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    Location Intelligence & Geofencing: How Restaurants Can Win

  • Burger King's latest campaign is proof brands can attract customers.

    flickr: Mike Mozart
    Burger King may have trolled McDonald's with its 1-cent deal, but there was more at play.

    As we all know, the quick-service restaurant industry is a crowded market with all of the players in the space competing closely for a piece of the revenue pie. Each quick-serve is constantly trying to get increasingly creative with marketing and advertising campaigns in order to win customers over to their restaurants. One of the ways companies are currently gaining a competitive edge is via technology and data-driven methods like real-time geofencing and location intelligence to achieve this. 

    Here are some of the ways brands are currently using location intelligence to win customers over:

    Improving Competitive Analysis and Targeting

    Location data provides quick-serves with the ability to not just monitor their own locations, but also the locations of their competitors as well. By monitoring traffic patterns to individual locations, restaurants can get a relative sense of consumer foot traffic patterns between their own stores and their competitors.

    Location data can also both identify new prospective customers and win back ones a brand might have lost over time. Location intelligence allows quick-service restaurants to have a better understanding of relative share of wallet, competitor store visits and degrees of customer loyalty. It also provides the ability to measure whether particular offers or advertising campaigns are having a meaningful impact on swaying customer loyalty and engagement. Based on aggregated loyalty ratings, quick-serves can then optimize cross-channel user engagement to increase awareness and win customers over more efficiently and effectively.

    The ability to use location intelligence is not limited by a company only having historical data analysis—it can also be applied in real time. One recent example of this is Burger King’s current Whopper Detour campaign. The mobile app campaign is currently running from December 4–12 across the U.S. The campaign centers around Burger King presenting a digital coupon offering their famous Whopper for just 1 cent to a consumer on his or her phone via the brand’s mobile app when the consumer is “at” (within 600 feet of) one of  McDonald’s 14,000 locations.

    Burger King

    The creative campaign has been extremely successful for Burger King from both the standpoint of winning customers over to their locations as opposed to a McDonald’s and also getting more people to download their mobile app. Based on current campaign progress, the app has already hit No. 1 in the App Store’s Food and Drink category. Foot traffic has also reached recent highs for the brand across the country.

    Burger King

    Improve Advertising Effectiveness

    Trying to gain market share in a crowded industry is becoming increasingly difficult. As Burger King has proven, quick-serves are having to get more creative with their advertising campaigns in order to reach the right consumers at the right time with the right message.

    By leveraging location data and analysis, quick-serve resturants can identify and target common behaviors for mobile devices seen at store locations. Look-alike data provides a better understanding of the behaviors of potential target customers based on devices of similar customers who have visited restaurants or specific brands. By incorporating audience modeling into the data, quick-serves can better predict the potential market size of their target customers.

    Location intelligence also helps with measuring the effectiveness of advertising campaigns. In the case of Burger King’s campaign, location helps measure impact for both the quick-serve running the campaign as well as for the targets of the campaign. Location closes the attribution gap for brands and reveals whether or not consumers actually visit a restaurant after viewing an ad or receiving a coupon. With advanced advertising attribution, location can determine the behavior of potential customers who interacted with specific coupons or ads, helping quick-service better measure the performance of their advertising efforts.

    Set Up Geofences In-Store and Nearby To Improve Experiences

    Creating a superior customer experience is key to both keeping loyal customers happy and winning over new customers from competitors. Deploying geofences around restaurant locations allows restaurants to be notified when an app user is nearby or in a store so they can create a seamless customer experience from the minute customers start engaging with the brand.

    One example of this seamless experience is in-app ordering. If someone places an order through a quick-service restaurant’s app to pick up their food in-store, the restaurant can use geofences to notify the employees to prepare the food when the customer is within 5 minutes of the store. This ensures that the food is at the correct temperature when the customer picks it up and that it’s prepared in a timely manner so that the customer doesn’t need to wait long.

    Skyhook
    Skyhook’s data of Starbucks (green) and McDonald’s (yellow) locations around New York, Boston, San Francisco and Seattle.

    The Bottom Line

    In today’s crowded fast food market, quick-serves must step up their game and get creative with their marketing and advertising in order to keep existing customers happy and win over new ones. When implemented successfully, location intelligence and geofencing enables brands to differentiate themselves from the competition and encourage more consumers to visit their restaurants.

    As SVP of Product Management, David Bairstow is responsible for location intelligence business. Prior to Skyhook, David formed and led all of Catalina Marketing’s mobile efforts, focusing on monetizing one of the world’s largest datasets of consumer purchase history. David’s education spans both sides of the pond. He has a BA in finance from Boston College and an MBA from the University of Cambridge / Queens College in Cambridge, U.K.