Marketing Mise en Place
Business: The Apple Cart
You’ve heard of mise en place . It’s a concept that cooks know well, meaning “everything in its place”; it’s the prep work that makes the difference between skating through service like a pro and going down in flames. It’s pre-portioned proteins, bain-maries of sauce, and herbs picked from their stems. Without these details set in advance, a cook will find herself weeded in a way that won’t let up until the last plate goes out.
As I’ve moved along in my professional career, I’ve found a new kind of “mise”: Marketing Mise en Place, the tools a business needs to tell its story in a way that captures the attention of its intended audience. After helping dozens of entrepreneurs take an idea from concept to store shelves or bricks and mortar, I’ve realized that this Marketing Mise en Place is something that every single one of them needs, and here’s a peek at what’s in it:
Buckets of Copy - You’ll find yourself answering the same questions and making the same statements about your business so often that you’ll wonder if you’re in a never-ending episode of Westworld.
Capture your most-used snippets in an application where your team can access them easily. Make different “buckets” for your backstory, media talking points, answers to FAQ about your ingredients and nutritional info, catering policies, directions for booking reservations and fulfilling wholesale orders, plus thank you notes to new or returning customers. You might not necessarily want all of this information on your website, but having it at your fingertips will make answering routine inquiries faster and, most importantly, consistent.
Press Kit - Don’t let the name intimidate you; press kits are pretty simple. Ours starts with a press list, organized by region, that includes bloggers, “influencers,” and contacts at Richmond Region Tourism and the Virginia Tourism Corporation.
Next comes a press release template. We follow a basic structure, including the date of release, an opening paragraph with a juicy lede, a paragraph with quotes followed by more detailed information, contact info, and a boilerplate.
Finally, we create a Dropbox folder of relevant images: the business logo, the business owner and location, plus a few meticulously curated and beautiful images of the food itself.
Marketing Materials - These are the take-out menus, wholesale menus, postcards, door-hangers, business cards, and all the little swaggy bits that you send out into the world to represent your brand. Get the design work squared away in advance, and keep printed materials neatly organized in one place (not the trunk of your car). Label the design files by project and date on your computer, and track these items in your inventory, so you can restock when you start running low.
Events Calendar - We have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to food-related events in Richmond. That’s why we started an ongoing web-based calendar (that is color-coded, of course), which includes festivals and trade shows and the approximate due dates for their applications.
We make notes in March to start thinking about events in June, and if we haven’t heard from an event coordinator a few months prior to an event, we email her to make sure we haven’t missed it. After each event, we go back into the description to add notes like, “sold 250 macarons in three hours,” so we have a record that helps us prepare in the future.
You’d be amazed at how much we can accomplish with those four tools. Marketing is mostly task work with a few moments of brilliance thrown in, and having your mise en place set in advance can make all the difference between marketing-made-easy and sheer drudgery.