The Future of Marketing for Restaurants: The Trends You Need to Know to Win

Forget the days of spray and pray. The one-size-fits all approach to marketing is no more, evolving in recent years to take into account socio-demographic segmentation and landing us in an era of never-before-seen customer targeting.

Such highly targeted marketing is so prevalent that consumers are now disappointed with anything less: According to Loyalty360, a full 75% of customers feel frustrated by a website that is not personalized to them. What’s more is that 59% of consumers in an Infosys study reported that personalization significantly influenced what they purchased, while Econsultancy found that 93% of companies saw an uptick in conversion rates due to personalized marketing efforts.

Digital natives do it better

So, who’s doing it best? Online giants like Amazon, eBay and Booking.com have become masters of target marketing, methodically gathering data from each of their customers in order to provide a highly personalized experience.

As the statistics show, the future of marketing depends on this sort of personalized approach, and marketers in the restaurant and retail industries will want to take a page from the online giants, who have found such great success by following a few key best practices:

   1. Log them in.

Have you noticed that neither Amazon, eBay nor Booking.com offer options for guest checkout? There’s a very deliberate reason for that, which involves the collection of customer data. With customers logged in, these companies are able to link each purchase to an individual customer, a driving force for creating targeted marketing campaigns down the road.

   2. Profile, profile, profile.

With a full set of customer data in hand thanks to that logged-in approach, the online giants have been able to create rich customer profiles for each individual user. Amazon does it by tracking past purchase behavior, while eBay goes a step further to ask its mobile app users about their passions, hobbies and style.

   3. Do the math.

It’s then time to let the computers do the work, with statistical methods and algorithms that reliably predict which customers are likely to be interested in which products. A heavy investment in machine learning from eBay last year allowed the company to completely revamp its email marketing model for enhanced personalization, while Amazon’s business is more or less built on its algorithms that allow it to provide personalized product recommendations.

   4. Get the timing down.

Nearly as important as delivering the right message is delivering the right message at the right time. Booking.com relies on its customers’ heavy mobile usage to send push notifications that manage to walk the fine line between being helpful and being annoying. By collecting data and measuring the users’ responses, the company ensures that it never bombards customers with messages but, rather, engages with them at opportune moments.

 

Trending toward the future

Technology moves at lightning speed, and as the digital natives evolve their approach to target marketing, the proposition of keeping up can seem daunting. But with an eye to the future, we’ve predicted a few trends that early adopters in the restaurant and retail industries will want to pay careful attention to. 

  • Omnichannel Engagement

Some of the larger restaurant and retail chains have adopted advanced omnichannel engagement strategies already, with Starbucks serving as the prime example. The idea here is to create a cohesive experience for your customers across all platforms (online, mobile, brick and mortar), so that a customer can order online, pick up in store, pay via mobile rewards and experience it all seamlessly. Customer management tools like Como Sense can integrate disparate mediums on single, centralized platform to help make omnichannel engagement a reality. 

  • Marketing Automation

Today’s technology allows for the automation of email workflows based on customer behavior; automated social media interaction through likes, comments and follows; and predictive lead scoring that determines which of your customers are most likely to make a purchase. And, of course, it’s what drives those personalized recommendations that Amazon, eBay and Booking.com rely upon. Most sci-fi-like is the proliferation of Chatbots, which are beginning to play a larger role in customer service interactions. Thanks to marketing automation, we’re looking at greater personalization with less manpower.

  •  Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning

We already discussed how eBay has invested in machine learning, and coupled with AI, the technology will continue to influence the world of marketing as it becomes ever more advanced. Currently, machine learning and AI are responsible for the online giants’ predictive analytics models, allowing for effective customer segmentation, behavioral predictions and product recommendations. Recent advances, however, mean that AI has moved beyond data analysis to parse data-rich media like audio and video, cutting down on the need for manual viewing and categorization. The details are all a bit mind-boggling, but it comes down to more efficient segmentation, tracking and keyword tagging of campaigns.

Where do we go from here?

While a computer science degree may not be in the cards, it’s simpler than you might think to adopt some of the marketing practices used by the likes of Amazon. Como Sense’s customer management platform allows you to build loyalty programs, mobile apps, marketing automations, SMS campaigns and more, integrating with your POS system to collect customer data, analyze behavior and personalize your marketing efforts. After all, replicating the online giants’ approach to marketing is the first step in replicating their success.

 

Contact Como to find out more about how your business can grow with our cutting edge marketing technology.