I’m going to let you in on a little secret. None of us here at the store is a Marketing guru. That said, it’s an area that we recognize that we need to get better at and one that we’ve been thinking a lot about lately.

Gone are the days when we can drop off a paper flyer at your house and know that it will lure you through our doors; creating a loyal shopper for years to come. Sure, that’s still the way to go for some people, but as you know, as time passes, paper flyers are becoming less relevant. People can resent what they perceive as our insensitivity to the environment, and the fact that we don’t exactly have our fingers on the pulse of technology.

So what’s a little store like ours to do? Well, I’m glad you asked! Last year, we hired the Business Development Corporation to work with us to develop a “Brand Manual”. It’s a comprehensive guide to help us understand who we are, who we want to be, how to let people know about us and how to attract more business. Building the document was a great experience and it really opened our eyes to the opportunities we have in this marketplace.

There were some changes that, based on what we learned during our workshops with the BDC, we implemented right away. They were things that weren’t prohibitively expensive, but would provide a great return. An example would be the purchase of our new Deli case; along with changes to the menu and a shift in our focus in that department to try to bring in more business. So far, that initiative has worked like a charm. Business in up in the hot foods Deli by 41% over last year.

The challenge we have now is how to let you know about these changes that we’ve made. Word of mouth is great; but we can do more. This is where we non-marketing gurus have to try to get better at getting the word out there. We have to learn “how” to build, and then actually build a marketing plan, and finally we have to implement it. Yikes. Looks like we’d better get good at it fast.

In the meantime, if you have any great ideas for us. Please feel free to share them in the comments.