With social media and other online tools becoming increasingly popular among quick-serve customers, and with smartphones continuing to permeate every demographic, one mobile marketing provider is tying together all channels of communication in such a way to boost quick serves’ local store marketing efforts.  

Gib Bassett, director of marketing for Signal, says the company’s latest solution creates for brands a customer database that captures customer data points across several different channels, like mobile and social media.

The solution can use Twitter and Facebook to encourage customers to opt in to a mobile marketing system, which then sends deals to customers through text and, eventually, e-mail. Brands that use Signal’s tool can either let individual store operators craft deals themselves or create a cache of deals that operators can take advantage of for their local marketing.

“It’s a combination of local execution, repository or corporate-controlled offers that the local store can execute, corporate oversight of the entire system, and then cross-channel promotion to get people into the program, remain opted into the program, and then drive traffic, drive sales, and promote new menu items,” Bassett says.

Bassett says one company using Signal’s solution, a 400-unit quick-serve chain, chose to keep the deal creation process within headquarters in order to keep the entire system on point.

“In mobile marketing, there’s a lot of standards around what the messages have to say, so they don’t people making mistakes and being out of compliance by making their own offers,” he says. “So they kind of centralize that intelligence at corporate. What’s customizable is the frequency with which the individual locations can employ those offers to help drive traffic and help promote things.”

Signal’s tool sends customers to a landing page on the quick serve’s website where the customer fills out a profile and opts in to receive deals, Bassett says. By using the customer database that captures various data points from the consumer, he says, store operators can direct their deals more specifically to consumers.

“The whole idea here is to create a unified customer profile that really goes beyond the typical mobile marketing campaign, and [doesn’t] just collect opt-in permission and numbers to blast generic messages, but to, over time, get better at targeting,” he says.

Mobile marketing in the future will continue to focus on specific targeting of customers, Bassett says. He says the next wave of mobile will craft deals around check-in technology—like that used by Foursquare—and “geo-fencing,” which can push deals to customers who are within a certain geographic area.

To make mobile marketing work, though, Bassett says quick serves must find a balance between frequency and quality of deals.

“Every marketer that gets engaged in this, that is going to take it seriously and be held accountable for the return on investment, has to look beyond just getting people to opt in to the club … and have a longer-term strategy,” he says.

By Sam Oches

Marketing & Promotions, News