International Pizza Expo comments

Well I thought it was another great show! I found some new products picked up a lot of marketing ideas went into some great educational semminars and networked with alot of people in the business. Beer and bull was great to bad I had to miss the second one but after my session I had to go pick up my wife from the Miracle mile and take her back to the Monte Carlo to get ready and by the time we got back it was over but I heard that one was great as well. It was good to see some of you and hope next year to see even more of you!

I too thought it was a great show. Several “buzz” topics were heard over and over throughout the show… Social Networking, Gluten Free, and Text message marketing. I’m happy to say that I’m on board for the first two, but for me, the jury’s still out for the 3rd. I think I’ll wait a little bit to see how receptive the consumers are to Text Message marketing. What’s pretty cool about all three of these topics is that they’ve been already discussed pretty extensively in this Think Tank. I guess it’s fair to say that this board is on the pulse to this industry.

One of the reasons I did a semminar on social media was because of the amount of people that have asked me about it over the last year. It is such an easy way to put your name in customers minds and its free! I have been looking into text messaging and will be doing some research on it over the next year but I think from what I have learned so far is people have to sign up for it if they want it so it is not evasive for your customers unless you send stuff out every day, but if you keep it to 3 or 4 times a month you could be ok.

I’ve posted the Burke’s Social Media Guide featured at the International Pizza Expo on SlideShare.

The guide features ways for you to connect with your customers through social media as well as our new blog, Out of the Oven.

If you are interested in a printed copy, please PM me your address and I will mail you one.

I gave text message marketing a 6 month trial run and was not impressed. It was VERY difficult to get customers to sign up unless we gave away something for free in return. The opt-out rate, after they got their free item, was huge. Of course there was nothing to stop them from signing up again and getting another free item - which people did with surprising frequency. E-mail signup on the other hand is simple. I just put a sign up sheet on my counter and people can’t grab the pen fast enough.

Redemption rates were very poor and never crossed the threshold to generate a positive ROI.

More and more people are carrying smart phones and that trend is not about to reverse. If you’re sending out offers through e-mail, Twitter or Facebook, a growing number of people are getting them on their phone anyway.

I’d say text message marketing was right up there with my major marketing duds.

For more information about the Expo and to get the point of view of a pizzeria owner from Florida check out the blog From New York to Florida.