As today’s world becomes more personalized and people realize that marketing initiatives that work for one audience may be irrelevant for another, the restaurant industry is beginning to see the value in producing materials that drill down to specific demographics, cultures, and even the most local of environments being served. However, risk always arises when an individual store produces its own marketing materials, as the company’s messaging and branding can become compromised.

In searching for a customized solution that offers flexibility and versatility for distributed users while keeping the company’s messaging and branding intact, restaurateurs are gravitating toward online marketing management solutions. Online marketing management solutions offer a cost-effective, centralized ordering system where each storeowner has the ability to create and order materials from a web-based site that can be personalized to their target audience. At the same time, all of the materials can be strictly controlled by the enterprise.

An online marketing management solution allows users to customize or target specific messages with their POP/POS materials that can be region-specific for local markets. Users can produce highly relevant marketing materials without the worry of sacrificing the brand. This makes it possible to give those closest to the customer the ability to develop materials that make sense for their audience. And since each storeowner orders only the materials needed, there is a reduction in the amount of mass-produced collateral and waste created by each enterprise.

Major restaurant chains are already taking advantage of online marketing options and are experiencing the following benefits:

Going beyond basic web-to-print capabilities

In its most basic form, web-to-print has been defined as a virtual storefront that allows an individual to design and order printed products online. But in the past options were limited. Today’s advanced online marketing systems utilize robust software that duplicates the customer’s branding from approved or predesigned art, with security features that make it accessible only to authorized staff. These systems provide an end-to-end solution from the software utilized in the online system to production and fulfillment of the printed material through a services provider. 

Maintaining brand control and messaging

As previously mentioned, marketing campaigns that are effective in one region may be unsuccessful in another. Franchises and restaurant chains with multiple locations can provide employees the ability to create personalized marketing materials based on their experience in the market. What they know of customer history can only better the brand as a whole—as well as build loyalty to it.

Virtual inventory and fulfillment

Gone are the days of purchasing smaller volumes of printed materials to avoid the expense of warehousing them. Online marketing management systems offer digital printing technologies and multichannel output capabilities, making it possible to print targeted, full-color materials at smaller quantities, which means less inventory and waste. Plus, the ability to point and click online to the materials desired and have the ink-on-paper documents on site within 24–48 hours is just one more benefit that makes life easier for today’s marketing providers.

Tracking and analyzing budget and marketing efforts to forecast spending habits

Analyzing a restaurant’s marketing campaigns in hopes of determining what works, what doesn’t, and what can be improved in the future is important to every business. An end-to-end online marketing management system should provide advanced reporting and administrative capabilities that instantly track the usage and ordering habits of each campaign and provide market research that can quickly determine the direction of future campaigns.

Ultimately, any online marketing management system needs to be robust enough to provide a restaurant chain the entire process needed to succeed in its efforts to reach an individual level while maintaining brand integrity. It must have the ability to deliver a streamlined, cost-effective way to produce more effective marketing materials that both meet the individual needs of a customer base and strengthen the brand’s value. Embracing this technology today can be the key to successful marketing campaigns in the future and a reduction in impersonal inventory that doesn’t effectively reach the customer—or encourage action.

Denise Lee Yohn: QSR's Marketing Guru, Marketing & Promotions, Story