revenue with businesses, schools and social organizations, thus
providing a consistent boost to your business.
Customer Prospect Zones
You’re probably wondering, “What the heck is a customer prospect zone?” Think of the saying “Birds of a feather flock together.” Customer prospect zones are specific sections of your
market where pizza eating prospects are clustered together.
Families with kids tend to live near other families with kids,
while single people in their 20s and 30s want to live near other
people their age. Similarly, older people tend to live near other
older people as neighborhoods transition from family-oriented
households to empty nesters, then to retirees and, eventually,
back to young families again, at which time the cycle begins
anew. By knowing where these clusters are, you can target your
marketing message directly to them and generate big sales
without wasting marketing dollars.
One pizzeria operator was sending out shared-mail flyers to
20,000 households that stretched more than three miles from
his store. He was getting minimal bang for his buck with these
ads, generating about 200 orders (a 1% response). A market analysis revealed a cluster of households (about 600 homes) located
a half-mile from his store in a single postal carrier route. Nearly
80% of these households had kids, obviously a prime indicator
for pizza consumption. Talk about customer prospects! A single
direct mailer was sent to this carrier route, and the pizzeria generated more than 200 orders with a very high ticket average,
creating substantially more revenue than the shared mailer that
had gone to 20,000 homes! It was found that the original shared
mailer had not been delivered to this more desirable 600-home
cluster because the cluster was located in a different ZIP code
than those targeted by the pizzeria operator. Had he known his
market better, he could’ve targeted that one lucrative carrier
route from the beginning and pocketed a lot more cash.
Asking the Right Questions
Important demographic information can be gleaned from several sources, but keep this tip in mind: When obtaining demographic data, zero in on the smallest geographic area possible.
If the information is available only by ZIP code, that’s OK, but if
you can narrow the data down to the carrier route level (several
carrier routes make up a ZIP code), that’s even better. Here’s
the basic information you want to collect:
• Number of households by carrier route in the one-mile radius around your store. Determine this information by using simple, rough boundaries, such as “North
Boundary—Main Street” and “South Boundary—First Street.”
• Median age of residents in those carrier routes.
“Median” means that half the group will be above the median
number and half will be below. Median numbers are considered more accurate than average numbers.
• Percentage of households with children by carrier
route. It’s helpful, but not necessary, to break this down by
• Median income by carrier route.
• Location of apartment complexes. Use common sense
here but focus on the apartment complexes with a younger,
Steve Dartt is a strategic partner for Creative Stream Marketing, a full-service marketing and communications company
( creativestreammarketing.com). Dartt focuses on the pizza
and restaurant industries and has been helping pizza operators sell more pizzas for more than 25 years, including a long
stint as director of marketing for Marco’s Pizza.