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at Your
Prepared by: Steven Custardo,Ty Johnson,
Kendall Gardiner, Jillian Crowley
& Lee Hopcraft

Table of Contents
Meet the Team....................................................... 2
Executive Summary.............................................. 3
Our Client............................................................. 4
Primary Research................................................ 5
Secondary Research........................................... 9
Situation Anaylsis................................................ 13
Media Communications & Objectives........... 21
Concepts & Tactics............................................. 26
Overarching Tactics............................................ 31

Meet the Team

Steven Custardo
Campaign Manager

Ty Johnson
Research Manager

Kendall Gardiner

Jillian Crowley
Creative Director

Lee Hopcraft

Executive Summary
With a diverse array of catering and bulk options in the area, BBQ isnt always the first type of food that comes to
a consumers mind. TickleMyRibs, a new BBQ joint in Burlington, North Carolina, offers traditional southern taste
with a modern twist. While the TMRs bulk and catering business has had success thus far, in order to expand their
business and reach potential new consumers, we decided to expand their target market. Through a multi-media
platform strategy, we have both branded TickleMyRibss bulk and catering services as well as come up with a variety
of tactics in order to create both a successful and sustainable bulk and catering business.

What is TickleMyRibs?
TickleMyRibs is a locally owned Carolina BBQ restaurant that was founded in 2011. They pride themselves on
having fresh quality, home-cooked BBQ with a modern twist. TickleMyRibs strives to be part of the community and
has already started several community projectssuch as the Hometown Heroes program where they showcase
influential figures in the community. This family-friendly business cares about connecting with their customers while
providing the traditional taste that BBQ lovers desire along with the modern convenience that their target needs.

Primary Research


In order to make our assessment hold the most value, we used multiple methods of information gathering.
We sent representatives from our group to each of the competing companies in the area in order to gather
feedback from competing storeowners; allowing us to better understand what types of people are already going to
BBQ restaurants and how our competition is both different and similar to what we offer.
The vast majority of our primary research included a series of expert interviews. We conducted two in-depth
interviews with employees at TickleMyRibs and Stokelys. We also conducted on-the-spot interviews to gather
information from various non-BBQ competitors including: Lowes Foods, Elon Catering, Jimmy Johns, Wing Zone,
Subway, and Dominos. We did several ride alongs to catering deliveries to observe and speak to consumers.
Additionally, we conducted an online survey using SurveyMonkey that was targeted at Elon students to gather
information on tailgating and special events. Within this survey we used some projective techniques such as word
association and sentence completion.

Survey Analysis
The vast majority of survey participants were part of a Greek organization (95%). This information is relevant
because due to Elons large Greek life population, this demographic is who we should be explicitly targeting for bulk
catering for their events.
Most survey participants tailgate for football games, however, only 7% tailgate for baseball games. Because of this,
we should likely focus on football which will be when our heaviest advertising for bulk/catering with this target
market will take place. While we can somewhat target baseball, we would not want to use extensive resources for
this since there is such a low percentage of tailgate participation for this sport.
Majority of survey participants ranked pizza as their top choice, sandwiches as their second choice and BBQ as a
solid third. What is important about this information is that Aramark catering is solidly ranked the least desired
food for a tailgate. Since Aramark mostly caters to Elon students, it is positive to know there is a desire to have
something other than that and something we need to capitalize on.
The top characteristics that survey participants said attend tailgates are students (1) involved in Greek life, (2) who
enjoy socializing, (3) who are enthusiastic and involved and (4) who are sports fans. By looking at these
characteristics, our campaign needs to be upbeat and focus on the fun, social, and spirited atmosphere of a tailgate
and how TickleMyRibs can enhance that.

Survey Analysis Contd

The most important part of the participants food/beverage tailgating experience was primarily food that is easy
to eat, the quantity of the food and that it doesnt run out, cold drinks with their food and a variety
of options. Because BBQ is inexpensive in bulk quantity, this addresses the concern of food not running out.
TickleMyRibs offers a variety of different options than just pulled pork sandwiches, so when advertising to this
target we should focus on highlighting the many sides that are available as well as the drinks that come with a
catering order. While BBQ might not be the easiest food to eat, we should ensure that the way that the food is
packaged keeps it warm and makes it easy to eat and pack up afterwards.
Some of words that were repeated most associated with BBQ were: southern, pulled pork, hamburgers and
hotdogs, Hurseys, sweet sauce, friends, family, summer, and North Carolina.
It is relevant to note that Hurseys came up several times as what people at Elon associate with the word BBQ.
Additionally, since many Elon students come from up north, they believe that barbecue means grilling hamburgers
and hotdogs outside. Addressing what exactly BBQ, and especially what Carolina BBQ is, might be necessary for
this audience. Again the association with friends and family is important and since the TickleMyRibs brand is so
family-friendly and fun, we can use this to our advantage.

