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In 2016, the Battle for Customers is all about Market Share

According to a recent article in Nation’s Restaurant News there were 61 billion restaurant visits in the US in 2015.  That is a lot of meals, and as can be expected, it is a hard number to grow since it is already so large.  With that in mind, the NPD Group, who did the analysis, expects overall restaurant traffic to grow about 1%.  In fact, NPD is forecasting the same growth rate through 2022, which has significant ramifications for your marketing program.

Bonnie Riggs, an analyst for the NPD Group, said “There are pockets of opportunity, and pockets of growth, but overall it’s still a battle for market share.”

In other words, if you want your restaurant or bar to grow in 2016, and into the future, since NPD is forecasting the same level of growth for the next seven years, you need to take customers from someone else.  People are going to eat out, or go to a bar, so the only real question is which one will they go to? Gaining market share is definitely the name of the game.

The role of a marketing program is to make sure that customers choose you more often, which increases your market share.  Imagine what would happen to your bottom line if all of your customers came in just one more time per month.

To be effective though, and to generate the results that you want, a marketing plan needs to be updated on a regular basis in order to reflect current best practices.  This shouldn’t come as a surprise since restaurants are constantly tweaking their menu to reflect the latest food trends in order to keep their customers interested.  And both bars and restaurants change their interiors relatively often to keep a fresh new look.  Your marketing plan is as important as any of the other aspects of your business but in many cases is not actively maintained.

Remember, the exact opposite of you taking away your competitor’s customers is also in effect at the same time.  In other words, your competitors are going to be actively engaged in trying to take your customers away so that they can grow.  This is a zero sum game that if you don’t win, you will lose.  Gaining market share is all about marketing so find that plan and dig in!

The hottest trend in marketing right now is mobile, and will be for quite some time.  Mobile is where your customers are so you should be there too.  This is a great time to dust off your marketing plan and review how it is working and whether or not it includes a mobile component.   In order to gain market share in 2016 you need to maximize your use of digital marketing, which includes your website, social media, email, text, and of course mobile.

In fact, if done right, mobile should serve as the foundation for your new and improved marketing plan because it is one of the easiest, quickest ways to build a customer database, which is a critical success factor for an awesome digital marketing plan.

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