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A restaurant marketing strategy rooted in data and personalization
June 25, 2021
“Let’s do personalization” is not an uncommon phrase to be heard on restaurant marketing teams, however without a comprehensive strategy for unifying customer data, these initiatives will never deliver a best-in-class guest experience, of the sort they expect in-house.
Unfortunately, for all too long, personalization has failed customers of pretty much all verticals — most commonly a buzzword rather than a comprehensive part of a marketing strategy. Initiatives that purport to be personalization are commonly limited to knowing a guests first name or lazy in-app recommendations such as “people who ate wings also bought onion rings,” (sounds delicious, actually) or the sort of creepy marketing developed from location tracking, cookies (not the tasty kind), or surreptitiously acquired aggregated third-party data sets.
It’s these kinds of techniques that have led to the rise in ad-blocking technology adoption, an increase in email unsubscribe rates, and guests being skeptical about the personalization they receive.
Your personalization and messaging strategy needs to be rooted in both first- and zero-party data. Creating messaging opportunities based on transactional data is great, and your guests love it, but using zero-party and psychographic data to personalize those messages will differentiate your restaurant brand from your competitors.
The future of marketing to individuals with relevance and delivering behavior-changing personalization is about asking them about their interests, motivations, and desires, rather than inferring or snooping on them. This is zero-party data. A class of data that is intentionally and proactively shared by the customer.
It is possible for restaurant marketers to know what their guests intend to do, when they will next visit your restaurant and anticipate their next actions by collecting data that is intentionally and proactively shared directly by them.
Unfortunately, it’s not merely a case of “build it and they will come.” Guests expect to be entertained, engaged, and receive something in return for their attention and personal data. Restaurant marketers can deliver this through interactive experiences that conduct market research, accrue opt-ins, and deliver an altogether better experience with a tangible value exchange for the guest in the form of added value (coupons, competitions, social kudos, or content, to name but a few).
Zero-party data empowers restaurant marketers to build direct relationships with guests and, in turn, better personalize their marketing efforts, offers, and menu recommendations. As it comes directly and willingly from your guest there are no intermediaries, no guesswork.
What personalization will move the needle and give your guest that “wow” moment? Restaurant marketers who use triggered messaging, retargeting, and website personalization will drive sales and engagement. Ask yourself, are your personalization initiatives answering these 5 questions?
* Can you capture real-time data on digital channels and leverage it for future personalization initiatives?
* Are you able to personalize content for guests in email communications, like their favorite menu items or their nearest franchise?
* Can you deliver personalized content on websites and mobile for guests?
* Is it possible to create multi-step, multi-stage guest journeys?
* Can you apply machine learning to recommend food items and offers?
If you'd like to learn more about how restaurant marketers can improve their digital strategy, download our guide, Restaurant Revolution: Building Your Digital House.