We determined that TickleMyRibs severely lacks branding in their bulk and catering services. Due to this lack of
branding, customers dont know where their BBQ is coming from. This limits potential repeat customers. Some
quotes from customers who ate the TMR catering are below:

Oh, this? This here is

Stokelys barbecue of

I dont know where

it came from, but its
barbecue. Thats all I

Tickle My Ribs? Is that a

new place? Wheres it at?

The delivery that we do here at

TickleMyRibs is not very branded.
The only place that people would see
our logo is our hat, and sometimes
people dont even wear them.

-TickleMyRibs employee

That Hurseys
was delicious.

Secondary Research

While TickleMyRibs has something special to offer, they have strong competition from Hurseys and Stokelystwo
well-known BBQ restaurants in the areaas well as the vast array of quick-serve restaurants in the Alamance
After researching various competitors (both BBQ and not), we were able to determine how TickleMyRibs
compares financially, as well as what types of customers are using their competitors for catering and bulk services.
Hurseys is definitely the most recognized BBQ restaurant in the area, with multiple locations in Burlington. They
pride themselves on four generations of Hurseys BBQ and they use the traditional cooking method, unlike
TickleMyRibs. While Hurseys does have a strong following, they are not very user-friendly for catering and bulk.
They have a strong Facebook presence with over 1,000 likes, however, they completely lack a website. When
contacting them about what they have to offer for bulk and catering purposes they said they dont have a catering
menu, although, because of this, they will let you customize your order. They cater for many special occasions and
Elon students use them primarily to cater graduation parties.
Stokelys is a newer BBQ restaurant in the area. Like Hurseys, they use the traditional BBQ cooking method. They
have a strong presence on Facebook, with also over 1,000, and use it to offer coupons and engage with customers.
In addition to BBQ, Stokelys also offers seafood, an interesting addition similar to how TickleMyRibs has the
untraditional section on their menu dedicated to specialty hotdogs. While their website does not have the same
brand personality as the TickleMyRibs website, it is very user friendly in regards to family and catering with menus
for family, express catering, and onsite catering with comparable pricing to TickleMyRibs.


We can take several pieces of information from this analysis. We can learn from what our competitors are doing
right in terms of their social media presence, which something we lack. Additionally, by comparison, our website
and brand personality seem more developed than most. Another implication of this analysis is realizing just how
many options our target markets have for catering and bulk services in the area. Because of this, it is even more
important to be engaging and establish a loyal customer base to increase word of mouth marketing and in turn increase our bulk and catering business. Moreover, we need to be sure to be directly targeting the channels that our
specific target audience is utilizing. Therefore, focusing in on our channel research and doing more research specifically on our target audience is key.

Research shows that advertising is primarily done digitally through the internet and social networking websites.
Futhermore, audience engagement is key to developing a loyal following and to encourage word of mouth
marketing. TickleMyRibs currently lacks a strong social media presence, which could be hindering their success
because they are not adequately connecting with their audience. While they do have Facebook and Twitter
accounts, the activity is limited. Their Twitter account in particular is practically nonexistent.
Despite their lack of social media presence, the TickleMyRibs website is thorough and showcases their southern,
welcoming, and family-oriented brand personality, something that we want to emphasize in the catering/bulk

Target Consumers

Residential Event

12-30 people
This group specializes in bulk
delivery/pick-up for a game
(football, baseball, etc.).
40-150 people
This consumer focuses on
catering for an event such as
family reunion, graduation,
birthdays, etc.


10-50 people
The corporate delivery is
usually expected as a lunch
delivery for a group of

Since the year 2000, advertising has gone mostly digital. TickleMyRibs can utilize the Internet with social networking sites. Facebook is the easiest way to advertise at a cheap cost, even free. Keeping their audience updated is key
while gaining likes can help the restaurant garnish future consumers. Twitter and Instagram are not as useful as
Facebook, in terms of social networking, but can help reach out to a younger generation.
The Burlington area has hundreds of quick-serve restaurants. These restaurants use high standing poles that show
their logo or name so that it is easier for drivers to see. Since TickleMyRibs is hidden in the plaza near Lowes, they
can use of those signs or advertise on a billboard on the highway. I-40 is used heavily and many restaurants
capitalize on that using the billboards to remind drivers that they exist.


