Restaurant C-Suite Magazine | Winter 2020

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Q&A | Pizza marketing strategies Sean Brauser, Cutting Edge Marketing What are some of the best ways to market America’s favorite pie? This has become a top concern among pizzeria owners as disruptors and newcomers enter the pizza category. Fastcasual chains have claimed market share but these concepts are now maturing. At the same time, nearly all restaurants are featuring a pizza on their menus due to its popularity. There’s definitely a need to fill seats and grow business in pizzerias around the country. For some effective tactics, we turned to Sean Brauser, CEO of Cutting Edge Marketing in this Q&A. Restaurant C-Suite Magazine: What are the biggest challenges for pizzerias, and pizza chains alike, as we enter 2020? Sean Brauser: The biggest challenge for pizza operators is maintaining their market share. Third party delivery, fast casual competition, the big chains’ constant marketing and growth, have taken a toll. The challenge all pizza operators face is differentiation of their brand. Staying top of mind is a nonstop battle with the number of choices consumers have. RCS: What are some of the elements of pizza marketing that can be successful in today’s digital age? SB: Digital marketing is critical in the pizza business. However throwing money at Facebook or Instagram and expecting consumers to act is the same as mailing 10,000 menus indiscriminately. The goal of all marketing in 2020 must be to capture consumer data: email, SMS, text, Facebook, Messenger, data equals “one and done” marketing. RCS: Tell us about the best tactics pizza shops can deploy to be successful in growing. SB: We have developed a strategy that allows RESTAURANT C-SUITE | Restaurant news that’s fresh, informed, inspired (by you) 14

Pizza marketing can be effective by leveraging data from social media. Photo by Benjamin Sow.

us to take consumer data and purchasing and create specific messaging that the customer will more likely respond to. For instance, we can send a family meal deal to a family and a pizza wing deal to a single guy. We can tailor these messages into tighter and tighter demographic and psychographic circles. This is the way marketing in the next decade will happen, and if you are not on that path you will be left behind. RCS: What are some strategies for growth that can often be overlooked in the pizza category? SB: The key for successful pizza marketing is to make emotional connections with consumers. The biggest thing operators ignore is local store marketing. Schools, businesses, hotels, sports teams, doctors, lawyers: create as many emotional connections as you can. Then continue to market to them based on the connection you made. Sean Brauser is an author, speaker, and an expert in restaurant marketing. Working with pizzerias and pizza chains of all sizes, he’s helped them grow sales double digits. He’s a lifelong entrepreneur and grew his own pizza business to $20M in sales.