How is Marketing Like Cooking?

In addition to being a Direct Marketing professional, two of the things I enjoy doing are cooking and comic books/comic book media. While Marvel( may reign supreme at the box office, I’m still a DC fan at heart – especially Batman. The villains in the Batman universe are so much fun and have a depth that most other villains don’t have. One of my favorite is the Riddler. Using riddles to have the GCPD and our heroes figure out what the master plan is….

How is marketing like cooking?

If you imagine marketing as cooking a dinner, the tools we use to complete the task are usually the same for all parties. You might need a roasting pan, a sauce pan, cast iron pan and the basic ingredients for whatever it is you are preparing for your guest.

Marketing is very much the same – we start out with the same tools. We have our marketing channels (direct mail, digital, social media, print media, on-page, email, etc) and maybe a in-house customer file or some outside prospecting file that will serve as the ingredients for our marketing promotions.

The question is what seperates a great Chef (or marketer) from just an average one. Any of us can follow the recipe to the tee and get the expected result. Use the exact ingredients, don’t deviate from the course and your meal (or marketing campaign) should come out exactly as you expected. That my friends is the definition of average – doing what’s expected. In marketing terms, this is following the marketing 101 playbook – and running only one media channel. It could be using a creative that is safe and doesn’t come close to pushing the edge. It’s playing it safe.

The great chefs (and marketers) experiment and try things that are a little different. It’s why at Bedford Street Marketing, our tagline is Intelligent, Innovative & Idiosyncratic. A great chef will add an extra flavor or spice to make the taste more rich. The outcome is a dish that is exceptional and exceeds what was expected. A good marketer does the same thing.

They find what makes their brand or their client’s brand unique and they market that angle. Finding humor in your brand is a way to be idiosyncratic. It’s experimenting with multiple creative – a safe control package vs a more edgy ad that highlights the uniqueness of your brand and product. It’s mixing multiple channels to track attribution and give a customer more touch points to make a decision. Use a dm postcard to drive to site, follow-up with an email, and track cookies on your site – and serve up ads to those who have visited. The more innovative you are with creative, strategy, channels and messaging – the more likely it is to exceed your expectations.

Idiosyncratic Marketing

Another way to be innovative is to really take a look at your marketing costs. As a marketing consultant, one of the most amazing things I hear clients tell me is how much they paid for their website to be designed or to have their social media channels managed.

I had one client tell me that they had paid close to $6,000 for a website design and social media management. That is a good way to blow your marketing budget out of the water in no time. With tools that can offer easily customizable websites with domain, matching email address, SEO and Email marketing tools for yearly hosting fees, you should be designing and running your own website. (

My message tonight is think outside the box when you are planning your marketing strategy or when you are cooking your next meal. Don’t aim to be like everyone else – but find the idiosyncratic, uniqueness that defines your brand – and customers will respond.


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