The other night a new pizza place in my area caught my eye.
It’s a small, family-run joint offering eat-in and take-out wood-fired Italian pizzas (even typing that makes me hungry. Wood-fired… mmm)
The owner seems like a smart fella – he sold me on a take-out pizza in next to no time…
And it wasn’t until I was back home with sauce on my shirt and a too-big-for-the-damn-bin box on my hands that I realized he’d used some pretty smart marketing tactics to make that sale.
And me, a marketer, ‘sold’ without noticing?
Congrats, I thought. I’m usually pretty alert to this sort of thing.
Here’s how he did it, and why you should use the Pizza-Master’s marketing savvy in your own offers…
I was walking by, thinking about grabbing a take-out from a new Chinese place that’s opened up just up the street, which I’d heard good things about.
Stopping outside the also-new pizza place, I paused for a moment to peek in the window. At this point, pizza as an alternative to noodles had only just entered my head.
But, unsure if I needed a whole damn pizza to myself, I prepared to move on.
Just then, the Pizza-Master pops out of the door with a smile and hands me a menu…
“Pizza my friend? Wood-fired, family recipe, best you ever tasted!”
With the menu now in my hand and a pretty good pitch in my mind, I found myself stuck to the spot…
Maybe that whole damn pizza to myself wasn’t such a bad option? (I had been for a run that morning so, y’know, these things even themselves out, right? Right? Right.)
The guy had spotted me ‘on the fence’, delivered his offer with a couple of attractive features including a ‘family recipe’ USP, and got his marketing materials into my hand.
He seemed enthusiastic but not desperate – and looking inside, I could see the place wasn’t empty either, which was reassuring.
So I browsed the menu, followed him in, and ordered a £9.50 Picante.
Not having any cash on me, I asked if I could pay with my card? No problem at all – but there was a £10 minimum card spend, so I said I’d head up to the cashpoint a couple of minutes away.
“Well, you could sit down and order a Coke or a coffee for while you wait – that’ll take it above £10” says Pizza-Master…
Smart move – he didn’t want me to leave the shop and risk losing a sale to his Chinese rival near the cashpoint.
Nice upsell my friend…
I hardly ever go for an upsell, but it seemed like a nice idea to sit and have a drink while I read the paper and waited for my pizza.
So I ordered a Coke and sat down.
Next, I noticed that not only did he pass on my order to the cook in Italian, he was also speaking Italian to his other staff, like the girl sitting near me doing some paperwork, so I got a sense of authenticity…
I mean, surely they couldn’t all be faking it, like the flamboyant ‘Italian’ waiters of my 10th birthday party in that pizzeria in Cleethorpes?
(Ok, that one guy back then clearly faked the accent, he was about as Italian as brown ale, and the memory of being duped always stuck with me.)
While I waited, I overheard Pizza-Master tell another customer who’d ordered a coffee how he’d make sure her pizza wasn’t cooked until a few minutes’ time, to save it going cold in the box while she drank her coffee.
So now he’s putting himself out for the customer – she seemed to appreciate it, and I noticed it too.
Another smart move…
…demonstrating the extra effort he’s prepared to make.
Lastly, when my pizza was ready, he made sure to tape a takeaway menu to the box – ensuring I had their details for next time.
The pizza was pretty good, too – nowhere near the best I’ve ever had, but so smoothly marketed I didn’t feel any ‘buyers remorse’.
(Although I did feel a slight twinge of shame when my girl came home from work later and saw an empty 13” pizza box, but that’s beside the point. I went for a run that day, dammit, it all evens itself out, right? Right…)
Anyway, I’ll be going back.
Pizza-Master, you got yourself a new customer.
Here’s a recap of Pizza Master’s simple but effective marketing lessons we can all use, online or off:
- Delivered a clear offer to a hungry crowd (of one greedy copywriter)
- Included some distinctive features
- Emphasized their USP
- Showed enthusiasm – not desperation
- Reassured me with social proof (customers eating in the window seats)
- Avoided losing a sale by countering payment-related objections
- Made a relevant upsell
- Demonstrated authenticity (ok, if they turn out to be from anywhere but Italy I’ll be miffed, but that’s my problem…)
- Showed willingness to go the extra mile
- Ensured I knew how to place my next order (takeout menu)