Savory meat pies have appeared on menus for centuries, though their popularity has waxed and waned. By the 1950’s, boxed pies filled supermarket freezers. Over time, their presence has dwindled. If you're getting ready to re-introduce this classic with a new twist, you'll need to think outside the box. You'll need an effective business plan, adequate funding and a complete marketing plan to help your line of meat pies find a new generation of fans.
Scope out the competition. Research meat pie companies and purchase samples of their products. Ascertain each competitor’s unique selling proposition (e.g., “our meat pies have no preservatives” or “we cut the fat so you don’t have to compromise your diet”). Invent a unique selling proposition that isn’t being used.
Study your company's mission statement. Use the mission statement to focus your marketing plan. Strive to make the marketing plan cover the first year of business.
Determine target markets. Decide whether you will focus on general markets that run the gamut from supermarkets to small specialty stores; niche markets made up of schools, cafeterias and other institutional eating environments; or direct response marketing driven by an interactive website selling meat pies to a variety of audiences.
Come up with a creative list of marketing and promotional ideas. These ideas will morph your fledgling meat pie company into a recognized brand. Work in concert with staff to develop a list of brand-building ideas.
Include the placement of print ads in trade and consumer publications to your marketing plan. Ask professional cooks for endorsements and get permission to use their reviews where appropriate.
Develop brochures with tear-off order forms so consumers can order meat pies for shipment or pick them up at retail shops carrying your line. Launch a website to tout company history and introduce new pie flavors to build awareness of your product mix.
Stay on message and don’t eschew gimmicks. Consider jingles, slogans and catch words that can turn an obscure meat pie into a familiar food. Give your meat pies memorable names rather than just beef, chicken and pork.
Keep tabs on your meat pies by soliciting feedback from consumers and retailers. Make adjustments to your marketing plan over time with this feedback. Use sweepstakes, coupons and surveys to guide your next marketing plan once you get through your first year of business.
Based in Chicago, Gail Cohen has been a professional writer for more than 30 years. She has authored and co-authored 14 books and penned hundreds of articles in consumer and trade publications, including the Illinois-based "Daily Herald" newspaper. Her newest book, "The Christmas Quilt," was published in December 2011.