3 Restaurant Marketing Trends to Watch in 2014

Marketing in today’s world can feel like a fragmented endeavor, what with all of the various options that are available. Traditional media marketing through television, radio and print remain important cornerstones of successful restaurant campaigns, but modern marketing options through social networks and digital and mobile platforms are equally critical. Rather than despairing over the fragmented nature of all of these options however, restaurant operators should embrace them as an opportunity to shine in multiple avenues and look for ways to implement integrated marketing and branding plans that build consumer awareness in new ways. Here are three restaurant marketing trends you will see a lot more in 2014.

Utilizing Restaurant Industry Applications and Refining Social Media Interactions

Smart phones now account for some 64% of all mobile phones in the U.S. and that figure grows steadily year by year. Consumers increasingly expect to be able to use their phones to interact with your business. Restaurants around the country are rolling out mobile-coupon and mobile-loyalty platforms with great success. Along with payment, loyalty, ordering and reservation functions, several restaurants are also developing games that align with brand messages or give food rewards to players to entertain and engage users. There is as much fragmentation within the type of device on which an application runs as there is in marketing avenue options. So, until there is an ‘ultimate device’ that everyone uses, it’s best for restaurant operators to keep versatility as top priority when developing and improving their applications. 

On the social media front, restaurant operators need to be more mindful than ever about how they look in the eyes of the public, and be prepared to deal with crisis should it arise. Previous years have shown us how quickly a brand’s reputation can get damaged through social media by careless responses from moderators regarding customer concerns. With a number of hot topics, such as minimum wage, poised to make headlines in 2014, restaurant operators should have a response plan of action or think about adjusting their cultural identities to best turn politics to their advantage. 

Old-Fashioned Restaurant Marketing Still Works, Especially on T.V.

With the rise of digital and social marketing, it can be easy think that you can let traditional media marketing fall by the wayside. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Despite the increasing popularity of digital and social marketing, television, in particular, remains a highly influential form of advertising. In fact, 68% of consumers surveyed in September of last year said they take action at least some of the time after viewing a TV commercial. The only thing that inspires a higher action rate than that is recommendations from friends and opinions posted online.  This underscores the folly of neglecting traditional forms of media marketing. 

Restaurants Co-Brand for Greater Reach

There is one final trend to watch in 2014 that we’ll discuss here. That trend is the potential that can be unlocked by partnering with the right companies and getting your research and development teams to collaborate. Such unions can be wildly successful for both businesses. Think of Taco Bell’s Dorito Locos Tacos, Cinnabon lending its signature flavor to Burger King’s breakfast products, as well as bottles of vodka, and McDonald’s and Kraft’s McCafe-branded coffee scheduled to hit grocery stores this year. Looking for ways to partner up and collaborate with other businesses in your area is a smart way to create a win-win situation for everyone, and you can count on seeing more such unions in the upcoming year.

Media marketing strategies will continue to evolve with technology and consumer demand. To be successful in the coming years, restaurant operators should focus on building integrated marketing plans and recognize that multiple media avenues are opportunities for creatively reaching and engaging customers.

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2 Responses to “3 Restaurant Marketing Trends to Watch in 2014”

  1. lyndaybaker Says:

    Hi Jim,

    “Looking for ways to partner up and collaborate with other businesses in your area is a smart way to create a win-win situation”

    Of course I love this because it is exactly what my company does: we reach out to restaurants on behalf of 90 large/Fortune 500 companies. The diners we send are expense account-business diners that dine primarily Monday through Thursday when many restaurants have open capacity. Our restaurant partners tell us business diners using expense accounts spend 25%-50% more than customers using their own money, and they tend to purchase high margin items. Finally, the business is incremental. The large corporations get a rebate, and we get a percentage of that. The business model is a win for all involved.

    I benefit from your blogs and look forward to reading them. I also re-blog and publish them via Twitter. The restaurants that follow me seem to like your blogs, too , as told by the number of hits I get when I publish them.

    Best regards,

    Lynda Baker
    Manager, Restaurant Partners
    Dinova, LLC

  2. lyndaybaker Says:

    Reblogged this on lyndaybaker and commented:
    Jim Balis Blog on Retaurant Marketing Trends-Good Read

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