Guest Column - September 2011
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Foodservice & Concessions

Make Dollars and Sense Out of Concessions

By Bethe Ferguson

Get Social to Sell

Social media is an unexplored frontier in many ways. It holds countless possibilities for marketing your concessions and facility, and the potential is only limited by the time and soft costs you want to devote to it.

The first step is knowing your audience and giving them what they want in a format they like. Some of the top, free ways to "listen in" on how people perceive your facility are listed below. These services are also valuable tools for tracking marketing campaign effectiveness.

  • Google Alerts: Set up search queries for keywords to track any mentions of your stadium name, services or Web site.
  • RSS Reader: This Really Simple Syndication reader is a group of Web feeds used to track items like blogs, headlines, and audio and video files.
  • Polls and Surveys: Real-time feedback translates into better, targeted sales. Post these on your Web site, Facebook and Twitter pages, and send out through e-mails and e-newsletters.
  • It's similar to Google Alerts, but specifically for social media.
  • Monitor Twitter: or are great ways to search Twitter keywords or phrases.
  • Google Analytics: Track your Web site campaigns with advertising ROI (return on investment), cross channel and multimedia tracking, and sharing of real-time data.
Social Media Marketing Suggestions
  • Freebies are fabulous: You'll encourage likes, re-Tweets and forwards.
  • Blog to be heard: Blogs are a social medium and shouldn't have any overt selling in them. They will engage your community, link back to your Web site, and improve your SEO (search engine optimization).
  • Offer "carrots" for bigger payoffs: People are willing to let you into their lives and buying habits, but you need to reward them and slowly ease into it. Plus, the bigger the prize, the more you will get from them.
  • Special, limited-time-only codes: Build hype, give rewards and increase your reach with codes that enter customers into a raffle.
  • QR Codes on Signage: QR or quick reference codes are simple squares, similar to barcodes, people scan with their smart devices to lead them to a Web page or document. They're perfect for mailings, coupons near concession stands, and facts near displays or trails. Plus, they'll make people pause at the advertisements. Create them for free at, or

Again, concessions are the way to increase profits and create a destination feel for your guests. Having the right products in place is only half the battle. You can make dollars and sense out of concessions with well thought out marketing tactics. Not only will you see your concession stand sales soar, your guests will be tuned into your facility and think of it first for an entertainment option.


Bethe Ferguson is marketing communications coordinator for Gold Medal Products, based in Cincinnati, Ohio. To learn more, visit