Chapter 6 Marketing and Advertising

Skip the Newspapers and Magazines–

they are expensive because they have a wide readership (for which you pay) most of whom are not near you.  Once you have selected your location, get a map and draw a 1 kilometre circle around your location.  That is your target market.

There are a number of very good, inexpensive, proven ways to direct market your self, which we teach in our training class. n.

Marketing is –forever!

Marketing is something you will have to do as long as you are in business and if you don’t think so, get your bankruptcy paper ready now. Forever may be longer than you think!


People eat ice cream for fun! Part of the fun is just plain eating it, part is how it looks, how your shop or outlet looks, how your sales staff look and how they treat the customer, how your promotions look and the emotions they generate- in fact there are many subtle entertainment elements involved in making a sale

Develop a marketing plan and factor its costs into your startup.  McDonalds or Baskin Robbins are never far from the public eye, nor should you.  Their promotions are an indicator that the Big Guys think they work.

Marketing can start right at your shop or kiosk. It can consist of buy-3-get-one-free cards, flavor of the month, discount cards, promotion flags or other advertising.  When budgeting allow at least 20% for marketing. This essential subject is covered in much more detail in our eBooks, Ice Cream Dream and in Gelato Maker’s Guide.

A typical buy1-get1 free coupon

Buy 1 get 1 free

You buy something 1-4 times and get something for free. The seller actually does not lose anything on these promotions and in fact still makes money.

There are two basic approaches to promotional offers of this type: the straight discount and the buy X get Y free. The straight discount appeals to kids. The buy X get Y free is for adults. Buy 1 get 1 free is often used during startup and seasonal slowdowns. It is often given as a coupon after the customer buys for the first time, inducing them to buy again. Learn more in our training class.

Generosity: When it comes to promotions, perceived generosity is important. A lot of research has been done on “what is generous?”  Buy up to a maximum of three is “generous.” More is –well . . .


Bundling means you buy something and immediately get something else free. When I was 20 I met this cute girl who was giving away Burger King bundle coupons. She offered me the coupons but it was in fact her I wanted. She liked  me and gave me 5 coupons.  They were for a Whopper with fries and you get a free drink. Typical. But like all coupons, they had an expiration date–one month. So, I ate 5 Burger King Whoppers in one month. Since then I have eaten about 2-3 Whoppers for the last 53 years.  Whoppers created a powerful food habit in me that lasted a lifetime. So, for the cost of 5 Cokes, Burger King sold me 1,900 Whoppers.

Discount card for kids

Holiday special

Never neglect Christmas!

The Raffle

The raffle looks like a free give away (which it is) but in fact is it another variant of the “Stick it in their mouth” marketing approach.  Usually the top prze is a large, trendy toy kids want. When the kid gets the raffle coupon they will make their parents life living hell if they do not take them to the raffle. True, you do have a very large purple dinosaur and hang it from the ceiling and some smaller stuff as top prises and maybe, some T-shirts, but the name of the raffle is ALWAYS:


The reason everyone is a winner is because you give all the other people a free cup of ice cream or other product. make sure it is a hand-out, ready to go, not something you have to scoop–to save time. Thus the raffle is actually a “stick it in their mouth” promotion

The discount club

The discount card is a way to datemine the customer. To get the card, the customer has to list a lot of email contact data, every email address of as many people as you have the nerve to ask for.



These are a treasure trove of marketing and advertising information you can get and you can even boost it up with a 90-day promotional 20% discount. Even offer them to customers who are leaving. Over time this becomes a valuable marketing list you can’t afford to ignore.

Holidays and Special Events

Holidays are a fine time for promotions, which can range from buy X get Y free or a free treat with every purchase. It heavily benefits you to give your staff seasonal hats and costumes for each event.  A special event T-shirt can also be sold. If you can run 50 or more they can be screened on the t-shirt.. if yo ned smaller quantities you can use and iron-on film, but these are more expensive per unit.


Social Networking

Social networking means being socially involved in important community projects such as the National Cancer Society.  These events always want free desserts and stuff and when you give those you are perceived as generous and also you get to meet a whole lot of nice people and network.  Being generous is a reward in itself.  You get to meet other high-minded, successful people.

Doing my job (me) left

Dream Cones Feeding Program: Orphanage for about 250 blind kids

French eclairs and Italian ice cream!

Apple and the ladies

After you have made a list of every single location within 1km of your shop, sit down and think about ho you can market to every single one of them.  the world will not beat a path to the best desserts.  It will beat a path to the best marketed desserts.

Me, making lunch for 2,500 kids