By Brenda McGowan, Client Development Director – Data Solutions, USA Region
Last month, I had the pleasure of attending a regional American Marketing Association event. While in attendance, I found myself quickly jotting down notes, thinking these are “too good not to share”!
One of the featured speakers, a leading Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) and industry veteran of a wildly popular restaurant group, spoke about his challenge to continuously improve a really good thing….an extremely popular, family-owned business that has been in existence for over 110 years. The speaker shared his brand-awareness strategy and how they discovered using a combination of guiding principles, technology, and compelling social media storytelling could effectively win the hearts, minds and stomachs of their customers.
The restaurant group’s strategy has been to utilize “experience marketing” and follow the suggested practice of daily social media posts. They found when they introduced video, they achieved a 65% increase in click through rate and have organically grown over 32,000 fans. In addition to high quality food, they focus on creating a memorable experience, from hand picking music tracks, using authentic décor, sharing a history lesson within their menu, and specifying how the wait staff should dress and interact with customers. They monitor their social media reputation and meticulously address both the rave reviews and the occasional hiccup.
They embrace the use of technology to help them monitor key performance statistics by using the data they already know about their customer to provide exceptional customer service. By monitoring past success, it allows them to be responsive to achieve future success. In their case, tracking “How frequently does a customer dine?”, “What is a customer’s average spend?”, and “When do they celebrate special events?” provides valuable insights. Tracking this data continues to help initiate and drive their marketing efforts. They even use this data to alert managers when a VIP is in the house, or prompt special care or a “thank you” with a customer.
The speaker shared the several key takeaways to the sellout crowd of marketers:
- Use true metrics to monitor results. “Very well received” is not a metric.
- Read, watch, measure, react. Gathering engagement is good, but monitor what actually drives revenue.
- Do the best you can for your client, but realize you don’t have to beat up your vendors in the process! You may have to call in a favor in the future.
- You can’t discount your way to success, it’s not always about price.
- It doesn’t matter if it’s perfect if it doesn’t get out the door.
- Confirm every phone number by placing a live call, prior to running an advertisement.
- Take www. off your URL listings, we all know that part already.
- Find mentors of the trade.
- It’s important to also talk about failures, learn from mistakes.
- Everything affects the brand.
- Never stop learning, read books, and online articles, etc.
- If you are counting the number of hours you work, you are working at the wrong place.
- Work for people that appreciate your efforts.
- Always be fair and ethical. Don’t ever lie, as you will forget and get caught.
- Don’t go straight to creative with an idea, brainstorm with the entire team. Often the Operations team doesn’t know what you need to know to write a compelling story…be in the room!
- Surround yourself with talented, dedicated people – you are all better together! None of us are as strong as ALL OF US.
- Question everything, make accurate observations and don’t accept “It’s always been that way”.
- Be available to reporters, know what they care about and feed them intriguing stories, even if they are not about your brand. They will soon learn to trust you as a resource.
- Pay attention to detail and care every day!
- Don’t go into networking to build your resume. Do positive volunteer work, help people, and you will naturally network as a result.
- Treat every customer interaction as a means to learn more and improve.
- Finally, give to your local charities. “If it doesn’t hurt a bit, you didn’t give enough”.
It’s always good to attend a successful, informative event and feel inspired to share what you learned!
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