How paid search strategy increased bottom-line profits for Papa John's – without resorting to discounting

Using a tailored paid search marketing strategy, Net Media Planet stepped outside of traditional discount marketing methods and achieved notable success for Papa John’s, the pizza delivery company.

When Papa John’s tasked paid search agency Net Media Planet with increasing the company’s reach and refreshing its marketing approach, the company adopted a strategy with a difference. Turning its back on tired discount marketing methods, the agency instead took inspiration from the real-life restaurant experience and came up with a digital translation. The strategy saw successful results for Papa John’s and was awarded a Dadi Award in 2012 in the best use of paid search category. ObjectiveRated the UK’s third pizza delivery company, Papa John’s market is highly competitive and dominated by promotions and discount offers. The company wanted to move away from discounting, which can damage profit margins for franchisees, but needed to maintain volume and market share. As the brand’s newly appointed paid search marketing agency, Net Media Planet challenged the industry convention of discounting. When people who are hungry and don’t want to cook, search for pizza, they are highly likely to buy one. Knowing that hungry people are susceptible to appetite-inducing messages, the agency’s strategy was to tap into the hungry customer mindset, with a compelling message at the right time and place. The objective being to drive volume sales while significantly improving profit margins. ExecutionIn the pizza delivery market, it has long been assumed that a discount offer through search marketing is the best way to drive volume sales. Net Media Planet challenged the conventional wisdom that has been the staple strategy of the dominant market players. Through a combination of technology, traditional copywriting and consumer insight, the agency was able to drive volume sales for Papa John’s without resorting to discounting. The agency challenged traditional marketing methods and rather than discounting to drive sales, identified and tapped into the customer’s need-state of being hungry and not wanting to cook. For example, targeting hungry consumers on their mobiles and on their way home, when people think about what they want to eat. In a restaurant, customers are offered a menu of appetising dishes – Net Media Planet took that principle and applied it to a paid search campaign, encouraging hungry consumers to buy more when ordering their pizzas, thus driving up average order value. Using professional copywriters, taste testing was conducted to identify adjectives to tantalise potential customer tastebuds, which would work within 35 characters.Through its proprietary Mercury technology platform, Net Media Planet was able to conduct sophisticated targeting, optimisation and analysis. Campaigns were run separately on desktop, tablet and mobile in order to reach various targets – people at work, on the move commuters and people at home. All campaigns were created with ‘appetite appeal’ – designed to persuade customers to spend more on side orders. Customers’ responses to promotions of a wide range of side orders by geography, time of day and nature of device were analysed, establishing the most potent product combinations. Results Comparing the results of this campaign against promotional-based activity, average order value grew by 10.4 per cent on desktop and 12.7 per cent on mobile. The agency increased bottom-line profit per marketing £1 spent by 75.2 per cent on desktop and 139.4 per cent on mobile. On mobile, 48 per cent higher revenue per click was achieved without resorting to discounting. Q&A with Andrew Gallagher, marketing director, Papa John's UKWhy did you choose to implement this campaign?Our industry is highly competitive, with promotions very much part of the strategy of the dominant market players. We were looking to move away from this approach. We also wanted to explore how we could use this channel to increase average order value. Why does paid search work for Papa John’s?Using paid search we were able to put together an extremely targeted marketing campaign; by enabling us to target consumers by device, region and time we were able to promote our messages in the most optimal way. The flexibility with the cross- device approach enabled us to expand our reach, for example, targeting hungry consumers on their mobiles whilst commuting. It is this combination of factors that makes paid search such a compelling proposition. What tips would you offer brands looking to generate sales using paid search?Understanding who your customers are and how they engage with your brand is fundamental to delivering messages that will have the right impact. Secondly, I would recommend making best use of the technology available. With this campaign, we employed the latest technological capabilities to enhance the delivery modes and methods of our messages. Building a close partnership with your agency, ensuring that they understand your goals and have the ideas, expertise and technical capabilities to take those ideas as far as they can go is the foundation of a great marketing campaign. This case study was first published in The Drum's search supplement, sponsored by Marin Software. The supplement is available for purchase below.Buy the full 24 page report now

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