A few months back, I completed a 4 month project for Mesa 14, a Mexican restaurant in Montreal, to get it the online attention it deserved. I knew first-hand of the product and service quality that the restaurant had to offer. Yet somehow there was a major lack of online exposure and presence.
Putting in a few hours a week, as a brand ambassador, using the readily available free tools (social networks, restaurant directories, Google Places and more) to break through the noise, I was literally able to “put Mesa 14 on the map”.
But that’s not what I want to focus on.
Of the different promotional tactics, the Cinco de Mayo celebration was going to be a benchmark to show that the owner’s and my own time was being wisely used.
The goal was to have the most successful Cinco de Mayo on record.
I should rephrase that.
The Goal of the event was to increase Mesa 14′s online presence while simultaneously increasing both immediate and long-term sales (loyal customers).
This said, while bottom line results would give the boss results to take to the bank, it is the long-term results that are more difficult to quantify and just as important.
More about the actions:
- With the help of a manager, we designed a flyer insert to be placed inside each menu, highlighting the event and Mesa 14′s presence on Twitter and Facebook
- Used social media and internet spaces (including Google places) to help spread the word and get attention.
- Using my social network I got the event get listed on Montreal Buzz, on the “What To Do This Weekend” section.
- I Teamed up with Aimee from Onehundredjobs to walk the streets the day of the event and get people’s attention.
Did I say I had almost no budget?
- Aimee, as part of her 100 jobs for $100, cost only $100
- Along with a friend, Aimee sewed herself an authentic looking Mexican dress
- How much do 160 business cards cost?
- Printing and designing flyers
- My time coordinating
Total costs: Less than $350
So the results…
I should start off with what may be the least important/most important metric of them all: The best Cinco de Mayo in the restaurant’s 6 years.
But just as importantly…
- 160 People put a Mesa 14 business card in their wallets. I watched as everyone who got a card read it, and proceeded to put it in their wallet. How do you quantify that?
- As part of Aimee’s job, she created a short promotional video of Mesa 14
- The pictures posted of the event were viewed over 2000 times on the fanpage
- Aimee also featured the content (both photos and video), as well as a review on her blog
- An increase in number of likes on Facebook and followers on Twitter
It would be very hard to quantify what all this means to the bottom-line, but there is no doubt that there was a very solid return on investment.
How will this show as a return?
- The obvious: There was an immediate return on the night of the event
- The buzz created around this project created an increase in brand awareness
- There was an increased online brand involvement
- Prior to the project, Mesa 14 was on the second page or non existant on Google Maps (for Mexican Montreal & Mexican Restaurant Montreal). As of May, it was 2nd & 3rd overall respectively. (UPDATE: It has since fallen back to the 3rd page on Mexican Restaurant, but remains 4th overall for Mexican, as well as doing well for the French search results. 26/11/10)
The most important thing to take-away from this example: aim to maximize the long-term value of your brand through every marketing action. There is so much opportunity through the use of new media and networking, that with a little creativity, a thin wallet and some good planning, you can carry out great marketing campaigns on a shoestring. These are campaigns that even if they won’t make you rich, they can help you get there.
So the next time you prepare your budget, consider how much you are putting into marketing, into social media and most importantly how much are you creating in long-term brand value.