What we can learn about marketing from Gordon Ramsay

Marketing is f***ing brilliant. In fact, it’s so f***ing important that if you don’t do it right, you’ll f*** it all up and your f***ing business will probably all go to s***!

Seriously though, Gordon Ramsay is a great marketer. A natural.

As far as I know not formally trained in marketing, but when you watch the way he transforms a business on one of his shows – it’s all about strategic level marketing done well. Think about the questions he insists a business owner answers. It’s always a version of: What’s the offering? Who for? Why us?

And that’s not to mention the phenomenal success of his own businesses.

Here are the main things we can learn about marketing from ‘Chef Ramsay’:

It’s about the business owners

Staff will make your vision a reality, only if they are motivated, guided and given a vision.

First they have to know what that vision is. That is your job!

Research is important

But it needs to be the right questions to the right people. If it’s a local business, ask the locals. But only the locals who have a desire and budget for your category of product. Also, don’t obsess about current customers. What about the customers you have lost? Go and find them!

You have to get noticed

Whilst I’ve never advised a client to walk the streets shouting ‘Bollocks to Bisto’, it is true that a level of awareness raising will usually do you good.

For some businesses, in some markets (and done well) there is a place for stunts!

In the above (real) example, ‘Chef Ramsay’s’ point was that real gravy was a distinct competitive advantage for that business, so that’s what they made noise about. You absolutely can’t fault the marketing thinking behind it.

Usually, I hate the term ‘USP’ (I prefer thinking about an overall package) but this is an example of a USP done extremely well.

You have to change

Staying the same is not good for business. Especially if the reason for the inertia is internal convenience. Doing what you do got you to where you are now!

You need to focus on your objectives, then find a solution to the internal difficulties of the solution.

Market orientation: It’s never just about you; it’s always about what the audience needs, wants and expects.

You have to bring people along on the journey. Some will be willing, and some won’t. Knowing where to draw the line is a key skill.

You have to check back regularly

Once implemented, you have to come back to your strategy every so often, and check whether or not your activities are still in line.

If your strategy was any good, it should always be the implementation that you are tweaking, not the fundamental ideas. If you change your strategy a lot, you are doing it very, very wrong!

I’m always impressed with Gordon Ramsay’s ability to pick a relevant theme for a business; balancing the things the company is great at with trends and market opportunities.

You need to understand the business environment

Gordon doesn’t do anything by half measures. Understand the context within which you are working and get involved.

From being a talented footballer to training in classic French cuisine – in France itself, and learning the language whilst doing it. Immerse yourself in something and you will become better at it.

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