Steve and Linda Green knew what they were doing more than 20 years ago when they turned their passion for pizza into a leading news source for pizza lovers around the world. By founding PMQ Pizza Magazine, pizza businesses have gained attraction, whether they are international or right here in Oxford.
“Steve had been a Domino’s Pizza franchisee prior to that and had some success in marketing pizzerias,” said PMQ Editor-in-Chief, Rick Hynum.
After selling his franchises, Steve realized there is much more to pizza than just having a good recipe. Steve picked up and moved from California to Oxford, Mississippi and the Pizza Marketing Quarterly Magazine was born. The magazine originally centered its content around pizzeria marketing, fun tips, tricks and gaining customers through database marketing.
“It’s always good to write about what you know, and, like I said, Steve knew pizza–specifically how to market pizzerias and sell a lot of pizza,” Hynum said.
Another aspect of the magazine is its focus on creativity, with the inclusion of highly specific content like pizza recipes.
“We like to profile individuals, especially independent (non-chain) operators who take a more innovative and creative approach to marketing,” Hynum added.
Examples of innovative and creative approaches to pizza marketing include everything from pizzas topped with Girl Scout Cookies, Flaming Hot Cheetos and sushi to delivering free pizza to the Queen of England at Buckingham Palace.
While PMQ has had the opportunity to relocate to a larger city, it chooses to remain in Oxford because the size of the city does not define a company’s success.
“You can find talented journalists and writers anywhere, especially in Mississippi, which is world-renowned for producing some of the greatest novelists in history,” Hynum said.
Another reason for the decision to remain in Oxford is the opportunity to help out local businesses.
Brian Hernandez, PMQ Taste Test Chef, Pizza TV Host and Director of the U.S. Pizza Team, has witnessed a lot of change in the pizza industry since he moved from Indiana to Mississippi eight years ago.
PMQ’s Pizza TV has become a popular segment of the brand’s social media outlet. Hernandez’s lively personality has helped connect to both business and consumer audiences through PMQ’s YouTube and Facebook Live.
Before the social media outlets were created, the company focused on bringing other pizza businesses into the public eye.
“As the Test Chef, I like to get up there and act, sing, and dance while being in front of a camera,” Hernandez said. “Being able to do all that and cook at the same time, I mean it’s a dream job.”
Hernandez has been able to create genuine connections and has been able to have a first-hand experience in helping local businesses succeed. Whether it’s giving St. Leo’s a place to test their recipes or befriending local pizzeria Fergindan’s, he has had opportunities to see local pizza businesses grow.
In his most memorable experience, Hernandez consulted with Russian-based pizzeria, Dodo Pizza, and helped with establishing their first American business located in Oxford. Staying true to the importance of marketing in PMQ, Hernandez assisted Dodo’s transition from being an international brand that has over 500 locations in 12 countries into the unfamiliar American market.
Dodo’s pizzeria operator, Alena Tikhova, acknowledges the role PMQ played in making her business popular in the local market.
“PMQ has been very generous to me and my company. We used PMQ kitchen to come up with the perfect dough recipe when we just started in 2015. I’ve also learned a lot from pizza experts I got to meet through PMQ,” said Tikhova.
PMQ Pizza Magazine has progressed from being published four times a year to 10 times a year. Aside from the physical magazine, PMQ keeps up-to-date information and articles on its website and uses many forms of social media.