A Night Out with Restaurant Executives, a Waterfall Sponsored Dinner & Cocktail Reception in Dallas

mCordis recently had the pleasure of hosting an intimate networking dinner and cocktail reception at Whiskey Cake Kitchen and Bar in Dallas, Texas. The dinner was produced by mCordis and Rob Crews, a former restaurant CMO, and supported by Waterfall, a leading mobile messaging solution provider, Mblox, a global messaging and aggregation services provider, and YA, a marketing agency that manages consumer incentives.

The dinner brought restaurant marketing executives, complimentary food service companies, and MarTech providers together to discuss the role of digital marketing, including messaging, within a restaurant’s marketing mix. 

Throughout the evening new relationships were formed, terrific food was enjoyed, especially the signature Whiskey Cake dessert (think the merger of plums, flour, sugar, and whiskey—oh so good!), and an interactive discussion around digital was had. Three key themes emerged during the evening, 1) MarTech, 2) Automation and 3) Understanding.

New technology leading to new marketing strategies

Rob Crews opened up the evening with a discussion on how there is massive fragmentation in traditional media. The cost of mass media to reach today’s digitally savvy individual is rising faster than most restaurant’s growth.  In other words, “their media has become less efficient.” As a result, marketers, particularly in the restaurant industry, are looking toward digital to drive efficiency, efficient engagement to their owned media channels, rather than paying a monthly fee for a rented audience. The group had a really engaging, in-depth conversation around this transition to digital and the obstacles they are experiencing along the way.

Everyone in the room agreed that marketers are seeing their advertising initiatives struggle. The traditional methods of advertising are simply not as effective as they once were. Due to the emergence of new technology like Smartphones, tablets, and the up and coming capabilities like Virtual Reality, there are now more screens competing for individuals’ attention. This has caused marketers to begin shifting their efforts to create and project promotional content where it will be seen and engaged with by their target audience.

Furthermore, this new technology, particularly the Smartphone, allows marketers to reach individuals with personalized content that is both location and time-relevant to the individual’s behaviors. In order to do this, a variety of statistical data must be collected on that individual’s habits and interests. Thus, there has been an influx of marketing companies focused on providing analytics tools to both collect and interpret this data to convert it into understandable and actionable insights that brands can actually use to deliver this personalized consumer experience, at scale.  Of the up and coming leaders in this space is Jordan Thaeler, President of WhatsBusy, who remarked how data-infused insights are changing the fundamentals of marketing decision making.

Manual to automation

Marketing has evolved from the individual, one-to-one relationships, to mass-customized media approaches where marketers project their messages at scale to select cohorts or even the individual. With digital capabilities, marketers can now connect with individuals on a personal level, at scale. Although it sounds simple in theory, many of the brands present during the evening struggled with the same obstacle, the transition process.  Most said they understand and believe in the vision of automated individual communications at scale, but their current systems are not yet ready to actually deliver on the vision. However, so much of their work is still manual and extremely labor intensive today.

Understanding the change in consumer behavior

The consensus of those in attendance was that digital is playing an increasingly larger role in a restaurant’s ability to drive foot traffic and engage new and existing customers, on an individual-by-individual basis.  According to the the dinner guests, the key to unlocking this behavior starts with understanding, understanding the people they serve and understanding the business objective and the behaviors that the restaurant needs to foster in people in order for a mutually successful relationship. Every restaurant needs to understand itself, and strive to understand the type of food and environment the people they serve, the media they consume and through what medium, and what may drive and incentivize them to make one more action (order or visit).

Marketing is transforming before our very eyes.  The frameworks, capabilities and strategies necessary for succeeding today are evolving at a staggering pace.  If you’d like to learn more, reach out to mCordis, Rob CrewsWaterfallMblox, and YA.  We are all here to help you be successful and deliver value to the people you serve.