The success of mobile marketing campaigns as an effective way to engage customers was a hot button for attendees at the recent National Restaurant Association (“NRA”) Show 2011. It was very apparent that the hospitality industry is quickly adopting this relatively new marketing medium because of its effectiveness and cost advantage.
Restaurant, bar and nightclub owners know that their customers are attached to their mobile smartphones like no other device in history. Those customers are also checking and responding to text messages instantly throughout the day. Short, concise messaging has been proven to be the way customers prefer to receive marketing messages and if a customer’s specific areas of interest are in a database, that messaging becomes personalized and much more powerful.
NRA attendees were intrigued by new technology which allows for the building of databases with very detailed customer profiles which enables a level of personalization previously not possible.
The Magic is in the Database
However, in order to build this database, restaurant, bar and nightclub management is cautioned that they it takes time to develop loyalty and other similar programs that benefit their customers. To develop a successful loyalty program, the loyalty program’s value has to be promoted to every customer and prospect at every opportunity.
Staff must also be trained in understanding how best to promote the loyalty program and that training must be on-going and consistently reinforced by management so that it becomes part of the establishment’s culture.
Staff needs to understand the incredible marketing value in the customer database and that database will be generating more and more sales revenue (and tips) as it grows in numbers, customer by customer, day after day. Consistent training will result in servers presenting the loyalty program to every customer just like they present the daily lunch and dinner specials.
Personalization Increases the Results
It is important to build databases that contain a complete customer profile including data such as with their preferred dining out meal, their preferred days of the week to dine out., do they dine out for business or pleasure, and so on. The more data, the more marketing opportunities.
Mobile marketing technology introduced at the NRA Show 2011 demonstrated how fully automated text message notifications of lunch and dinner specials can easily be sent to customers, on days those customers typically dine out and even featuring specific menu items that they prefer. Quite amazing!
Text Customers a Mobile Coupon
Mobile coupon usage is exploding worldwide,increasing 13-fold from 2.7 million users in 2010 and predicted to be nearly 35 million in 2014. That is nothing short of remarkable growth for a relatively new marketing medium. Mobile devices are rapidly becoming the perfect way to deliver coupons and there are no paper, printing and mailing costs.
Attendees recognized that reporting on coupon campaigns is extremely important and a vendor’s technology should automatically assign a unique coupon code to every sent text or email message that identifies the consumer and the campaign. Management should also be able to input the coupon value and easily determine the return on your campaign investment.
Benefits of Two Way Texting
There was particular interest from attendees in new two way text messaging technology that provides the ability to survey and poll a member group by sending questions that can be either multiple choice or even allow the member to free type a response.
Many bar owners saw marketing opportunities such as texting their patrons to pick a game winner and being rewarded with a discount coupon texted to their customer’s mobile device. The fact that this level of customer interaction is fully automated and reflects the recipients’ specific interests was viewed by the hospitality industry as critical in today’s extremely competitive marketplace.
There is no doubt that this year’s NRA Show provided many show visitors with the ideas they need to grow their businesses and that mobile marketing is going to be a key component in those marketing initiatives.