Mar 24, 2017 | Customer Retention Strategies That Work

Five Pizza Marketing Strategies for 2017

by  Margaret Link — Marketing at Thanx

Pizza is potentially the most delicious food on the planet... but it's also one of the most competitive businesses to run. Pizza restaurants must not only excel at making pie, but also out-market competing pizza joints. In this post, we look at 5 marketing strategies to help you beat the competition in 2017:

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The pizza market continues to grow, and the big players continue to innovate: From Pizza Hut doubling down on mobile ordering growth, to Dominos going to "zero-click" ordering, everyone is trying to leverage technology to better serve their customers while standing out from the crowd.

To succeed in this environment, Here are the top five pizza marketing strategies you're not using that lead to increased revenue and drastically improved customer satisfaction. 

1) Gather (and use) customer data

Most pizza companies have too many moving parts — "data analytics" feels like an intimidating challenge. However, it's hugely valuable to collect any type of customer data you can in order to get an aerial view of how your business is performing. 

The most important data is that which tells a story about who your customers are and allows you to reach out to them with information specific to their behavior.

For example, when you have transaction data that's tied to a customer, and then you have feedback that ties back into that transaction data, you can respond to customers with context about what they mean to your business. 

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The best part — this type of deep business intelligence (AKA "data analytics") isn't out of reach — a loyalty program worth the investment will be able to seamlessly provide actionable data and uncover powerful insights about your business.

One of the most valuable ways that you can leverage the data generated by your loyalty program is through the ability to send personalized messages to your guests. This means that every customer receives a unique loyalty experience, curated based on their buying patterns. A first-time customer shouldn't get the same deals as your VIP guests — with complete customer data, you can make that distinction. 

Old school loyalty programs treat all customers the same  — because at the end of the day, they don't know their VIPs from their occasional, low-value visitors. Utilize your data advantage to deliver the best possible experience to your visitors. 

2) Focus on millennial customers

Millennials choose (and prefer) mobile as their primary means of communication. Those pizza brands that rely solely on flyers, email marketing, and radio ads (what?!) will be left behind.

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According to PMQ, last year Millennials made more than 14 billion visits to restaurants and spent $95 billion. Millennials have gone from fiery upstarts to the focal point of our economy – they hold over $200 billion in spending power. As a result, pizza restaurants need to tailor their strategy to this demographic.

According to eMarketer, 90% of U.S. millennial smartphone users have their phones within arm's reach 24/7. So, hopefully clear: mobile = priority #1 to communicate with the economy's most important (i.e. lucrative) demographic.

3) Put customer experience first

While tech in restaurants is certainly evolving, it should add joy to the customer experience, not complexity. Scanning QR codes, typing in phone numbers, etc. are all examples of bad customer experiences.

Seventy percent of retailers report consumers will wait five minutes or less before a customer abandons a purchase and leaves the store. Great businesses prioritize customer service absolutely; anything that distracts from a great experience cannot be tolerated.

I'll reference back to a recent study about how customers like to use loyalty programs: When asked what the biggest hassle of loyalty programs was, the ol' plastic card was the #1 agitator, with 37% of people surveyed responding that they disliked the experience of bringing a loyalty card or a punch card (our merchant partners know this well). Other things customers disliked? The lack of clarity surrounding rewards with traditional loyalty programs, and the process of providing personal information (phone number, for example) with every transaction.

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4) Prioritize communication with your customers

According to data from a recently-released restaurant study about consumer participation in restaurant marketing initiatives, 48% of consumers never sign up simply because they lack information. When consumers are informed, 87% chose to enroll. 

So, when pizza restaurants communicate clearly about a program that benefits their customers, they can generate an 80% improvement in the number of customers that choose to participate (interestingly, this best practice applies to other industries: Michael Marino, VP of Customer Loyalty at Caesars mentioned that conversion rate for loyalty cards jumped from 24% to 80% once the marketing team "made a conscious effort to be very clear with our intentions").

 

5) Don't spend money acquiring new customers without investing in your existing customers

A recent survey posted to Pizza Marketplace found that nearly 80% of survey respondents think online deal sites, such as LivingSocial, are successful in driving sales; 18 percent stated that online deal sites are more beneficial than other marketing channels (yes, LivingSocial sponsored the survey). 

To be very clear, it's a terrible idea to launch an online/daily deal promotion without a strategy to make sure customers come back. It's impossible (yes, impossible) to earn a positive ROI on an online/daily deal unless the majority of customers come back – and that's before we even get to the Yelp effect

To make sure customers return, you need to figure out who these customers are and establish a way to communicate with them so you can make them into customers for life. That's where Thanx comes in — we enroll your customers in an effortless loyalty program so you can drive more visits, higher spend, and more loyalty. We'll do your retention marketing for you; you focus on making delicious pizza. 

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