Many social media experts will have you believe that content is the key to successful marketing messages. There is a great deal to be said for that. Don’t forget, however, that regardless of content type, you might as well not generate any content at all if your message misses the mark on creating an action. That is why you need to tap into human behavior and understand what truly motivates people. It’s not the telling, selling or the yelling. It’s about what emotionally position us for action.
While I can flap my gums for hours about how to craft a catchy tagline, none of it means jack squat if I don’t speak to the consumer’s needs and interests.
So let’s take a quick look at the psychological and behavioral effects of food and restaurants. For this exercise we are trying to get people to “like” a Facebook page. The marketers among you are already thinking about contests, slogans and gimmicks to drive traffic through the front door. Those are great goals and certainly where we ultimately want to end up with our marketing message and strategic directives.
But what I want you to understand is how to tap into the psychological/behavioral elements of your consumer in a way that triggers an interest in your location, product or service. So when you think of food, a restaurant, or a culinary destination, start at the beginning. From the perspective of the customer:
- Overall cleanliness
- A speciality
- A robust wine/drink list
- The attractiveness of the staff
- Deals, coupons, etc. — perception of value
- The amount of food you receive
- Thematic styling or ambience
- Attention to detail
- Customer service
- Speed or timing of food
- Flexibility of menu revisions
- Geographic proximity to my home/office
- Rotating menu options and specials
- Trust based on consistency
- Cuisine / regionality (i.e. Italian, Mexican, Mediterranean)
- Friends’ recommendations
- Historical connection to an area
- Product consistency
- Notable Chef
- Charitable organization
- Defined menu (i.e. gluten-free, vegan, etc.)
All of these will create varying degrees of connection for the customer. And while many marketers take it upon themselves to think that the more of these elements they stack on top of one another, the more enticing it will become – nothing could be further from the truth. The simple truth to this complex equation is that food, like travel or entertainment, is a massive, multi-vertical business with different triggers for different users.
Persona development, which is more than we can tackle in this particular post, is often how advertisers zero in on the sweet spot of their messaging. I won’t recommend persona development for all products and services. But it certainly stands to reason that even when done at a basic level for something as complex as food, it is not a bad idea.
The biggest question you need to ask yourself is: Who is the perfect customer? Once you have a firm understanding of who this customer is, then you can attend to creating the perfect recipe of desirable messaging for them.