Commentary: The case for online marketing management

By Frank Defino, Jr.

One major daily challenge for restaurant marketers is being able to provide each location with customized marketing materials while reducing waste and meeting budget requirements. The once-acceptable generic marketing kits where every location received the same materials are a thing of the past. This would result in locations without windows receiving window clings and/or locations with no seating receiving table tents.

Brands can no longer afford to waste money sending irrelevant materials to their locations.

The emergence of online marketing management platforms is now making it possible to meet these challenges economically with the ability to order customized cross-media marketing materials that effectively respond to a dynamic consumer climate in an efficient manner. These are sophisticated, yet affordable, solutions that offer a host of additional benefits to marketers who choose to invest in them.

All materials come from one scalable platform

By implementing an online marketing solution, corporate approved templates and materials promoting national campaigns, such a bakery's release of holiday LTO menu items or a shop's new line of frozen yogurt, are housed on a single platform accessible by end-users. The local businesses then have the flexibility to order only the materials relevant for their specific location. Let's look at an example of how one national brand has benefited from this option:

A quick-service brand with thousands of locations throughout the U.S. recently utilized an online marketing management platform to roll out a national campaign. When the campaign launched, the corporate marketers provided each location with a budget. Using the online marketing management platform, each location was able to go online and order the materials relevant to their location — such as register toppers for a mall unit or window clings for a standalone restaurant. This eliminated the waste resulting from generic marketing kits and ensured all budget requirements were met.

Additionally, these web-based platforms offer digital printing output, making it possible to produce targeted, full-color materials at smaller quantities. This eliminates the cost and variability of multiple printers since all materials are developed and printed by the same source.

Customized materials with consistent messaging

Since marketing campaigns effective in one region may be unsuccessful in another, many fast casual restaurants are seeing value in utilizing online marketing management platforms that provide a closed-loop system. Web-based solutions that go beyond web-to-print offer the ability to streamline and integrate all messaging — from print ads and sales collateral, to personalized direct mail and emails — that lead to more detailed information. Allowing distributed end-users — those most familiar with the market — the ability to create personalized marketing materials derived from pre-approved corporate templates, ensures that the materials resonate with the target audience. Let's look at an example of one restaurant successfully utilizing an online marketing solution:

Another QSR with more than 13,000 locations was looking for a way to allow local owners the ability to personalize the corporate marketing materials. It enlisted the help of a service provider that was able to customize a web browser-based system for use on-site at the restaurant or on the individual owner's laptop. As the on-site employee makes edits to the customizable areas of the design, their changes are instantly updated in a live preview directly on the website.

The response from restaurant owners to this marketing solution has been incredibly positive as they enjoy the options presented by the format and the ease-of-use the system provides. Corporate marketers at the headquarters of the chain have also been very happy with the results of the program and the options it gives their owners/operators, and allows them to feel secure that brand integrity stays intact.

Track and analyze marketing metrics to forecast spending habits

An online marketing management platform should also have the capability to produce customizable reporting that will fit your business structure and data analysis needs. The ability to determine what works, what doesn't, and what can be improved is monumentally crucial in the planning of future campaigns.

The platform selected must provide access to a multitude of data including accountability metrics, purchase patterns and profit/loss calculations. Understanding the usage and ordering habits resulting from the campaign can help to quickly determine the direction of and costs associated with future campaigns.

Move forward with OMM

An online marketing management platform needs to be robust enough to provide a restaurant chain with an end-to-end process to reach an individual level while maintaining brand integrity and engaging customers. Having the ability to deliver a streamlined, efficient way to produce and order more effective marketing materials that meet individual location and customer needs will only strengthen a brand's value. Researching and integrating this technology into your marketing efforts can be the key to producing future successful campaigns and reduce impersonal inventory that doesn't effectively reach the customer.

Seek out a system that can provide both a comprehensive solution and the scalability to tailor the system to individual business needs. The result is that brand integrity, quality and corporate standards — as well as budgets — can be controlled with every campaign.

Frank Defino, Jr. is vice president and managing director of Tukaiz, a results-driven marketing communications service provider based in Franklin Park, Ill. Tukaiz provides in-house consulting, creative, high-quality print production capabilities as well as prepress, offset, digital, large format and banner printing, online marketing management, data development, website development/hosting, multimedia solutions, finishing, mailing and fulfillment services for a variety of industries and vertical markets. He can be reached at fdjr@tukaiz.com.

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