Using pizza to sell printing

February 7, 2011 · 0 comments

pizza boxes on display from a recent Pizza Friday at our offices in Fargo

Here’s one of my all-time favorite marketing ideas presented with a new twist. For over 20 years, I have used a once-a-month team-building event called “Pizza Fridays” at my company. Here’s how it works: On the last Friday of every month, we always had a pizza party for my crew at Express Press. I’d buy pizza, potato chips, a couple of sides like potato salad and baked beans, a nice tossed salad, a few liters of soda pop, and a simple dessert like cookies. The food was really good, but it was just common everyday stuff, and it didn’t really cost a lot of money.

My employees really liked Pizza Friday. It was an extremely popular fringe benefit and morale builder for our crew. Every Pizza Friday was a festive event, and on that day there was always a lot of laughter in the print shop. It seemed like everybody enjoyed coming together once a month over a meal. To mix it up a little bit, sometimes I’d let different employees — or departments — decide where they’d buy the pizza and the other treats. It added to the fun because sometimes my press operators would be in charge of Pizza Friday, and they would always do it way differently than the women who worked at our front counter and design department.

Today, if you visit our offices in Fargo on the last Friday of any month around lunchtime, you can help yourself to the free pizza because we have continued this fun tradition. In case you’re wondering, it doesn’t really cost much to do this. Depending on the size of your company, you can expect to pay about $5 per person on the low side, and about $10 per person on the high side. That’s not much money considering the tremendous amount of goodwill it creates for you and your printing firm.

Along the way, we discovered a way to use Pizza Friday to help us build sales and create loyalty among our print-buying customers.

Once during a Pizza Friday party, everybody was having so much fun I found myself wondering if we could do a Pizza Friday for some of our better customers. I couldn’t get the idea out of my head, so I asked some of my customer service people if they would be interested in doing a Pizza Friday party for some of their favorite customers. They loved the idea! And thus began the Express Press Pizza Friday marketing program.

Every couple of months, we would call one of our best customers and announce that they had been chosen as the winner of the Express Press Pizza Friday Award. We would ask their permission to allow us to bring pizza and all of the trimmings to their company’s lunchroom, where we would offer it as a free thank you gift to their employees. This was a very unique event, and our customers would almost always say something like, “Wow, nobody’s ever done anything like that for us before!”

You can probably understand the tremendous marketing potential of this idea. It was easy to do, it was very popular, it was memorable and different, and it really impressed our clients… and their employees. If you look at the picture above, you’ll notice how the pizza boxes are open. We used that space in the box lids to tape a really nice thank you message from our printing firm to the company who was receiving the pizza. When all of their employees were going through the little buffet line to pick out their pizza, they had to read these “sales messages” from us. Just a simple “Thank you for choosing us to be your printer! From your friends at Express Press” was all that was needed.

Have you ever thought about using pizza to sell printing? Just in case you might be thinking this is a little too much trouble to do, let me share a comment from the general manager of one of the manufacturing firms we did this for. About an hour after we dropped off a Pizza Friday Party at his garage door manufacturing company, he called me to say thanks and added, “That’s pretty clever, Mike. My employees told me if these guys are going to bring us pizza we better not EVER buy printing somewhere else.” And to the best of my knowledge, he never did.

Maybe you should consider doing Pizza Fridays for a few months at your printing firm to create some enthusiasm among employees — and then, why not take the party to your best customers?

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