Good Marketing Spending — Hot Doug's

As both a sourcing and marketing geek, sometimes I have a hard time reconciling the two trades. The more technology and services providers spend on the marketing and strategy fronts, the more I take home (at least at this point in my career, if they're my clients). But in general, too many companies waste far too much money on crappy marketing, hiring B-level employees, consultants and agencies who deserve to be outsourced to India (despite cultural gaps that some might say are hard to overcome even with decent English language skills). Some companies, however, know how to get the most out of their market dollars. And no, they're not all Azul Partners' clients.

Hot Doug's, a Chicago hot-dog stand, is one such company. Frequent readers of Spend Matters might remember my post Hotdogs with Hillman when I introduced Spend Matters readers -- and one supply risk expert -- to my favorite Chicago hotdog stand (trust me, in this city, a hotdog is not just a hotdog). Recently, Doug has been raising national eyebrows, spending only $250 bucks to get on the likes of MSNBC, Fox News and a number of news wires.

How did he do it? Doug intentionally violated and mocked Chicago's food Nazi inspired fois gras ban. According to Fox, "Doug Sohn, who runs Hot Doug's 'The Sausage Superstore and Encased Meat Emporium,' agreed to pay $250 Thursday for the first-time offense. Sohn had been openly serving foie gras-laced hot dogs since the ordinance took effect in August. He says he knew about the rule -- when he got a warning letter from the city, he had it framed and placed on his counter." $250 to get on national news? Next time you're negotiating with your marketing team when they're requesting additional funds, I'd show them this example about how sometimes the best marketing can be almost free.

Jason Busch

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