Papa Gino’s has found mobile messaging to be a key marketing component. 

As safety protocols, dining room closures, and other business restrictions changed rapidly at the outset of the pandemic, brands needed a convenient way to connect with their customers. But brands sending out emails and push notifications via loyalty apps learned the hard way that consumers aren’t always opening and engaging with those traditional forms of messaging. 

Pizza chain Papa Gino’s Pizzeria and its sister brand, D’Angelo Grilled Sandwiches, instead found success with mobile messaging, which has up to a 98 percent open rate. In comparison, email has a 5 percent open rate, while 30 to 40 percent of customers who download loyalty apps immediately turn off the push notifications. And though the brands were using mobile messaging to communicate things like the measures being taken to keep their guests safe, they have also seen great success before and during the pandemic using the channels to promote time sensitive offers used to drum up sales. 

“Working with Mobivity, we have a 500 percent return on marketing spend,” says Deena McKinley, the chief marketing officer for Papa Gino’s and D’Angelo. “Mobivity helps us leverage things like trends in user behavior to send intelligent messages with words and phrases that help maximize engagement, and it works. Mobivity is like me—they are data-driven and want to tie everything they do to a tangible financial result.” 

One of the reasons McKinley views mobile messaging as superior to other forms of marketing is the fact that it requires each person to first opt in to receive offers. That means the subscribers tend to be active users with higher rates of engagement. To wit, her restaurants see a 17 percent higher return-visit rate with the mobile messaging subscribers than they do with their loyalty program enrollees. 

So why is Mobivity’s platform so effective? According to McKinley, it’s because Mobivity helps brands unlock key insights into customer data and behavior that keeps future mobile messaging fresh, timely, and relevant to customers. For example, Mobivity can help seamlessly integrate a restaurant brand’s systemwide POS data into its already robust collection of insights, even automatically correcting for things like the different ways franchisees enter a product name into the POS, or miskeys by a cashier. The POS data also helps identify how long it has been since a customer ordered food from the restaurant brand, helping better tailor messaging based on that information—for example, somebody who hasn’t entered the store in over 90 days would get a more tempting offer than someone who regularly visits. 

“If somebody wanted to do an SMS campaign on their own, they could probably go with one of the many companies who do it, and they could send it out and see what happens,” McKinley says. “The difference between that and what Mobivity does is the data attribution, and the intelligent messaging that is based on trends in user behavior. They have that artificial intelligence component to let us know what works best—which days of the week, which times of day, and the other factors that go into the most optimal time to be sending our database mobile offers and messaging.” 

So while email and loyalty apps still might have some use in the average brand’s marketing mix, it is mobile messaging that appears to be the future of connecting with customers and creating brand loyalty. 

“Mobile messaging just makes the most sense, in my opinion, of any marketing program that I’ve ever done in my history in foodservice,” McKinley says. “It pays for itself. When you look at the return, this is the type of program that continues to justify the spend, and it really just doesn’t make sense to not be doing it.” 

For more information on how to start sending intelligent mobile messaging to your customers, visit the Mobivity website

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