Situation Analysis



Although TickleMyRibs has had success with increasing their bulk and catering department, they are aware of
the opportunity and value that lies within the realm of bulk/catering. Not only must they capitalize on the many
opportunities within this community to serve bulk/catering, but they also understand the exposure that bulk and
catering offers TickleMyRibs by increasing awareness and incentivizing first time customers in a large-scale

Problem Statement

Lack of awareness of the in the community of the services that Tickle My Ribs offers is not enabling TickleMyRibs
to maximize their potential in bulk, catering and delivery services. Little to no primary or secondary research
has been performed on community desires or current competitor actions for bulk, catering and delivery. By
performing extensive qualitative and quantitative research we have acquired a greater understanding of
consumer demands, which will enable us to increase business prospects.


SWOT Analysis

The Skys the Limit
Opportunities are endless for TMR.
If there is brand awareness/loyalty it can
become a top competitor for bulk in
Burlington and surrounding areas
BBQ is one of the top choices for catering because its easy to make in large
quanitities, is cheap, travels/stores well
Offers a variety of options: sides, stew,
chicken, etc.

Location is in NC which is well
known for BBQ

Lack of brand
Started in 2011, still new to area
Not capitalizing on all target markets
Lack of Branding
Customers dont know where their
BBQ is coming from because TMR
product is not properly branded
Delivery Fee = $100
This limits smaller bulk opportunities
for events such as family dinners and

small gatherings

Plenty of BBQ restaurants in
Burlington that have been around for a
while with a positive reputation and
loyal customer base
Variety of non-BBQ bulk/catering
options in the area (grocery stores,
Subway, Jimmy Johns, pizza, wings, etc.)




Large menu/versatile
Variety of bulk/catering packages
Willing to customize catering packs
Plates/platters for catering
Family menu options
Community Involvment
Hometown Heroes, soccer team sponsorship, Piglets Kids eat free on Weds
Community connections increase
awareness and potential new customers
Previous Success in Bulk
Pharmaceutical repeat business



Target Audiences:
Demographics & Psychographics

Corporate groups: men and

women (30+ people)

Budget Conscious

The middle-aged, working Desire quick, easy, efficient

class mom for the large
Rely on recommendations,
family meals/special event
but receive them in different



Involved college students

and university community:
men and women
aged 18-22

The Working Class Mom

Who she is

Ages 30-50
Working class

Please the
whole family
Comfort food with

a twist
Great price

passionate about
Always looking for
reviews online
(yelp, blogs)

What she does


What she wants

Sue wants to throw a holiday party, but doesnt have the time and/or technical skill in the kitchen. According to
a University of Michigan study, there is an increasing trend of working class mothers returning to the workforce.
The working class momSueis a target for graduation and holiday parties as well as for weeknight meals when
she needs to feed her family an inexpensive meal after a long day at work. As a mom, she wants to please
everyone and needs a variety of options. Additionally, according to a GSR restaurant customer demographic
report, Gen X-ers (born between 1966-76) enjoy comfort food with a twistsomething that TickleMyRibs
offers. This consumer focuses on catering for an event such as family reunion, graduation, birthday or etc. While
the tailgaters would only expect a simple delivery, the residential consumer would probably want catering
setting up and serving the barbecue for big events.

The Involved College Student

College studentorganization heads

Men and women
Ages 18-22

Large amounts
of food
Overall experience

Involved in
Greek life/large
Loves tailgate/school spirit
Buy on budget
Facebook and Twitter
Care about word-of-
mouth from peers

What they do

What they want

Who they are

Based on our survey results, since Elon has such a large Greek life population, we should be targeting Greek life
students as one of our major targets when it comes to catering tailgates and large-scale social events. They
primarily are attending football tailgates and are looking to have a good time with friends and socialize. The most
important part about their tailgating experience is that there is enough food available. Since so many of these
students are from the North, BBQ often means grilling hamburgers and hotdogs, so we need to educate them
on what real Carolina BBQ is. Other large student groups such as sport teams and fine arts groups should be
targeted as well. Since most Elon students leave for the summer and for the month of December, it would be
advantageous to target Elon faculty and staff, as well, for departmental parties and meetings. Minimum delivery
could be changed from $100 to allow just to allow services to more groups.

