When it came time to open the first franchised Pablo's Pizza, founder Paul Knaysi didn't want to make the same mistake he'd made at his original location: not tracking customer information for marketing purposes. This time around, he integrated a database that collects customer order data at both Pablo's Colorado locations.  
 
"There's no comparison to using our old paper system, when we had to write down all the customer information every time someone called," Knaysi said.
 
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SpeedLine Solutions

Knaysi implemented the new system in his Speedline POS.
 
"Now it's all in the computer. Our customers were so psyched when we got the POS because we keyed in their phone number and it was all there already," he said.
 
Such data is invaluable when it comes to marketing, functionality not missed by Knaysi.
 
"We've been building up our new franchisee's customer database since opening two months ago," he said. "All their marketing is coming from the Speedline POS."
 
Using POS as a marketing tool is ideal for the pizza business. For the most part, customer preferences are narrowly based on a niche menu, and contact information is needed for every delivery. With virtually every order, managers have the essential ingredients for a well-informed and targeted marketing campaign.
 
"One of the things that makes pizza point-of-sale different from other restaurants' applications is the customer database, mainly because of the aspect of delivery," said Jennifer Wiebe, marketing manager for Speedline Solutions. "Customer history, which contains all the previous orders, is hugely important for marketing. It lets you do marketing based on what people really like, making it so much more effective."
 
Direct mail
 
Key to a POS-centric marketing effort is direct mail, generally based on 30-, 60- and 90-day mailing efforts. Depending on what set of customers a manager wishes to target, direct mail is automatically generated after a period of time, usually 30, 60 or 90 days since a customer's last order. Here's where Speedline really steps up with a new service called SpeedMail, a full-service database marketing program that relieves operators of the burden of coordinating incentive mailings.
 
"While database marketing is always a hot topic with pizza operators, I can count on my hand the number I've talked to who are actually doing it on a regular basis," Wiebe said. "Some will do it occasionally, some will try it a few times a year, but very few of them are doing it regularly, the way you need to for getting the most benefit from it."
 
Time for marketing is often forfeited as other operational issues clamor for attention. But with SpeedMail, integrated software in the Speedline POS allows partner MailMark, a print-mail fulfillment company, to seamlessly pull information from the database, print and distribute direct mail based on an operator's needs.
 
The mail-piece's look and feel, as well as customized offers, are determined by the operator. Once these decisions are communicated to MailMark, marketing becomes a relatively hands-off affair.
 
"The thoroughness of the database within the POS system has allowed us to market very effectively, much more so than, say, mailing to an entire ZIP code," said Chris Jordan, owner of Luigi's Pizza Kitchen in Branson, Mo., a SpeedMail user. "We can even break down the different menu items customers have ordered. If we're having a promotion for a specialty item, we are able to pull reports showing who likes that item, allowing us to direct mail those customers."
 
It's target marketing that hits the bull's-eye, "sent out more frequently and more regularly," Jordan said. "The success with it has been so great that we've hired a director of marketing to administer the database."

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