The happy marketing story of the big fat pig

happy marketing story

This is a happy marketing story. It’s short and sweet and I love it so much because it represents marketing the way it should be done for a small business in the heart of a marketing rebellion.

Let me talk about the photo at the top of this post.

That’s me with Jeff Corbin, the owner of The Tie-Dyed Pig a relatively new barbecue joint in Radford, VA. I was visiting this little college town to do a guest lecture there at the invitation of my longtime friend Dr. Gary Schirr. Gary knows I love BBQ — especially beef brisket — and he had a treat in store for me.

When we walked into the cozy restaurant, the first thing you see is this giant pig. A significant amount of floor space that could have been serving paying customers is devoted to the towering fiberglass swine.

“What is this?” I asked owner Jeff Corbin.

“That there is my marketing,” he said with a proud smile.

And so it is.

The visual prompt

Here is a truth about all human beings. We love posing with giant animals. Dinosaurs. Dogs. Even bears.

happy marketing story

But I digress.

Back to the pig.

Let’s look at a few core ideas from my book Marketing Rebellion —

  • In a world of streaming content and ad-blocking, consumers don’t see ads like they used to. And if they see them, they don’t believe them.
  • Two-thirds of our marketing is occurring without us. Consumers carry our stories forward through social media, word of mouth, and reviews. The customer is the marketer.
  • The job of the professional marketer in this environment is to help customers do their job. How do we help our customers carry our story forward?

Placing a big pig in the middle of your store is an invitation to share your story.

However …

You have to deliver the goods

A big pig is only going to work if you have an authentic, interesting and, relevant story to share.

Let me tell you about the rest of my experience at this restaurant.

  • Brisket is normally a dinner-only item, but Jeff made it available for lunch because I was coming in.
  • At the end of the meal, Jeff came around with a plate of beef and asked us if we wanted another helping. More meat? Yes, please. That stands out.
  • The food was delicious and plentiful. He had some unique menu items. The venue was clean and whimsically decorated in a tie-dye theme. There was free parking near the restaurant’s location at the business center of town.
  • Jeff’s personality filled the room. He approached a table of elderly women by saying “Hello you beautiful, wonderful women!” They blushed in appreciation.

My point is, Jeff delivers the goods. If the place was dirty, if the food was cold, if you could not find a parking space, then the pig doesn’t matter. The pig only works as a reminder to tell people about the overall experience at the restaurant.

You have to deliver the goods, every time.

So I think Jeff is set up to succeed. He is surrounding his customers with authentic, interesting stories and offering the opportunity to pose with a big pig as an excuse to tell people what it is all about.

I think this is a happy marketing story indeed.

Keynote speaker Mark SchaeferMark Schaefer is the chief blogger for this site, executive director of Schaefer Marketing Solutions, and the author of several best-selling digital marketing books. He is an acclaimed keynote speaker, college educator, and business consultant.  The Marketing Companion podcast is among the top business podcasts in the world.  Contact Mark to have him speak to your company event or conference soon.

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