Alive & Kickin’ Pizza Crust is a pizza crust manufacturer producing a critical component of other food manufacturers’ consumer products (pizzas), and also serving pizzerias, restaurants, and entertainment venues through their distributors. The company reached out to Weidert Group shortly after they’d acquired another company—one that made a complementary product that Alive & Kickin’ Pizza Crust did not yet offer.
The president of the company saw evidence that inbound marketing was a more effective approach than traditional marketing, and also recognized that Weidert Group had valuable foodservice and B2B experience. An additional factor considered when choosing us was that Weidert Group had been a traditional agency for nearly 30 years before becoming a leader in inbound marketing, and the experience of that transition was going to be invaluable in helping them do the same.
The first project the client asked us to undertake was developing a strategy and plan for integrating their new product line (the complementary products made by their newly acquired company) into their offerings — the need to make this capability known to its current customers and prospects was critical. They also asked us to help their sales team by increasing the number of quality leads while reducing their reliance on cold calling.
What We Did: Inbound Website and Marketing
A new website for Alive & Kickin’ Pizza Crust was our first recommendation, both because it was important to announce and showcase the client’s new capabilities, and because the existing site didn’t communicate many of the brand characteristics we knew to be important to its targets (like craftsmanship, expertise, customization capabilities and a genuine affinity for both the products and people in the pizza business). In addition, the existing site was not “inbound ready”—it provided no analytics or a way to capture lead data.
The new site features beautiful product photography showing a variety of end products from both A&K and the acquired company's offerings, and richer, more evocative copy. Most importantly, it includes operator-focused content offers. The entire site was designed to be the engine for their comprehensive inbound marketing program, using the full suite of HubSpot marketing tools to attract visitors, convert them to known leads, and nurture them into opportunities.
The advanced content offers address a wide range of restaurant and commercial kitchen operators’ needs, with tips and solutions for issues including product quality and consistency, waitstaff and back-of-the-house employee training, equipment use and safety, patron loyalty, and many more critical topics that impact restaurant profitability.
These content offers were promoted consistently and expanded upon in the new company blog. Blog article topics are related to those of the content offers, with useful, easy-to-digest information operators can act on quickly and easily. Creating a high-quality blog as a platform for publishing articles and videos aligned with the buyer journey of A&K's target personas was a big part of our strategy. We publish new articles or video blogs at least once per week, a move that resulted in website traffic growth of 700% in the first 6 months, and 1,230% after 12 months.
Content offers and blog articles were also promoted on the company’s brand new social media pages and via strategic nurturing email campaigns.
“From the beginning, we were vastly ahead of our expected website visits and the site has continued to perform exceptionally well for us. In addition to creating a system to capture leads, it’s also improved our brand recognition at trade shows—we have a much more commanding presence online than we used to have,” said Nick Charles, President of Alive & Kickin’ Pizza Crust.
The first 6 months of the program brought such a large volume of website traffic that the President recognized the potential of inbound marketing to resonate with distributors and the food manufacturing side of the business as well, so we diversified our content strategy and added more content offers for those target personas.
How Did It Work?
Here are some metrics related to the new website, content offers and regular blogging:
- Blogging efforts have contributed to increased growth in organic traffic with the blog now accounting for more than 70% of all website visits. One blog in particular, titled “8 Different Pizza Crust Varieties: Which is Best for You?” averages 2,900 views each month
- Overall website traffic increased from 400 visits to 2,800 visits in 6 months, and 7,000 visits in 14 months; more than 17X growth
- The number of contacts captured every month has quadrupled—they didn’t have web contacts before we started and now average approximately 40 new contacts per month and have reengaged existing contacts
- One new customer gained, with a lifetime value twice the average size; roughly a 150% ROI on the inbound marketing spend in the first 12 months.
Phase 2: Sales Enablement
After six months of strong lead generation results, we saw a need to help Alive & Kickin’s sales team capture full funnel reporting and manage the leads all the way to the closing and delighting stages of the buyer journey. We embarked on a sales enablement journey that included training each of their sales reps on using the HubSpot CRM, not only from a customer reporting standpoint but from a true inbound sales approach.
Before they began using HubSpot CRM, the sales reps each had their own system of managing leads. With the company acquisition A&K did, it was timely to implement the CRM, sales tools, and sales enablement training to align the teams and improve communication. Now that they are using the entire HubSpot growth stack (Marketing + CRM + Sales), the team is well positioned to capture the value in their pipeline and be able to determine real-time ROI of the inbound marketing and sales efforts.
Growth Stack Tools
Here’s a snapshot of the HubSpot growth stack tools the sales team is utilizing in their inbound sales approach:
- HubSpot CRM to add context to connect attempt emails and phone calls
- HubSpot Sales Pro tools for sales documents, email templates, and sequences for connect attempt tasks
- HubSpot Sales dashboard for tracking deals and generating closed-loop reports of leads that are returned to marketing or closed as customers
Could It Work For You?
Small restaurant operators, like most small businesses, have little time or money to spare, so when a potential vendor partner provides valuable content, the prospect is eager to engage and begin what could be a long-term relationship.
With the right content, and tools that allow a sales rep to intelligently add context, a manufacturer can demonstrate knowledge of a prospect’s challenges, provide information that makes their jobs easier/more profitable, build credibility, and show some personality that makes the prospect say, “I want to work with these guys!”
If your business serves those with tight budgets and significant demands on their time, like manufacturers who contract with parts manufacturers or inventory management services, creating and promoting content that gives them answers to the questions they have during the buyer’s journey could be the very best way to attract prospects—and turn them into leads and customers.
Editor’s note: a version of this case study was published in August 2016; it has since been updated to include current results and additional program components.