The “Quick-Service Restaurant Loyalty Wars” have been a focal point of industry conversation for a reason—diners are inundated with endless choices, offers and new menu selections in the restaurant space. 

From spicy chicken sandwiches to pumpkin spice lattes and even pickle slushies, quick-serves are constantly innovating their product portfolio and marketing tactics to attract (and hopefully keep) the attention of diners. Many are also investing heavily in creating unique experiences and amping up digital promotions and celebrity and influencer endorsement to drive buzz and long-term loyalty.

Feeling a lasting burn from the impact of post-pandemic behavior changes and ongoing economic hardships, restaurants of all sizes have adapted to meet the evolving needs of consumers to drive visits, sales, and loyalty. 

Whether it’s a new focus on value-based offerings, healthy alternatives, weekday happy hour specials or a demand for omnichannel ordering experiences, marketers are facing vast shifts in diner behaviors. As a result, they must constantly keep up with the preferences of their target audiences, running alongside understanding how to effectively drive return on ad spend. 

While it may seem like a near impossible task to become a fortune-teller of diner preferences, there’s a simple solution—omnichannel measurement.

Channeling the ability to understand a campaign’s impact inflight unleashes a new sense of power for marketers, who are looking to expand their brand’s reach and optimize every marketing dollar spent.

Here’s how you can bring this approach to life:

First, marketers must establish clear and comprehensive KPIs to effectively evaluate campaigns.

Clicks aren’t the end-all-be-all. In order to understand the true impact of campaigns, it’s essential for marketers to identify KPIs that move beyond traditional metrics. 

To be successful, modern marketers are taking a more holistic view of their marketing efforts that includes the impact on brand, visits and sales—“The New Holy Grail of Measurement.” This comprehensive approach allows marketers to measure both top and bottom of the funnel tactics as well as their impact across the customer journey, fueling a thorough understanding of the brand’s efforts and impact on engagement, incremental sales and visits, loyalty and lifetime value.

Why should your brand take this approach?

Every campaign has a different goal. Whether it’s generating awareness, driving visits or monitoring the impact of loyalty program app downloads, it’s a disservice to dismiss other KPIs and solely focus on one metric for success.

Instead of just being helpful in a post-campaign analysis, inflight measurement and this refreshed approach to KPIs also ensures marketers can optimize their campaigns while they’re happening. 

For example, Frisch’s Big Boy partnered with InMarket to understand the health of their business in order to purposefully reach and attract key customers. By adopting this comprehensive measurement approach, Frisch’s was able to test and confirm the efficiency of omnichannel digital efforts in boosting visits and incremental lift. Reaching over 1.3 million unique customers across five markets and driving a 23.1 percent lift in foot traffic. The campaign and effort resulted in a net cost per incremental visit of $0.25 against an average guest checkout of $12, allowing Frisch’s to drive efficiency in their media efforts and improved incrementality and ROAS. 

Additionally, abiding by the “Holy Grail of Measurement” enables marketers to gain a better understanding of key audiences, which is essential for evolving marketing and product strategies.

Dunkin’ is a great example of a brand, who constantly looks to one of its target demographics—Gen Z—for inspiration. Keeping a close eye on Gen Z’s interests, Dunkin’ has launched successful partnerships with influencers like Charli D’Amelio and even bumped up the date of their fall drink menu.

Not only does having an active pulse on your audiences yield exceptional campaign results, it also ensures your brand is better prepared for future obstacles. Rather than merely relying on clicks, this holistic measurement approach catches new opportunities and potential shortcomings while a campaign’s inflight, giving marketers a chance to quickly adjust campaign strategies and leverage learnings for future efforts.

Clicks and loyalty apps fail to encapsulate the full story on their own. Instead, more and more of today’s leading dining brands are building holistic top and bottom of the funnel campaigns with comprehensive measurement approaches assessing the impact and incremental lift on key KPIs such across brand, visits and sales.

By acknowledging this and adapting your measurement strategies accordingly, you’ll shatter engagement rates, better evaluate the success of campaigns, build lasting relationships with diners, and get the most out of your marketing spend.

Alicia DiStefano is InMarket’s VP, Practice Leader for the QSR and Dining verticals. Alicia has worked in media and advertising for over 15 years, with experience in location marketing, data as a service (DaaS), programmatic, and self-service media. She previously worked in the restaurant vertical for 10 years, and has shared conference stages with brands like Panera, Subway, KFC, McDonald’s, DoorDash, and more. In 2018, Alicia oversaw the team, campaign, and submission to win the I-COM Data Creativity Award for a cost per visit campaign for Outback Steakhouse. Alicia is based in Atlanta.

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