The Corporate Business Person

Who they are

Men and women

ages 25-50
Work in corporate

Quality food
Food efficiency
Little patience for

Feed groups
of 10-20 people on
short notice

Tech savvy
Not much time for social
mediaheavily rely on
Listen to radio

What they do

What they want

John is a target that TickleMyRibs bulk/catering manager already seems to be addressing, specifically with
pharmaceutical representatives who need to feed groups of 10-20 people quality food on short notice. John
and his coworkers want to get the job done quickly and efficiently. For this target market, we perhaps would
want to be packaging the food in a way that makes it seem fancier because it is a corporate setting and often
they are trying to impress fellow colleagues. The corporate delivery is usually expected as a lunch delivery for
a group of employees. John and his colleauges would not give a lot of notice before the delivery since its not a
set up event. He also might not have the $100 minimum, so again that might have to lowered. Online ordering
would be extremely beneficial for this target.

What they
NOW think

food means
low quality

BBQ is the only
option for BBQ

Dont have
to sacrifice
quality for cost
when it comes to
Can have
traditional BBQ
taste with modern

food is

What they
WILL think

Targets Thoughts

We value
community and
making your bulk/
catering experience

And most importantly...

TMR is
the most convenient, friendly, and
best-tasting source of
bulk/catering services
in the area

Catering and
Dont think of
TickleMyRibs as first bulk come from
pizza, subs, grocery
option for BBQ
stores, etc.


Brand Manifesto

Real Carolina BBQ comes in all different shapes and sizes.

We are:


NOT your average BBQ
We care about your event experience
We understand that money doesnt grow on trees

You no longer have to sacrifice quality for cost

TickleMyRibs is where traditional taste you love and modern
convenience you need for bulk and catering collide.
| Catering | Bulk Orders | Delivery |

Media & Communications



Our Definition of Success

Our consumers will not only feel engaged by our multi-platform media communications plan, but they will also
maintain a personal connection to TickleMyRibs. Consumers in the Elon and Burlington community will not only
think of TickleMyRibs as the best BBQ for catering, family and bulk service, but also as one of the first catering/
bulk options overall.


Communications Objectives
Objective 1
Make people believe that TickleMyRibs is the best place to order bulk and experience catering while enjoying
North Carolina BBQ at a reasonable cost.

the uniqueness
that BBQ has as a
for special events

the opportunity
of both quantity and
quality as a bulk/
catering option

direct sales
calls to connect
with corporations,
church members,
medical facilities,
schools, and event

Objective 2
Capitolize on trends within social media to capitalize on potential niche markets.

tweets, posts, and
pictures to all social
media avenues to do
with bulk/


Objective 3
BBQ itself is great for special events.

the southern,
family picnic feel
that BBQ provides

Emphasize that
BBQ is a perfect
food for travel


Highlight that
BBQ is a quality
leftover food

Media Objectives
Objective 1
Engage niche audiences via a multi-platform approach to present different messages at different times.


methods that
are ideally more
effective to that
person/group such as
social networking, local
radio advertisements,
direct sales calls,

Advertise to
specific audiences

Objective 2
High Frequency during bulk/catering oriented events.

social media to
achieve highfrequency
awareness during
these times

awareness is low,
increase frequency
during July 4th, May
graduations, holiday
parties in November
and December


Concepts & Tactics


The Working Class Mom

Bulk specific blog posts. An intern will be crucial in creating content for a blog that will be read by moms
researching which restaurant they want to use for their community events. This blog can be housed on the TMR

Creating table cards that have YELP US OUT! will create a buzz on Yelp, and will flow over to other reputation
management websites. These cards will go out with bulk orders and will.


The Involved College Student

Establishing a university community
We will provide TMR with the opportunity to reach Elon University by:

Emails to

Bulk menus in
campus boxes

Event sponsorship
By having a presence at tailgates and Elon events TMR will have a brand presence on Elons campus that will
reach students, faculty, and staff.

Free samples at
football tailgates

Direct mail
to Greek presidents
for events like Sigma Phi
Epsilon annual BBQ and
Alpha Omicron Pi BBQ
(both of which take
place in April/May)


Social media presence

Since engagement through social media is key for this target, we will increase our social media presence.


social media

Regular updates on catering/bulk events, incentive

posts (i.e: Today only order and receive 10% off on
your next bulk/catering order!).
Facebook campaign: Each week TMR will invite previous
customers of bulk/catering events to post a photo of TMR
at their catering event and both tag TMR and like their Facebook page. TMR will randomly draw a winner each week and
they will receive 10% off their next bulk/catering purchase.

