Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Marketing Option Assessment - Billboards

Billboards are an option not often used by restaurants. It may be because of the perceived high cost. A few calls to the billboard companies made me realize that you can actually get a prime location bill-board for a month for less than a lakh of rupees. Better still, if you are willing to commit immediately, the guys seem flexible with the pricing. An empty bill-broad is simply cost for the owner – so if you can commit quickly, you can get some great value.

If you want to use this medium, go for the best possible location and do it during launch or once you are ready for a large number of customers. Just find an empty billboard (typically these will be bill-boards where the owner has their name/company name and contact info displayed). Ammis Biryani in Bangalore used this medium, quite successfully, I would say.

There are 3 cost components involved with a billboard:

1) The rental - this will range from 30K to 2 lakhs for a month depending on the location of the billboard.
2) The actual material to be used on the billboard - this is the large printed material, typically referred to as a banner. Give the size of these billboards, you will probably need to hire a professional designer to create a high resolution graphic with text, and then print it in a reasonable quality material (referred to as Flex), so it looks good when mounted on the billboard. If you plan to use photos, you will need to hire a professional photographer - point & shoot/personal use digicam pics won't work for the size of a billboard. You should budget between 10K-20K for all of this.
3) Mounting & Dismounting charges - The bill board owner will mount your banner and dismount it for a fee - typically about Rs. 2,500 for each. So budget about 5K for this. You should try to negotiate and include this in the rental, or use this as a means to bring the rental amount down.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Marketing Option Assessment - Advertorials in Newspapers

Advertorials are nothing but paid articles written about your restaurant/product/service in a newspaper. Normal newspaper readers will feel that your business has been featured by the newspaper in an article. In almost all cases, a small footnote is included stating that this is a paid advertorial, but since the footnote is not highly visible, this will look like an unbiased article written by a reporter.

Advertorials are not cheap but will typically cost you less than an ad of the same size, plus give a semblance of an article to the reader. If you are a fine-dining/unique concept restaurant business, you should explore this. The good thing is that the pricing for this is negotiable to a large extent and you can push your way for getting some great value. In my humble opinion, The Times of India seems to aggressively support advertorials, more than others.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Marketing Option Assessment - Just Dial

You can list your business for free on Just Dial – so if someone calls and asks for your restaurant by name, they will provide the caller with the number and address.

They have some paid options, where they will highlight your business on their website and also inform callers about your restaurant if they ask for restaurants of your type of cuisine/in your location. The paid options may be particularly useful for marketing catering/party catering businesses to retail customers as there are no standard brands in the business and a lot of retail customers seem to use Just Dial’s services for such requirements. Their paid options are quite interesting and it may be worthwhile to call them, simply to understand what they can offer you.

If you are a catering business, you probably don’t have an option but to be a big customer of Justdial. If you are a fine dining restaurant, you can seriously explore some of their paid options. For all others, a free listing should suffice.