11. Measuring pizza is easy as pie.

I received an interesting phone call last week from a man I have never met before.

He called to comment on last week’s blog on the topic of measurement and wanted me to know how using measurements as a marketing tool has more than tripled his business.

He owns a small, family restaurant, specializing in pizza, in a nearby residential community. He has long known that distributing flyers around the neighborhood always leads to a short-term surge in sales and for a number of years he has engaged the services of local kids to walk the neighborhood every six weeks and place flyers in each mailbox.

One day he became curious. He started wondering what impact these flyers were having on his business, how many people were actually reading them and to what degree they were being influenced by the specials offered in each flyer.

He carefully wordsmithed his next flyer and offered a free 2 litre bottle of pop with each large pizza ordered for delivery.

He then began a campaign of data-gathering and precise measurement.

He prepared a short questionnaire so as to ask each customer the same questions and personally spoke with every customer who phoned in a delivery order.

He asked if they had read the flyer, had they ever ordered from him before and, if yes, how many times, did the flyer influence the type of pizza they were ordering, did the offer of a free 2 litre bottle of pop help persuade them to order from him, and several other questions he thought pertinent.

He dutifully recorded all answers onto a spreadsheet and monitored how many phone-in orders he received on the day the flyers were delivered, the next day and so on.

He also turned his attention to those customers coming into the restaurant to eat. He visited each table, asked several questions and recorded the answers. He kept track of how many customers visited the restaurant on the day the flyers were delivered, the next day and so on.

A few weeks later he distributed a revised flyer, this time offering an additional incentive to customers to come into the restaurant to eat.

And again, he spoke with each phone-in customer and visited every table, always gathering information, recording and studying his findings.

As he continued his research over several months certain pieces of the information he had been gathering started yelling out to him.

And each time he gleaned a new piece of information he changed something on his menu or in the flyers or both.

And after each change, he meticulously measured the results.

The data told him that his flyers contained too much information, so he shortened them and sold more pizza.

The data told him which price points had the widest appeal to his customers, so he modified his prices and sold more pizza.

The data told him which toppings his customers preferred, so he changed his menu to include more offerings with those toppings and sold more pizza.

The data told him which times during the month his flyers had the greatest impact, so he amended his delivery schedule and sold more pizza.

The data told him that the free dessert he was offering to in-house customers had no impact on increasing his business, so he started charging for desserts and sold many more of them.

We talked on the phone for quite a long time and he laughingly told me that the best business decision he ever made was the day he decided to quit the restaurant business and go into the data collection and measurement business.

He told me how much he had enjoyed reading my blog last week, thanked me and hung up.

He didn’t offer me a free pizza.

Or even a free 2 litre bottle of pop.

Let’s make a habit of meeting like this.

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