We asked Alison Glenn Delaney, Chief Marketing Officer at Huddle House, what consumer marketing strategies and tactics she is planning to change or continue in 2018. Here's what she had to say.
We'll do three big things: 1) harness social and digital advertising; 2) implement our online ordering and loyalty programs; and 3) get local.
Everyone now pretty much does some form of digital advertising, still mostly email. Email is still the most reliable way of finding customers, communicating with them, and ultimately getting foot traffic through the door. Most franchise companies probably have done other types of digital advertising, such as programmatic media buying using display ads or video.
When I say "harness" social and digital advertising, I mean that of all the myriad choices of content and digital/social media, which combination of those elements is really going to result in foot traffic through the door, rather than counting impressions or click-throughs? To determine this, we try to dig both a mile wide and a mile deep to really know our customers and potential customers -- not just their dining patterns, but their lifestyles, their likes and dislikes, and their use of digital media that ultimately results in customer visits. When I talk to my counterparts, most haven't quite figured that out yet, and at Huddle House we're putting enormous effort into this.
Second, we'll implement online ordering and a loyalty program. Just about every restaurant chain either has online ordering or is heading that way. We're no different, but given our mostly rural and small-market footprints, our customers don't face the same convenience issues that drive online ordering in urban and suburban markets. So we took our time and really studied the capabilities of our franchisees so that when we do implement, we do so with a program that allows our partners to deliver the same experience of delicious food, served with warmth and friendliness, that can be consumed anywhere.
And finally, I mentioned getting local. Huddle House is a fantastic brand. We're the go-to community gathering place in the locales we serve. It's quite unique. I've never seen as strong a connection between our partners and store teams and their customers as I have with this brand. It's heart-warming and makes me proud to work for Huddle House. We're harnessing those strong relationships as well, through local advertising and community involvement in such a way that we maintain that special place in people's daily lives. Community involvement is the "secret sauce" in making the brand work.
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