Business and Operations
Piece of cake
November 5, 2013 By Tony Medeiros Cantor Bakery
Advertising can be a daunting task for a local bakery. I tried
traditional routes such as flyers, local newspapers, radio and
Groupon-like campaigns. Most were not successful. It’s hard to know what
is the best way to attract customers.
Advertising can be a daunting task for a local bakery. I tried traditional routes such as flyers, local newspapers, radio and Groupon-like campaigns. Most were not successful. It’s hard to know what is the best way to attract customers. I decided to go back to the drawing board and make a whole new plan.
In the 1970s, Hostess ran a full-page ad in comic books for about a decade. These ads featured Marvel and DC comic book heroes eating their products and saving the day. Twinkies became a household name because kids demanded these products with the help of placement in comic books. Comic books have come a long way. Many cities throughout North America try to emulate the San Diego Comiccon. It has become a mecca for all things comic. I have an extensive line of comic book related theme cakes that needed exposure. What is the best way to get my message across? I decided to go to Comiccon and show my cakes.
The Montreal Comiccon was the ideal place to set up shop and showcase our line of themed cakes. It was a three-day festival of movie and comic book personalities that gathered to celebrate their uniqueness among 43,000 other people. People dressed up as their favourite heroes or created their own heroes and paraded throughout the show.
I created a character called Cakeman for the event. For three days, from 9 a.m. until night, my sister Rosa and I distributed more than 3,000 business cards and explained our line of cakes to people. We were the only bakery in a sea of comic book related merchandise. There was a buzz about Cakeman and it attracted a large crowd of people to our stand. It was an exciting event that wiped me out physically but it was worth every penny.
To hold on to our following of new customers, I created a simple system I call the Four C’s of cake advertising: 1. Cake (the main ingredient), 2. Creativity (hire a person who is an excellent cake decorator), 3. Communication (deliver hands-on communication with the customer at all times), and 4. Cost (give the best price available to the client).
With these Four C’s in mind, I created a simple online business plan that is easily accessed by computer and smartphone. The website had to be bilingual and easy to navigate. Our best cakes had to be online with visible prices. I wanted to be transparent about cost from the beginning. Through my new campaign, it became apparent that I had to deliver the cakes also. Most people are willing to spend close to $50 on a cake. At that price, I am willing to deliver it. However, I rewarded those who picked up the cake with a $5 discount on their next order. I wanted to have a personal exchange with all my cake customers so I created a mailing list of more than 1,000 new potential clients. People have a choice of either calling me on my cellphone or communicating online with me 24/7. If you keep only business hours, you will lose a big chunk of your business to others who are willing to go the extra mile. I truly believe service above all brings you repeat business. Here are some links related to my new campaign: www.cakeman.ca , www.montrealcakes.ca and www.gateauxmontreal.ca .
The persona of Cakeman is more than a website that sells cakes. It is also a site that educates people about cake-related themes through famous quotes and videos about cake making. I have a contest that runs each month where I give away three free cakes, each worth $50. Participants can easily join online by subscribing to our Cakeman site. I find that cake always brings a smile to those celebrating a birthday. Cakeman wants to be that person that brings a little joy to people at the best price so that people have a bit more to spend on other things in life.
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