BBQ Marketing

As temperatures rise, we spend more time enjoying the outdoors – particularly hosting and attending casual gatherings where grilled foods and fermented beverages are served. The backyard BBQ is an ideal place for powerful marketing. This is NOT the place for advertising, public relations, or sales conversations. The casual nature makes it great for BBQ Marketing.

Here’s how it works. Know that the gathering will be attended by friends, family, neighbors, etc. who likely will ask a question very similar to; “What’s been going on with you lately?”.

Those who reply with something positive and business-relevant are taking good advantage of BBQ Marketing; those who take the opportunity to share how crappy their job/boss is are contributing to competitor’s BBQ Marketing; while those who merely socialize in kid’s sports, gossip, or political discussions are missing the opportunity.

The power of BBQ Marketing is in its conversational casualness and authenticity.

The two biggest factors that prevent this from happening by default are;

  1. Most people don’t like their jobs, managers, or environment. They feel more like replaceable cogs in a giant machine rather than respected contributors towards overall company goals.
  2. As customers, we are often abused, overlooked, underappreciated, and manipulated – or we simply receive lackluster service.

These two factors alone cause more problems than almost anything else, yet they never seem to be discussed in marketing meetings. These two factors drive up costs of operations, the size of media budgets, and the amount of effort to attract audiences. They cost next-to-nothing to overcome.

Here are two example conversations that might play out:

Me: Hey Fred, I haven’t seen you in months. How are things going at your new job?

Fred: Ok. I like the challenge of learning a new industry and meeting new people, but my manager has unrealistic expectations and doesn’t understand my skills. The project I took over was in shambles and they are counting on me to fix it, yet they are not willing to invest in the resources. I am starting to see how it got in such bad shape in the first place.”


Me: Hey Susan, I haven’t talked with you since you started the new job. How is it going?

Susan: It is going great! I enjoy getting to know my new associates and my concerns about making a lateral move are greatly diminished because of my manager. He pushes me to do my best but is not overbearing.

We had the coolest conversation the other week at my 3month review. He said that his role was to make sure everything was done on theme, spec, time, and budget. The best way he could to that was to hire a talented team and do his best to give them what they need. I am really glad I made the move!

The above responses are based on actual conversations I have had with friends at social gatherings. They are indications of both the company’s cultures, and give us social context about their products and services.

By focusing on building a strong culture, we create more opportunities to have genuine conversations about it. These casual conversations happen with every employee and strategic vendor – they are infinitely more effective than PR, and media advertising combined.

As business cultures improve, people will draw closer together as teams. They will likely invite each other over for backyard BBQ where they can brainstorm new solutions and products for the next generation.

When will you start harnessing the power of BBQ Marketing?

About David Frick
David brings a holistic approach to business growth that unites advertising, marketing, sales with aspects of leadership and operations. As the founder of SuccessVentures, he is driven to help build people, build value, and build business