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The simple marketing lesson we can all learn from a multi-million pound sandwich shop and their DIY advertising campaign...

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The simple marketing lesson we can all learn from this multi-million pound sandwich chain and their DIY advertising campaign...

You may be thinking, what can I learn about marketing from a sandwich shop?

Especially if your business is business-to-business (B2B), professional practice or manufacturing.

But, this is a remarkable business, with something to teach us all.

From a standing start in 1986, today there are approximately 250 Pret A Manger shops with a combined turnover of around 350m a year.

They don't franchise, so they have grown solely by opening and operating company owned stores.

Pret A Manger's DIY advertising magic...

Pret A Manger is a first class example of advertising and marketing success achieved by 'making the invisible, visible'.

Simply put, this means that they shout from the rooftops about the myriad of things they do behind the scenes to make their sandwiches, coffee, salads and more.

For example, on the side of their carry bag, they print this message...

It's a bit hard to read in this small image, so here's the message again...

Just Roasted
Like bread, coffee beans go stale. Big coffee companies keep schtum about this. The truth is, after a couple of weeks the flavour goes out the window. Imagine if all milk was 'long life' simply because it suited the distributors. Anyway, we get Just Roasted beans delivered every day to every Pret (any not used go to the compost heap). We grind a generous 14 grammes of Just Roasted into every Pret cup.
Our Baristas are obsessive.
Passion Fact No. 14

On the side of a sandwich box, they have two more messages, this time about their ingredients and the sandwich box itself...

They even have a "Pret Passion Fact" printed on each paper napkin...

What they are doing here is making sure that they miss no opportunity to educate and explain to their customers why it was great idea to spend around 3 on a Pret sandwich.

And why it would be a great idea to keep on coming back day after day to do the same thing.

And let's be clear - they rely on getting office workers to make as many as 10 to 15 visits to their shop each week to make their business work.

The thing is, you could do this as well.

Sure, you may not have 99 Passion Facts like Pret. But could you write down 5, 7 or even 10?

If you do, then you'll have begun the vitally important task of setting your business apart from your competitors.

You'll be giving your customers reasons to choose you, compelling reasons to come back and to continue using you, and reasons to refer you to other potential customers.

And you'll have some fantastic material (copy) to use...

  • On your Website
  • In your sales proposals and quotes
  • In your emails
  • At point of sale (for business-to-consumer like Pret)
  • In your advertising
  • In fact, in all of your marketing collateral.

The thing is, your "Passion Facts" don't even need to be unique to your business.

Often, you just have to be the first one to describe what happens 'behind the scenes', to get the competitive advantage.

You do that by making the invisible visible.

Go on, give it a go today and come up with just 5 things that your business does that benefit your customers that you don't tell them about.

Here are some idea starters...

  • Maybe you use a more expensive component in manufacturing (perhaps brass instead on the standard steel) because although it costs you more, it gives the customer 10 years of failure free operation, rather than the typical 5?
  • Perhaps you insist on employing graduates with at least 5 years experience, whereas your competitors typically employ newly graduated people, who are learning on the job. You pay more for your people, but your clients get better results, faster?
  • Maybe you have invested in expensive IT systems that eliminate or minimise mistakes, that get the work done faster, that produces better reports and information for clients?

The thing is - if you are going the extra mile, if you've made the extra investment, have better systems, use better (but more expensive) components and FAIL to tell your clients and potential clients - then that is plain crazy.

People crave information. Correction, BUYERS crave information.

Information that helps them make wiser, better decisions.

Give it to them, and your marketing will fly. Keep it to yourself, and you'll be forced to compete on price, and price alone, and will be considered as 'just another supplier'.

Pret A Manager takes every opportunity to tell, sell, explain, educate and inform their customers.

The Result?

They are a thriving business. They don't compete on price. They are growing fast (11% like-for-like increase in 2010). They have a hugely loyal customer base. 

And their main form of marketing is their DIY point-of-sale advertising that makes the invisible visible.

Visit a Pret soon, buy yourself a coffee and get a hugely valuable insight into great marketing and DIY advertising.

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