Restaurants Increase Traffic by Influencing Dining Choices and Engaging Customers at Home

Front-Door Marketing Can Effectively Reach the Best Prospects in Range of Dining Categories

Whether launching a new menu item, promoting a signature dish, trying to reach a specific customer segment (e.g. Hispanics), or build traffic around a specific day or week part, front-door marketing is well-suited to help restaurant chains make the most of renewed consumer foodservice spending.  But while many restaurant operators anticipate increased consumer spending, they are still acutely aware of new long-term attitudes toward frugality. Capturing the consumer’s attention is essential to cornering these carefully spent dollars, as well as maintaining a brand identity that is meaningful to the customer – expectations all met through effective targeting of front-door campaigns.

Target heavy fast food users, also known as "HFFUs", with front-door marketing. (Image courtesy of The Consumerist, via

As restaurants have become more and more innovative – developing creative pricing strategies, locations and food concepts – they are taking care to connect these strategies with the right audience.  Thoughtful analysis enables development of target groups that consider not only the best prospects, but where they live and the likelihood that they will visit a particular restaurant chain. Data modeling extends targeting resources by further identifying “look alike” prospects whose demographic or behavioral profiles mimic those of best-performing customers.

These groups can be targeted in much smaller units, using “block groups” of about 400 households rather than entire zip codes, and include variables such as type of chain user, brand affinity, and usage occasion. Block groups can also be segmented according to visit frequency; in particular, heavy fast food users (known as “HFFUs”) can be reached readily. Leading restaurants such as McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Denny’s have leveraged this level of sophisticated data, along with high-quality physical media, eye-catching creative and an attractive offer.

Are you making the most of the opportunity to engage, deliver value and reach potential diners at home, where they consider options and plan their time and budgets?  Front-door marketing can reach the right customer with the right offer, making you more competitive in introducing new stores, boosting frequency of dining visits, party size or value of average checks.

Tapping the Potential of the Hispanic Market

What are you waiting for?

If there were a market segment steadily increasing in number and affluence wouldn’t you at least want to check it out? Well, there is and you can no longer afford to ignore…the U.S. Hispanic. Whether you simply haven’t recognized the value of this segment or you weren’t exactly sure how to best market to this group, it’s not too late to jump on the opportunity at hand. The Hispanic population is estimated to have hit 50 million in the U.S., with soon-to-be-issued 2010 Census results expected to confirm that figure. And this group is growing not only in number but also in earning and spending capability. With power like that you’d be a fool to continue to ignore the Hispanic audience.

A recently-published article penned by our own Barry Gilbert highlights the importance and diversity of the Hispanic market. A range of acculturation levels, language preferences, countries of origin, length of time in the U.S., etc., all contribute to the complexity of connecting with the U.S. Hispanic in his/her various forms. But many major brands are finding that this ‘hurdle’ is actually extremely useful data that can be used for pinpoint targeting. By combining this information with a tailored, well-branded and pertinent offer, brand marketers are utilizing today’s front door marketing strategies to hit the mark with their Hispanic targets.

Why are you waiting for official Census results? All the signs are there.  Shouldn’t you be diving in to reach the Hispanic audience with strategies that work before your competition does?

Customers Seek Value Now More Than Ever, and Brands Must Get on Board

Consumer behavior has changed dramatically and smart marketers are paying attention.  Seeking value as a priority, paying cash for necessities, foregoing credit cards, searching for discounts and putting money in the bank have become the norm thanks to the recent recession. Spending is more cautious, with consumers looking for deals, using coupons and actively focused on getting the most for their money.  And while the recession may officially be over, some economists say many of these changes in spending habits, initially seen as temporary, have taken hold for the long haul.  The 2010 Nielsen Economic Current states “value remains the mantra and the new normal is characterized by restraint.” The report also indicates that shoppers across the U.S. and Canada are cutting back on trips to the store, seeking value and balancing their purchases with a mix of branded and store brand items. This economic trend represents a significant opportunity for marketers, going beyond the sole purpose of grabbing someone’s attention, and instead delivering usefulness and value. 

Further, internet research firm Burst Media recently surveyed more than 4,500 women, age 18 and older, concluding that coupon use, in both the online and offline world, is growing.  In fact, nearly one-third (32.4%) of respondents consider themselves ‘frequent’ coupon users and one-third (34.0%) are using coupons more frequently today than they were six months ago.

