Restaurant Marketing Plans: Should You Give Your Competitors Your Marketing Plan?

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I am often struck by how secretive some organizations want to be when it comes to their restaurant marketing plans.  While there certainly are some proprietary elements of every restaurant marketing plan, for the most part, if they are written correctly, they should prove utterly useless to competitors. Take for example the three largest submarine sandwich franchises.  What would happen if all three traded copies of their marketing plans with their competitors?

Brand Personality in the Restaurant Marketing Plan

Great restaurant marketing plans focus on the brand personality, brand promise, brand positioning and the brand story.  Effective restaurant marketing is about leveraging points of difference.  If a restaurant marketing strategy is correctly conceived, it should be competitor-proof.  If the competitors tried to implement the same strategy, it shouldn’t work for them because the brand attributes and brand strategy are so different that a competitor can’t replicate it even if they had the blueprints. 

Beyond the strategy, the other components of the plan are tactical and tactics always come down to execution.  Those who conceive the tactics are often in a better position to execute them than someone reading the tactics in a marketing plan or manual. I’m not suggesting that our clients or you actually publish your complete restaurant marketing plan.  What we are suggesting is that the restaurant marketing plan should be conceived with this general mantra in mind – the best restaurant marketing plans only work for your restaurants, not your competitors.  When you build a plan from this disposition, you tend to focus in on marketing strategy and tactics that best communicate your brand personality, brand positioning, brand promise, and brand story – and plans that do that are always the most effective. 

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