The marketing of a restaurant is completely different today than it was before 2020. The pandemic has forced restaurants to completely transform the way they operate, which naturally has an impact on the way they interact with consumers. . Not only are merchants in the food court facing the fallout from the pandemic, but they are facing the implications of ever-growing privacy concerns.
The privacy landscape has undergone many changes in 2020 and will continue to evolve through 2021. Let me go over a few of those changes. Apple has announced plans to restrict its IDFA (Identifier for Advertisers) in 2021. This will require developers and publishers to obtain user permission before using the Mobile Ad ID for ad tracking. In November, California saw the approval of another privacy law intended to add more protection and guarantees on specific types of data as well as for minors. In addition to new restrictions and laws, consumers are increasingly concerned about data privacy. In a survey we conducted earlier this year, nearly 40% of respondents said they were uncomfortable with brands using personalized ads or cookies. The writing is on the wall, the days of relying on cookies and third party data to reach consumers are over.
Operations have moved to a more digital experience. The majority of restaurants have closed in-person meals and rely more on online ordering and delivery. Many consumers are reluctant to return to in-person delivery and continue to opt for contactless delivery options. It’s clear that not only data practices have changed, but customer behavior has also changed.
If cookies and third-party data are no longer viable options for restaurant merchants, the question becomes how to move forward.
Be guided by the right data
It starts with third party data. If you are unfamiliar with the term, now is the time to learn. Zero-Party data is any data that a customer chooses to share with a brand as part of some sort of value exchange. Data should guide your marketing strategy, but it will require a change from traditional marketing practices that rely on buying ads or posting on social media. It’s about creating a direct connection with your customer. Try to offer a discount in exchange for some of their information. The consumer gets a discount and you get relevant data.
Find the right channels
Loyalty programs are by no means new, but the move to the Zero Party certainly underscores their importance. Like I said, a value exchange is an essential part of zero-party data. Restaurants need to think about how best to deliver this value to their customers. The pizza and pizza chain was able to double enrollment in its loyalty program by switching to frictionless enrollment. They’ve removed the barriers for customers to sign up and start earning rewards. This is a great example of a brand meeting its customers where they are. One of the best places to meet your clients is in their email inbox. In fact, email addresses can be found on the most important data points that you own. Email gives you the ability to communicate directly with a customer, build a relationship, and deliver value in exchange for data. Using email is a great place to start.
With the zero-party database and finding the right channels, marketers can really start to personalize. Personalization is at the heart of making a connection between the brand and the customer (or potential customer. Data can and should be used to foster the relationship. Bloomin ‘Brands is a prime example of how to use effectively data for personalization They leveraged data from their interactions with customers to drive messages and as a result they tripled their offsite sales.
It has been a difficult year for the restaurant industry. Customer behavior has changed rapidly and continues to evolve. Marketers who put zero-party data at the heart of their efforts are poised for success in the future. So pass third-party data, leverage a multitude of channels, and start turning that information into action.