Where do / would you allocate your marketing budget?

Hey everyone,

I just finished revamping my marketing plan, and thought I would solicit the tank to see what marketing avenues each of us invests in. I tried to list as many as I could think of, even if I do not use it, but included other just in case. The poll allows for multiple votes so please select any marketing you participate in.

I believe you need to do a bit of nearly all of the above. I didn’t check Facebook Advertising because we spend only a few hundred a year of it. I have have limited return on TV ads so I stopped doing that a few years back. Doorhanging works well but I’m too old and tired to try to make sure they get out properly. I also believe that more and more people are starting to get turned off at a business having strangers litter their property with ads.

Coupon books constitute the majority of my marketing budget but I supplement it with a healthy dose of direct mailing and database mailing. Free pizzas to charities as well as marketing with free pizzas has worked very well. In the other category, don’t forget boxtoppers and magnets. A magnet with every order will do wonders for long term success. We had a customer come in yesterday and drop off 20+ magnets that they have had covering their fridge for a few years. They’re moving to another state and wanted to “recycle” their magnets. We won’t reuse them as far as sending them out with orders but I will put them on the tailgate of my truck and people will “steal” them off of it and bring them home and put them on their own fridge.

I am kinda biased but you missed fridge magnets and stadium cups…Also, car wraps, point of sale signage, t-shirts, table tent cards, buttons, pre-paid punch cards, etc…Now some of these might be included in the above choices…

Now as far as my 1st pick, it would be door hanging…Next, car wraps…Next, point of sale signage…Next, magnets…

32 weeks out of the year I do menu mailings via EDDM. My biggest investment however would hit the “other” category by investing in 1 to 2 extra drivers every dinner rush and bonuses for driver performance to have the best delivery service in my areas. I count it in my advertising budget!

We are in a resort market so we spend a significant amount of money on several things that are not on your list:

  1. In room guides
  2. Yellow Pages
  3. Free pizzas to front desk, concierge and shuttle drivers
  4. Chamber membership
  5. In person visits to all lodging properties and deals to them for staff meetings.

@Dale a question: How many pieces is a typical mailing for you when you are doing them 32 weeks a year? How often is each address getting a mailing in a year?

do you guys regularly use every door direct mail. I have been looking into this, in lieu of hand delivering all of our door hangers…

Gilbert, I usually try to hit each house in my trade area twice per year, which for me means somewhere between 1500-1800 per week. I do skip Thanksgiving, and Christmas week since we are closed those days. I do my database mailings (<30, 31-60, and 61+) mailings the first day of each month (and I mail them out Tuesday for Wednesday).

“32 weeks out of the year I do menu mailings via EDDM. My biggest investment however would hit the “other” category by investing in 1 to 2 extra drivers every dinner rush and bonuses for driver performance to have the best delivery service in my areas. I count it in my advertising budget!”

What are your driver performance guidelines and what are the bonus amounts you give?


I hate to sound like an idiot. But here goes. what do you mean when you say twice per year…every six months? Also, what do you mean by database mailings, <30,31-60, and 61+…

really? the yellow pages? that’s not dead yet?

their are no stupid questions…only stupid people. lol just kidding, just kidding! that’s actually a good question i didn’t know what it was ether when i started out. 30,60,90 or <30,31-60, and 61+ is a type of flyer marketing… pull reports for people that haven’t ordered in 30 to 60 days and offer them something small like free garlic knots… 60 to 90 days offer them something bigger like free wings…then 90+ ya offer them something big like free pizza… for example…we started doing this when we first opened but i didnt have much of a database…im gonna start looking into doing this again.

I get the impression cash is not something you have a lot of too spend…So hand delivering your own menu, at least in the short term, might spread your investment out better…

Also, you might want to do an A/B split…By that I mean print 2 menus…For example, 1 with deals and 1 without…Deliver each to different areas of town…Measure your response and adjust accordingly…It was my experience (although not very recent) that by increasing frequency on menus without deals, I could generate higher margin sales…But it did take more investment (more frequency) to do it…Finding the “sweet spot” does take some experimenting…You need to be diligent in recording and interpreting your data…


Never worry about asking questions, that’s what everyone is here for, we all started somewhere.

By twice per a year I mean each house is receiving my menu twice in a calendar year. For maths purpose lets say there were 25,000 houses into trade area. I divide those houses by 25 weeks (52 weeks a year less 2 holiday weeks which I don’t mail, is 50 weeks, and I want to hit each house twice in the year so I divide if by 2). So 25 weeks to hit 25,000 houses means I would mail 1,000 per week. Now EDDM doesn’t allow you to get that exact ( because route sizes vary), so one week maybe 1400 and another 600, but the complete mailing cycle takes 25 weeks and then starts over.

