Marketing Can Make the Difference

On Saturday June 23rd, Nicki and I, along with our close friends Marcy and Dave Levinson, went to a concert in Chicago.  Afterwards, we drove a long way to a hot dog joint that has a national reputation, never mind just Chicago, as one of the best—if not the best—hot dog stands in the country.  I’d been hearing about this legendary place for years and finally had to go see for myself what all the hype was about.  When we arrived, I couldn’t believe how long the line was to get served.  There must have been 30 people in front of us.

The business goes back to the 1940s and a few years ago was inducted (I kid you not) into the Vienna Beef Hot Dog Hall of Fame.  In 2011, in a competition of 64 hot dog stands across the country, it was chosen by the magazine “Every Day with Rachel Ray” and the food blog Serious Eats as the best hot dog in America.  The thinner size of the hot dog, how it’s prepared, and how the buns are steamed are extolled as unique virtues at their website.  The place is also known for their distain of ketchup: not a drop of the stuff is tolerated within their sacred walls (ketchup on a Chicago-Style hot dog?—on a par with murder and other such crimes!); supposedly, if you sneak in some packets of the evil mixture, they’ll throw you out.

Wow!  Is that a reputation made out of pure gold or what?  Whoever was/is in charge of marketing deserves a bonus befitting Wall Street.

Now, I know taste is a subjective thing, but after eating two of these award-winning hot dogs and the fries they’re served with, both Nicki and I honestly wondered what all the hype was about.  Oh, they were good; I’m not saying they weren’t.  But we both felt that we’d eaten better.  In fact, there’s a place in Wheeling not far from our house that we think serves up a far superior hot dog and fries, even though they’re not in the Vienna Beef Hot Dog Hall of Fame.  *Rolls his eyes*

I came away from this experience marveling at the power of marketing.  How it can make such a huge difference.  I think we all know that intellectually, but it’s a whole different ballgame when you see it in action like I did with the famous hot dog stand.  An experience like that viscerally cuts through you to the quick.

So let me ask you: Are you paying close attention to the marketing of your business?  If you’re not, perhaps it’s time you did.  Who knows, you could become as famous as the hot dog stand.