Catering Marketing Mix Check

It’s June! Who can believe it? Seems like the year is just flying by, right? June is important for many businesses though, especially catering companies. June kicks off one of the busiest catering seasons of the year – summer wedding season. June is also a good time to do a mid-year review for your catering marketing plan. It’s a time to review your success over the past six months, re-access your goals, and plan for the next six months.

You may be thinking, “What is a marketing mix?” A marketing mix is the combination of marketing efforts made by a brand or company focused on your product, price, place, or promotion and the tactics being used to reach customers. A good marketing mix will be just that, a well-planned mix. As a business owner, you want to be sure you have a goal in mind and that you are placing advertisements or creating marketing efforts to help achieve those goals.

Let’s look at an example. Looking back at 2014, you may have received fewer event bookings around Christmas in 2014 than you would have liked. During the events you did cater, you may have heard many guests commenting that they “have never heard of you, but your food is great!” This should stem two goals for you; building brand awareness and booking more holiday catering events. After determining your goals, determine what types of marketing would help you achieve each goal independently. Is your target market on Facebook or are they heavy Instagram (who just opened up advertising to more than just a few big-gun brands) users? Do you have a low number of reviews on Google or Yelp? Have you recently updated your website to include content about your ability to cater for holidays? Ask yourself these questions (and many more) then select the marketing outlet to resolve those questions and create a timeline to implement over the next six months. If we were you, we’d suggest focusing on building your brand recognition June through October with a mix (dependent on your audience) of website content updates, Facebook advertising, and SEM. Then late October through December we’d focus on highlighting your holiday catering abilities through Facebook advertising, SEM retargeting, and print ads in local publications that focus on holiday planning (they could include articles on buying the right gift, what to make for Thanksgiving sides, or anything related around holiday planning.) This mix reaches multiple, different audiences as well as focuses on your two different goals.

So why did we pick to focus on building the brand recognition first? As the old saying goes, you have to walk before you can run. It is much harder to book events if no one knows who you are. Customers are more likely to select a catering company they have heard of or one that has positive reviews over a company that appears to have never catered an event before. After you build your brand and the trust of the customer you can start to work on building recognition of your services.

Your goals may be different than our example but the gist of our advice is to gut check where you are. It does not aid you to advertise blindly. Determine where you are and where you’d like to be as a business. Use your marketing mix to achieve your goals. Our suggestion is to be consistent with your look and feel through your marketing mix. If you use stock photos use the same style of stock imagery – don’t use one image on a white background and another of a soft lit, uniquely photographed event. Consistency builds your brand and makes your recognizable.