As for the <30, 31-60, and 61+ mailings, those are database mailings. When someone orders most point of sales keep a record of their order. Likewise most ( if they are worth their cost) will allow you to pull up reports showing customer frequency (how long it has been since they ordered). I print 3 lists, one for customers who ordered within the last 30 days, another for those who ordered more than 30 days (hence 31) but no more than 60 days ago, and one last one for those who haven’t ordered in at least 60 days (61+). I print the labels with their mailing addresses and attach each one to a postcard depending on their category. The <30 gets a standard flyer, with our monthly specials and coupons to encourage another order. For 31-60 (because most people order once per month, not all but most for me), I send a slightly more aggressive postcard. Maybe a free bread side coupon or something, to encourage an order. 61+ usually means for one reason or another they aren’t ordering from us by choice ( yes they may be the rare ever 3 month pizza eater, but that is less common), so for them I send a “We miss you” style post card, encouraging them to let us know if there were any issues on their last order etc, and something more aggressive like a free pizza with purchase coupon or something.

I have found that the ROI on database mailings is a lot better for me than EDDM, because they are familiar with the product and a lot of times just need that reminder, and are likely to look at your piece. However the EDDM is also vital because it reaches new customers to add to my database.

One other database mailing I use that I have received compliments on is our “New Customer” cards, which are sent out each Monday to customers who ordered from us for the first time. It essential says, “Welcome to the Uncle Nick’s Pizza Family” and something along the lines of, "Thank you for your order, I hope that we were able to not only meet but exceed your expectations. If there were any issues please do not hesitate to contact me directly at ----------, and I will do my best to correct the problem. We hope to hear from you again soon! Flip this card over for a special “Thank you” offer on your next order.

I hand sign each card, and it contains a coupon for a free bread side (I sometimes experiment with different offers but that is my standard). A lot of times I have been told it was the extra push to make them a customer for life.

If you have any questions, feel free to PM me and I would be more than happy to help however I can!

It has been a long time since I sold pizza, but I recall that when I had a store in a small market (no deals) hitting each house every 3 or 4 weeks seem to be best…Prior to that I worked in a larger city where deals seemed to be a “must” and we hit each house every 6 or 7 weeks…The best results can only be gained by testing and diligent recording and interpreting of your data…



Referring to the EDDM? I was doing it about every 8 weeks but it seemed to expensive (just under 1,000 a week, about 34000 houses over 8 weeks).

Is that typical?

You can only answer that question when you look at your own data and find your “sweet spot”…I generally think increasing frequency and decreasing offers brings more to the bottom line…But every market is so different you need to test to see where you need to land…If you are in huge market with lots of competition, your 2x a year might get lost…So there could be other ways to do things…Maybe selling prepaid fund raising cards that you make nothing on but adds names to your data base so you get do targeted marketing…

We found that marketing was an exercise in consistency. Whenever we did one-offs, we busted. When we had a rolling plan to keep in the public mind, we got a markedly better revenue impact.

Something happened every month from top down. That may be participating in a news-covered event, ads in a an annual magazine, a quarterly direct mail newsletter or direct mail pieces, others. Something went to every address 3-4 times a year plus larger indirect marketing. We had an email list, full color glossy menues, car signs.

There are all sorts of coverage strategies, but keep something always happening and varied.

I pay drivers bonuses on total runs in a shift - $5 at 25 an additional at 35 etc. This usually motivates them to want to stay rather than complain to leave when it is near the end of their shift. So more of an every day real performance bonus rather than an arbitrary evaluation. I also use vacation hour credits as a way to give raises based on the arbitrary stuff…lol.

I do 8 weeks on then 8 weeks off in all 3 of my shops. The 2 bigger shops where i have 32k addresses I am doing 2500-3000 a week and in my other shop it is about 1500-2000. Works great and although there may be cheaper things to do none that I have tried have worked as well and since I am trying to break out of the coupon dependancy that my chain likes and my menu is much larger than my fellow franchisees I am getting way higher tickets, etc. Topped with killer to the door service times and I have posted a 85 weeks in a row beating last year by 25% or more (in one shop).

2 times per year for every address.

I tried this for a little while, but the problem I came up with for our location was the issues of

  • multiple customers for the same address
  • wrong / incorrect spelling for customer accounts

How do you address these with your POS? Do you use generic greetings on your mailing label? Do you sometimes send multiple postcards to the same address if multiple people ordered? I am sure we could make the changes with our order takers, just not sure how much more time it would take to gather that correct data.