows a lot of people;, finding a nice 'little shaded spot near town or a park, whatever, for a few consistent choice days/evenings out of the week and she could maybe become a very happy camper.
"Care Free Highway...let me slip away on you"

Offline waltertore

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I share my stories with hope that others will follow thier hearts.  We all are wired differently and when we let that special stuff shine a unique thing is the byproduct.  I happen to be right at home in front of a crowd so I do that.  It sure helps market what I do.  I remember when I was playing 300 music concerts a year around the world.  Then it started dropping off.  I pushed but the harder I pushed the less the gigs came in until I finally surrendered and went to college to become a teacher.  That called me but I was afraid to follow it. I was basically a no show high school student that never opened a book and struggled with academic tasks.  I have since spent the last 20 years reflecting/processing my musical life.  I now realize I was ready to move on in my soul but my ego(head) wanted to cling to the stage.  My soul knew the teaching gig was where I would find the most reward.  Thankfully my soul won out and I continue to try and follow it blindly.  Now I persue my music with no money concerns and do work I find very spiritual. The universe points us always in the right direction and we can flow with it, question it, fight it, ignore it...............   I lived as a hippy most of my life.  Coming from NJ, white castle, ready to fight at the dorp of a hat, F#uck you every other word out of my mouth, and hitting Sonoma County, CA, and living on a commune as a young man really blew my mind.  Since then I continue to try and live with peace in my soul and follow it blindly.  Peace.  Walter
« Last Edit: July 23, 2013, 02:42:52 PM by waltertore »

Offline Pete-zza

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Norma can correct me if I misstate anything but she has reported on many occasions that she likes what she does and learning about pizza, and she likes talking with her customers, taste testers, and others in her work area. She has also indicated that, at her age, she does have the stamina to go into a larger scale operation, on or off the market premises. I believe that all that she is asking for is to have the opportunity and benefit of more traffic and, in that respect, be on an equal footing with other vendors at market who are better situated than she is. With a one-day-a-week business, there are not a lot of advertising and promotional dollars left after covering all costs to devote to ways of getting the public to her stand. She and Steve have to be at the stand all day, so they are not in a position to wander around the market in search of customers or to hire others to do it for them. There have been a lot of ideas advanced by the members in this thread and many appear to be low cost and, no doubt, there are some that Norma might want to consider. As a veteran of many years at market, she will perhaps have a good feel for which ideas can be implemented and pass muster with the people who manage the market. If it turns out that the ideas she does implement do not help, or do not help enough, or it turns out that people prefer the food offerings of others, then Norma will have to decide on whether to accept her fate or to move on. That would be a hard decision because she truly likes everything about pizza. You don't end up with over 17,000 posts on this forum out of casual interest.

Peter

Offline Chicago Bob

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I would do like that one guy with the great stall location did...threaten to leave.  :pizza: :pizza:
"Care Free Highway...let me slip away on you"

Offline derricktung

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Re: free samples,you could always go for what Cinnabon used to do and just give out free samples for smiles.  =)  I remember a lot of kids/families would go to the mall and run about to the Cinnabon, smile, and ask for a free sample.  You just have to keep the sample small, and you'll generate some traffic to your stall this way...

I also did a quick Yelp search, and it looks like Root's market get's some great reviews:  http://www.yelp.com/biz/roots-country-market-and-auction-manheim-2

However, I did a search for pizza using the same area and you don't show up... you may want to ask some customers/fans/members hear who have tried your pizza to start you off with a few reviews... while most owners have mixed concerns around Yelp, it's hard to deny the effectiveness as people use it to find new restaurants all the time.

Just a few more thought.

Offline TXCraig1

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You don't end up with over 17,000 posts on this forum out of casual interest.

The understatement of the year. Her modesty would never allow her to acknowledge this, but Norma's knowledge of pizza is top 0.1%. I've worked for two Fortune 500 companies heavily invested in pizza, and I can say definitively that that is nobody in their R&D departments with her her passion for pizza knowledge.
Pizza is not bread.

Offline norma427

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Norma,

 I have some online friends that just started a bbq business that is only on the weekends.  They are posting on their facebook page all through the week.  During the week they post their menu.  End of week they do some posts.  They are constantly changing their cover and profile pic.  On the weekends they are posting when the ribs/chicken etc go on and approx time they will be ready.  With the amount of posts I think that anyone that has liked them would be hard pressed to forget them and I imagine they are building the amount of people that like them from other people liking them. 

 I just looked at your page and your pics are great, I can see you are posting often.  I recently went to a veggie stand that I go to every week in the summer and they had a sign that they are on facebook , I had never thought about looking to see if they had a page.   Do you have a sign at your stand that says like us on facebook (i'm sorry if i missed it reading through this thread)?   I think that building that would really help, it's likely to pop up on facebook for other people saying so and so likes Normas and they may check it out and end up becoming customers.  Can some of your family, friends do a suggest page to their friends to try to increase the number of people that like your page.

I didn't look far back but are you posting Monday night/early Tuesday your menu for the day? 

My friend liked your page and said she'd be in for pizza as soon as she is back from vacation.

Deb

Deb,

Thanks for telling me about your online friends that just started a BBQ business.  I have been meaning to make a sign that I am on facebook and put it somewhere on my pizza stand at market, but haven't gotten around to it yet.  I also don't have a real menu and I need to make one too.  I will make the facebook sign for market this week.  Thanks for having your friend like my facebook page.   

I have been using fresh ingredients from market, but not all of them have been from market.  I like that idea too.

Norma
Always working and looking for new information!


 

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