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Restaurants: Embrace data to drive revenue

For restaurant marketers, data-driven marketing is the key to growth.

As technology evolves, consumer behavior and preferences are changing. An Epsilon study found that 80% of consumers want personalized experiences from brands, including restaurants. For restaurants that focus primarily on traditional advertising or that don’t leverage much digital advertising, delivering personalized experiences is a significant opportunity to meet the expectations of modern consumers.

Sending one broad message to a mass audience via TV is no longer enough; to build brand awareness and loyalty, restaurants must focus on providing relevant experiences that are tailored to preferences and needs of individual customers. The ability to do this depends largely on data.

There’s no doubt that as a restaurant marketer, you now have more access to data. With the enhanced data analysis features that marketers have integrated into their programs, we’re seeing a new trend: A marketing shift from utilizing demographics to more advanced psychographics.

While demographic data (factors like age and gender) is still an integral component, the psychographic component (factors like interests and lifestyles) fuels the emotional component of marketing for restaurants, enabling 1:You connections. (1:You is a holistic customer experience strategy that’s personalized with the best choice for individuals across all points on interactions.) Your Diners expect these personalized communications and more.

To be successful, restaurant marketers must shift their approach from mass advertising and promotions to 1:You marketing that leverages data more effectively and drives incremental sales.

Here are a few data-driven marketing techniques that will allow them to do so:

  • Embrace CRM data to reach the right customers. Understanding which data to focus on and capturing the most useful data is essential. From a recent research study we conducted with Informa Engage and Nation's Restaurant News, only 9% of restaurants stated they work with external partners to match their CRM data with online IDs. Integrating all data sources to truly get to know diners is a must.
  • Prioritize existing customers before focusing on acquiring new customers. Remember the 80/20 rule? About 20% of customers produce 80% of sales. Marketers need to understand the needs and wants of the 20% of these customers to sustain their loyalty. From our research, we learned that 53% of restaurants stated that acquiring new customers is a top priority. Restaurant marketers should consider focusing on their existing customers, and the members of their loyalty program.
  • Tailor advertising, promotions and experiences to frequent diners and prospective customers. Creative 1:1 messaging and content is essential in achieving 1:You communications. And remember, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel for each communication. Consider creating a library of content so you’re prepared to deliver unique content to each customer. Having ‘filed images’ (or multiple creative options to select from) in the library will enable you to react to behavioral situations in real time.
  • Analyze purchase data to identify trends and optimize future marketing campaigns. Applying analytics (modeling) to understand buying behavior is important for marketers to further improve program outcomes. Purchase data can be further analyzed to predict future desired outcomes including how frequently diners can be motivated to visit and which menu items should be promoted.

Starbucks does an excellent job with their data-driven marketing strategy. Data scientists at Starbucks’ know what coffee you drink, where you buy it and at what time of day. And they leverage predictive analytics to personalize their customers’ experience.

Starbucks now generates recommendations for customers approaching their stores, using location data to know when customers are approaching. And they segment customers from leveraging data and machine learning and set-up rules based on decision trees mapping their purchase behavior.

So during the data-driven marketing journey, remember to be authentic and let the true meaning of your brand shine. Incorporate your brand promise throughout all of your marketing efforts, and build human connections with diners.