TMR could hire a social media intern from Elon or

surrounding schools to manage their social media
accounts. This student could get school credit and
increase their portfolio.


The Corporate Planners

Yelp and blog
These tactics will assist TMR with not just the working moms, but with the corporate events as well. When big
companies and sales reps are looking for options, they go to these online review websites first.

Direct sales calls and email campaign

We will contact this target directly by making personalized phone calls to different pharmaceutical reps to establish an initial connection. Additionally we will send follow up emails with our bulk/catering menu attached along
with a coupon for their first bulk/catering purchase.

A short radio clip will be played to improve the name and brand recognition. This will connect with locals of all
ages, especially commuters.


Radio Mock-up Script

Tickle-My-Ribs - Bulk
:30 seconds
:03 - Announcer: Are you having an event with lots of people this spring?
:01 - Woman: Well I am!
:02 - Announcer: Tired of ordering 20 pizzas and way too much cola?
:01 - Woman: Oh my goodness, yes!
:15 - Announcer: Tickle-My-Ribs is the best option to cater to your
needs! With bulk delivery packages starting at seven-forty-nine per person, and the catering packages starting at
eight-ninety-nine, we provide great food and friendly service to Burlington and beyond!
:02 - Woman: Im going to use Tickle My Ribs for my sons birthday party!
:06 - Announcer: Check us out at T-M-R-B-B-Q dot com or stop by and visit us next to Lowes Foods.


Overarching Tactics


Increased Branding
Currently TMR is severely lacking when it comes to branding their bulk/catering services. We have created
stickers that can be placed on TMR bulk/catering containers. This is subtle enough that it wont be viewed as tacky,
but gives every customer, and all those who are eating, the opportunity to see exactly who is providing their food at
a bulk/catering event. Branding can go beyond stickers and include keepsakes like TMR magnets, flyers, banners, etc.


Sample Magnet


Increased Social Media Presence

Advertising on Facebook will allow us to distinctly target people who would potentially buy bulk/delivery. With
the analytical tools available from Facebook Analytics, we will be able to hone in on social chairs, working moms,
corporate reps, etc.

Refer-a-Friend Program
Since word of mouth is one of the strongest marketing tactics, TMR should establish a Refer-a-Friend program.
By offering a promotional discount/incentive to both loyal customers and new customers, TMR could increase
communication and awareness about their services and ultimately develop a solid loyal customer base derived

Online Ordering

All of our targets are media savvy and are looking for the most convenient way to order. Providing the
opportunity for online ordering will make it easier for people to request orders ahead of time. Many other bulk/
catering options have the opportunity to order online and TMR should follow this trend making it easier for
people to request orders.

Customer Loyalty Discounts

First time TickleMyRibs bulk/catering customers will receive a coupon for 10% off their next bulk/catering order
through TMR.


Billboard Advertising
In order to increase frequency at specific times for special events, we could have billboard advertisements twothree weeks before these events. Such events include before March Madness, May graduations, Independence
Day and the holiday seasons.

Print Advertising
Additionally to increase frequency before these special events, we can run print advertisements in both the local
and Elon school newspapers.


Sample Blog Post


Free Sandwich Card

At each bulk/catering delivery, we will leave free sandwich cards for those attending the event. This not only
provides additional brand awareness, but creates an opportunity those experiencing TMR through bulk/catering
services to become regular TMR customers as well.


Events Calendar

We have created a fun events calendar that details opportunities in every month that customers could use TMR.
It can be left as a leave behind at TMR catered/bulk events as well as be housed on the TMR website. Here are a
few examples:


Online Order Form


Budget/Media Flowchart


Budget Overview
Social Media: $700
Facebook ads

University Events: $800




Branding: $800

Tangible Media: $2,340

Local ads

Greek Life



Radio ads

Total Spending:




Campaign Overview
We will monitor the success of these tactics and our campaign through the following variables:

Total number of free sandwich coupons turned in

Number of likes on Facebook

Increased followers on social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram)

Views of our blog post

Number of Yelp reviews

Number of email addresses collected through Refer-a-Friend program

Number of coupons turned from first time customers for a second bulk/catering event


Thank You!

Prepared by: Steven Custardo,Ty Johnson, Kendall Gardiner, Jillian Crowley and Lee Hopcraft