When Strategy and Tactics Don’t Mesh, You Get Ruth’s Chris Steak for -50%

On Saturday afternoon, the management team of Ruth’s Chris Steak House in Ann Arbor, MI had a bad case of indigestion.

That’s because they faced a week of giving 50% discounts on every check.

Read on for the explanation and marketing analysis, but first the headline.

This is why you need Marketing Discipline. Strategy first, then tactics.


The Promotion

Ruth’s Chris Steak House (Ann Arbor, MI) decided to implement a sports marketing promotion tied to the local University of Michigan football team.

Beginning with Saturday’s game and running for the rest of the season, the upscale eatery would offer percentage discounts equivalent to the Wolverines’ margin of victory. For example, a 17-point win would mean a 17% discount.

The “Score Big” promo would be in effect, after the game, Sunday through Thursday. Continue reading

Smart Differentiation Powers Wholesale Fish Purveyor

You wouldn’t expect to hear “differentiation” and “wholesale fish” in the same sentence.

Until now.

Credit: Red's Best.

Credit: Red’s Best.

Boston entrepreneur Jared Auerbach created a company that brands wholesale fish under the Red’s Best name. He’s combined brand management, technology, a keen understanding of end users and storytelling to craft his go-to-market business strategy: Continue reading

Why Your Business Needs “Marketing Discipline”

This isn’t about the kind of discipline you get in the principal’s office.

I’m talking the good kind of discipline here, what I refer to as Marketing Discipline. You’d better have some in your business, or don’t be surprised when the CEO calls for the wrong reasons.

To me, the concept of Marketing Discipline is a fundamental criterion of success. Yet, with the unrelenting focus and fascination on shiny new tactics, the discipline part of marketing often gets lost in the wash. Continue reading

Inside Look: How to Make the “Special Sauce” of Excellent Customer Service

Winning ideas stand out to me, even when enjoying a fine dinner of fresh grouper and a glass of red wine.

So it was recently at Duval’s restaurant in Sarasota, FL, where I was impressed by the shared responsibility, customer service teamwork of the staff.

According to  Joshua Halbrucker, the restaurant’s General Manager/Partner, their approach is simple:

“Treat every customer like they are your mother (and if you don’t like your mother… haha, treat them like someone you love dearly and would do anything for).”

Duval's Logo

Our waiter orchestrated the evening and was our primary service provider. He was friendly and effective. Where Duval’s stood out, though, was the totality of service provided. The entire team, regardless of title or role, formed a rapid-response customer service unit. Whenever someone passed by our table, he/she did so attentively and ready to act. For instance:

  • Need more bread? Coming right up.
  • Low on water? Be right back.
  • Appetizers finished? I’ll clear your plates.

It was customer-focused versatility in action, all geared to make sure that Duval’s provided us with an excellent dining experience. As one of the managers told me after dinner: “I tell the team to look at the tables as you walk by and if the customers need something, take care of it.”

A few days later, I reached out to Joshua Halbrucker to learn more about the restaurant’s operating philosophy. He answered my questions via email. Look for a number of marketing and business nuggets, some of which I’ve highlighted, followed by my three takeaways for your company. Continue reading