Article originally posted on RMagazine.com on May 8, 2017 by Stephen Gold

Today’s consumers expect highly personalized experiences that deliver exactly what they want, exactly when they want it. Your digital strategy is the key to successfully meeting that demand – or not.

Some of your guests are totally new to your brand. Some are loyal regulars. Some are visiting for the last time and “lapsing” out. It’s difficult to determine who is who—and these are just the broad strokes.

Your customer base is a multi-layered onion: Not only are some lapsing, loyal and new, some come in only by themselves, some come with family and friends, some visit during the week, some just on weekends, some in the morning, some at night. People have different online habits, dietary preferences and hobbies.

Meanwhile, your executive team has objectives to drive online orders while also increasing incremental sales, loyalty memberships and, not to mention, new lead generation.

You have separate data from in-store visits, online orders, delivery, email clubs, loyalty apps and catered private events.

How are you, industrious restaurant marketer, in this environment, going to build intelligent campaigns around these strategic objectives and business goals—that outperform anything you’ve done before?

Blend Your Data

Combining all of these “silos” of information: point-of-sale, loyalty, online ordering, email, etc., allows you to create holistic profiles of each customer.

With POS data especially, profiles can contain rich transaction history, but oftentimes restaurants don’t fully utilize the intelligence available to them. This leaves them with the ability to reach just 15-25% of their customers, those that opt-in to provide an email address or other information.

Platforms like Bridg are able to crunch years’ worth of data in just hours, revealing broad segmentations such as new, loyal and lapsing activeness, low frequency and high frequencies, low and high spenders.

As you “peel back your onion,” you can create all sorts of segmentations, for example: low frequency customers, with a high average spend, that visit a specific location during lunch hours, but not in the last month.

Create Audience Segments

Let’s go back to those hypothetical business goals now to help define audiences from your now-blended data:

  • Objective: Drive online orders
    • Best type of offer: Unique discount, buy-one-get-one or free item
    • Audience definitions:
      • Ordered online in last 12 months
      • High frequency
      • High average spend

Drive Online Orders Offer Example:

Marketing Pro Tip: Create unique offers for your campaigns i.e. if you always offer 10% off in online advertising, for your new campaign offer 15% off while establishing control groups so you can determine how well your new audience segment is working.

  • Objective: Drive incremental sales
    • Best type of offer: Deep discount on large purchase i.e. $15 off $50
    • Audience definitions:
      • Transacted in last year, but not in last three months
      • Varied frequency
      • Varied average spend

Drive Incremental Sales Offer Example:

Marketing Pro Tip: By offering a deep discount on a large purchase you will encourage those reached to spend more, driving average tickets and total revenue higher.

  • Objective: Expand e-club/loyalty memberships
    • Best type of offer: Small discount, buy-one-get-one or free item
    • Audience definitions:
      • Recently transacted
      • Medium to high frequency
      • Not in loyalty database

Expand E-Club/Loyalty Membership Offer Example:

Marketing Pro Tip: For those customers that have recently transacted and are coming in often, you won’t need a deeply discounted offer to elicit response—these customers are already starting to love your brand and just need a little encouragement to get over the finish line to register for email and/or download your app.

Reach and Engage

With our audiences defined, now we want to influence them with marketing. Audience data provides marketers with “the ability to strategically target relevant messaging” (M. Vigue/O’Dwyer) and drive immediate engagement. Even being able to affect change in sales on that same day or evening.

With all of this data at hand, simply blasting offline or online ads is a waste of creative and budget. Now is the time to think customer, not channel.

Black Angus’ new CMO (their first time having one in 53 years of business) is using modern technology to appeal to specific audiences and “find those diners on Facebook, not just catch them between the pages of a magazine.”

The most cost-effective way to reach customers is by touching them when and where they are. If a person never engages with direct response email marketing, they would be a better candidate for social media targeting and vice-versa for example.

Closed Loop Measurement & Repeat

What we do at Bridg is provide a “closed loop” marketing vision for restaurants. Our software ingests loads of data, crunches that information and reveals revenue opportunities, exports audience segments for use in nearly any marketing channel and reports back actual, individual, real world, real time results. It’s truly breakthrough and very few technology companies can do this.

For example: You include Mary Smith in your Increase Incremental Sales campaign. She hasn’t been to your restaurant in six months and used to spend higher than average customers. She’s at work that morning and sees an offer on Instagram, her favorite social app, for $10 off a $40 purchase good for the next few days. So for lunch that day she goes ahead and orders online delivery for herself and a few co-workers to take advantage of the offer. A “closed loop” measurement system can see this entire journey and attribute revenue and lift to the right campaign and channel.

By working in a real-time closed environment, you can set up A/B tests that accurately report which offers are performing best and quickly adjust and optimize to take advantage of creative capital.

Importantly, as RMagazine stated, “A restaurant business must focus a lot on providing great food, ambiance, and service, but the impact of all these will be realized only if you get your marketing right.”

At Bridg, we spend every day sifting through huge datasets from restaurants. I invite you to join us May 17 for a live webinar where we’ll present Three Proven Digital Campaigns You Can Run Tomorrow. We’ll take a deeper dive into the three campaign strategies presented here with case studies for each.

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