Tasty, tasty indirect lead generation

Philip Morgan

If you were put in charge of lead generation for an entire country's tourism and given a big budget, how would you generate more leads?

A marketing campaign that attempts to position the country in a certain way?

Targeted Facebook ads?

Something else?

Here's a pretty interesting "something else" approach: www.vice.com/en_us/article/paxadz/the-surprising-reason-that-there-are-so-many-thai-restaurants-in-america

Here's an excerpt that sums the lead generation effort up pretty well:

Using a tactic now known as gastrodiplomacy or culinary diplomacy, the government of Thailand has intentionally bolstered the presence of Thai cuisine outside of Thailand to increase its export and tourism revenues, as well as its prominence on the cultural and diplomatic stages. In 2001, the Thai government established the Global Thai Restaurant Company, Ltd., in an effort to establish at least 3,000 Thai restaurants worldwide. At the time, Thai deputy commerce minister Goanpot Asvinvichit told the Wall Street Journal that the government hoped the chain would be “like the McDonald’s of Thai food.” Apparently, the government had been training chefs at its culinary training facilities to send abroad for the previous decade, but this project formalized and enhanced these efforts significantly.

I'm talking about this as lead generation, but you could also look at it through the lens of positioning or branding or demonstration.

Lead generation lens: Everyone who eats in a Thai restaurant becomes a lead, and some of them will "convert" to "customers", meaning some will choose to travel to Thailand. Some will travel to Thailand without having ever eaten in a Thai restaurant, but most will have entered the Thailand "tourism funnel" by eating at a Thai restaurant.

Positioning lens: We want to be known for savory, spicy, satisfying food. We believe owning this space in the mind will directly contribute to our export revenue and indirectly contribute to our tourism revenue.

Branding lens: We want to saturate foreign countries with enough Thai restaurants that we build a brand as the origin of savory, spicy, satisfying food, and we want our brand experience to be consistent enough that we create a singular mental image of what Thailand must be like if you visit here.

Demonstration lens: The experience of actually tasting and eating Thai food is a memorable one, and it's a good representative of what it would be like to visit the country. If you did visit, it would be an amplification of the small-scale experience you had while eating at a Thai restaurant.

Consulting Takeaway: The Global Thai Restaurant Company, Ltd. is using at least three of my core skills for indie consultants1:

  1. Identifying partners and building relationships with those partners

  2. Audience-building

  3. Community-building

The takeaway here is to reflect on how building an audience, a community, or relationships with a partner might indirectly generate leads for your service. An additional example of this in action is here: consultingpipelinepodcast.com/100

Happy Tuesday,



  1. 1. Opportunistic use of aggregated channels without reliance on those channels
    2. Email marketing
    3. Identifying partners and building relationships with those partners
    4. Speaking-as-lead-generation, either IRL or via online channels or both
    5. Either/Or
    - Audience-building
    - Community-building
    6. Cultivating a compelling point of view
    7. Hook and whitespace
    8. Research
    - Market research
    - Original research