The Next Big Restaurant Marketing Trend You Haven’t Heard Of

A&W Restaurants, like many in the quick-service restaurant space, found itself scrambling to make up for lost face-to-face interaction when dining rooms shuttered due to COVID-19. With limited opportunities to greet guests in person, A&W partnered with Jebbit, a digital experience and first-party data company, to launch a series of interactive quizzes in an effort to regain that personalized touch. And it helped catapult A&W to its highest growth year in nearly a decade, as systemwide sales hiked 8.5 percent.

“We’re always looking for new ways to engage with our customers,” says, Spencer Barrett, digital manager at A&W. “This was an innovative strategy. We hear from lots of vendors, but the people at Jebbit were so passionate about their platform, not only was it a great fit for our business, but it was also exciting for us to work with people who are passionate about what they do.”

Quizzes, or online experiences as they are sometimes called, might seem like an odd medium for a quick-service restaurant to leverage when trying to connect with diners, especially a quiz that at first glance doesn’t have anything to do with food. But, as Barrett explains, the quizzes are far more than a form of entertainment.

“People online like to not only talk about themselves, but they like to learn about themselves,” Barrett says. “Quizzes allow people like our fans to engage with us and learn something about themselves or our brand. On the flip side, that gives us data about who those customers are.”

A&W introduced 10 digital experiences since October 2020, and the results proved illuminating. The quizzes generated nearly 40,000 views, with a quiz completion rate of 92 percent, and a lead capture rate of 58 percent. The most successful digital experience, “what kind of road tripper are you,” saw an 85 percent lead capture rate and a completion figure of 96 percent.

The data retrieved is what makes this such a valuable marketing tool for the brand. Unlike data gathered from third-party sources, the information obtained through these online experiences came firsthand from the user. This is both a more honest representation of the user and their data points, and a more transparent means of collecting data. Especially during a time when user privacy on online platforms is such a hot-button issue.

Barret explains how the answer to questions from quizzes like, “what type of road tripper are you” can be turned into actionable strategies.

“The road tripper quiz specifically helped us get an even deeper understanding of our fans on an emotional level,” Barret says. “For example, many of the respondents, the majority of them, said they preferred traveling with their significant other and that their favorite part of a road trip is spending time with loved ones. So, knowing a data point like this, that people love to travel together and they’re usually with a significant other, helps us with the content that we post on social. Are we showing people enjoying our food together to really harness the communal experience of dining at an A&W? Even the types of coupons and discounts that we offer in our restaurants. So, thinking about if we know people love going to A&W with a friend, are we doing more BOGO offers and coupons or discount so that people can go with someone else?”

With the steady increase of e-commerce over the last few years, particularly in the quick-service restaurant space where customers can now order online from almost any restaurant, engaging customers online has become paramount. Tom Coburn, Jebbit co-founder and CEO, says the platform offers a premiere way to do just that. He says the company’s interactive and tailored digital experiences offer immediate entertainment for the customer in exchange for privacy-safe, first-party data.   

“The quiz is really powerful because not only does it drive more purchases or lead capture in the moment,” Coburn says, “it also gives you all this really valuable question-and-answer data, the declared data we call it. But, we’re not trying to be your end data warehouse. The builder we’ve created is really what defines us. If you’re a client of Jebbit and have collected 90 million first-party self-declared data points, that’s their data, they own it. We’re a platform that allows you to create experiences to go capture this data.”

The builder Coburn mentions is the customizable platform online experiences are built upon. Clients of Jebbit customize online experiences by using their brands logo, developing more engaging questions, and can even monitor in real time the success of individual questions from specific experiences.

Brands also reap another benefit when using the digital-experience-based strategy: greater awareness of what they need to do better. Barrett says the quizzes let A&W know what menu items it’s not doing a good job of marketing. If there’s a product that customers need to be better educated about, those quizzes tell A&W what specific ones deserve brighter spotlight.

So, are digitally based experiences the marketing tool of the future?

“One-hundred percent,” A&W’s Barrett says. “I think consumer data is harder and harder to come by. So, any time that you can leverage these data points, and in a fun way for the consumer, it’s going to be beneficial for any brand, especially those looking to learn about their core customer. The customer is having fun and getting to learn about themselves or share their opinions with us and we’re getting data we can use to really shape our strategy now and going forward.”

https://www.qsrmagazine.com/marketing-promotions/next-big-restaurant-marketing-trend-you-havent-heard

Candice Cearley

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