I don’t know if it was my gastronomic or my economic radar that drew me to an article on Yahoo* about the menu “tricks” used by restaurants. Apart from learning that there is such a thing as an “expert on menu-engineering”, I found several lessons for the B2B marketer:
1) Drop the pound sign
– research on the US found that customers spent 8% more on food when prices didn’t have a dollar sign. Having only numerals dulls the “pain of paying”. The B2B equivalent is to numb the thoughts of the pain of paying by always focussing on the benefits and ROI when price is mentioned.
2) Vivid descriptions
– using the right adjectives can increase food sales by 27%. I’m not suggesting we see a rash of “hand- made, free range IT solutions slowly matured in a value-added landscape, just for you”. But we should never forget the power of language and its ability to trigger responses far deeper than the dictionary definitions.
3) Colours matter
– research from Edinburgh University has shown that colour plays a vital role in the “gaze directing process”. So remember to use colour to draw your B2B target to the most compelling parts on your newsletter, DM or website first.
4) Location, location, location
– studies conducted on eye movements have shown that a reader looks first to the top left hand corner of a page. So, as with use of colour, use this to make sure your most impactful statements are top left.
5) Adding brand-named ingredients
– if a dish uses a brand-name ingredient it can be a powerful boost to sales. So make sure that you have the partnerships that add credibility and value to your proposition and include them rather than hide them in your communications.
6) Using ‘eye magnets’
– eye-tracking studies have also shown that boxes and patterns are prioritised over blocks of text. So yet again, layout will play a big part in your success. Any B2B target will only devote few milliseconds to choose from your menu instead of the dozens of other menus they have in front of them. So instant impact is as important as compelling content.
7) Using ‘Anchors’
– anchors are expensive dishes used to highlight more profitable meals on the menu. A £30 steak next to a £60 lobster salad, looks like a bargain. So in the B2B market, give prospective clients choices but make sure that you group them correctly, especially if your most profitable proposition is not your most expensive.
8) Offering ‘combo’ meal deals
– customers tend to buy ‘combo’ meals, even if the ‘extras’ aren’t worth the additional amount paid. So bundle up your offering into sensible “work packages” and don’t be too concerned about offering multi-save discounts. The bundling alone is a powerful but subtle signal that smaller sizes are not appropriate.
You’ll still need great ingredients and a great chef to be successful in B2B. But with some tips from the restaurant trade, you can increase your chances of success. I’m off to get something to eat now – organic haricot beans in a sundried tomato jus ‘a la Heinz’ served on a bed of gently grilled Hovis anyone?
8 ways a restaurant menu influences what you order