High value offers characteristic of front door marketing strategies may fill a gap here – demonstrating a brand’s understanding of customer needs, while meeting a customer’s expectations of value. If it’s all about the getting the right offer on the right door, today’s creative front door media can make a high value offer stand out.  Gift cards, sweepstakes, tear-off offers, and sensory marketing with sound, scent or taste are available media options and represent a dramatically personal approach suited for major brands seeking to offer special treatment to their best customers.

If customers have high expectations of value from their favorite brands, what are you doing to deliver VIP treatment to their front door? Is your offer high value enough to walk through your customer’s front door as a welcome visitor?

High Q2 Coupon Redemption Reflects Price-Conscious Consumer Trend

Via CPGMatters:

CPGMatters’ August 2010 issue contains coupon redemption information for the second quarter of 2010. So far, Q2 marks the seventh consecutive quarter of growing coupon redemption.

Key findings include:

  • Overall, redemption has increased 6% during the first half of 2010
  • Average coupon value hovers around $1.59 during the first half of the year
  • Marketers have offered 18 billion CPG coupons so far this year, up 11.4% from 2009
  • Among retailers, the largest increase in redemption value has been in convenience stores, warehouse clubs, and discount variety stores (as a whole, 36.6% increase)

The high coupon redemption trend echoes consumer sentiments from a July study published in Brandweek.  81 percent of the surveyed agree that “It’s fun to see how much money I can save by using coupons or my shopper loyalty card.”  And based on the chart at right, 61% are more price conscious now than they were a year ago.

“People who share such sentiments likely aren’t longing to return to freer-spending ways once an economic recovery signals that it’s safe to do so. That’s surely true of the 44 percent who agreed that “I can’t believe how wasteful I used to be when I shopped.” The chart indicates some shifts in consumers’ approach to purchasing.”

These new behaviors are determining what will be the new “normal” in consumer purchasing.  With the end of the back-to-school shopping season drawing near, and the winter and holiday shopping season approaching, are your marketing campaigns addressing the shift in consumer purchasing behavior?

Marketing Opportunities in Hispanic & Latin American Segments

Via Portada Online

A recent Portada survey of media executives in the Hispanic and Latin American sectors indicate that there are optimistic feelings of opportunities in these sectors.

More interesting than the survey results are the opportunities and challenges that the executives outline in their answers. Answers range from online marketing to event-specific promotions (i.e. the World Cup, etc.). And don’t miss the answer given by PowerDirect’s CEO:

“Opportunities: The most opportunities for our business for the remainder of the year likely will be with our retailer clients, as there has been a noted upturn in retail consumer spending. The recession has turned the corner and there is greater consumer confidence. As a result, consumers (including Hispanic ones) are expected to spend more discretionary income on various retail purchases including consumer electronics (think “IPad”). This will create an opportunity for us as our retail clients may spend more money on advertising in general and (hopefully) in our media in particular, since we are very targeted and can reach customers around their stores’ immediate trading areas.”

“Challenges: “The most challenging part of our business during the rest of the year (and beyond) will be to roll out our new brand positioning. “The Science of Front-Door Marketing”. We define this as “Tightly integrated blend of proven direct-response methodologies, leading edge monitoring and campaign metrics.” …Our challenge is to communicate our industry’s benefits to marketing and advertising clients and raise the overall Front-Door Marketing & Media industry’s profile.”

Read the rest of the responses here.

QSR Results in ACSI Customer Satisfaction Survey released an article yesterday highlighting some customer satisfaction results from the ACSI’s (American Customer Satisfaction Index) latest annual report.

The general trend is that bigger chains saw a boost in their customer satisfaction numbers, mainly due to how customers perceive value in this type of economy. See David Von Amburg’s quote below.

“In a down economy, in an economy where consumers are more challenged in terms of their spending, the biggest chains … are probably best positioned to leverage generating revenue via value.”

“When the economy is good, those kind of smaller establishments tend to thrive, but when the economy is on a downturn, it’s much harder for those small players to leverage price, to leverage value. As a result, satisfaction will typically suffer, because in a down economy, what are customers looking for? Not so much quality as value.”

Find out if your chain made the list; click here to read the rest of the article.