The future marriage of marketing and IT departments (or the marriage that has already happened, depending on how you look at it) is undeniable. While some brands have embraced this trend, adopting entities such as mobile platforms and email-reward programs, there is still much more learning and experimenting to be done. Above many other industries, restaurants must concentrate on merging marketing and IT.
According to his post entitled “Why Restaurants Must Unite IT, Marketing Departments to Win Customers” on QSRWeb.com, Mark Gartland of DynamIT, tech spending is projected to hit about $3.7 trillion this year. Marketers are starting to realize that a brand message can’t simply be shouted from a rooftop anymore. People have not only caught on to the messaging in the 30-second spot, but many don’t even watch anymore thanks to DVR technology and services like Hulu and Netflix. Now, it is all about engaging your target with immediate satisfaction, and that can only be done as marketers continue to think progressively and push the boundaries of capturing an audience’s attention.
Think about how you use technology when it comes to restaurants now. Suppose you were told you’d be dining out with friends tonight – what is the first thing you would do? Would you check the menu online? Look up reviews on Yelp? Perhaps you would want to know if there were any Happy Hour specials. The point is that the restaurant industry lends itself to technology advances so well that it is hard for marketers to ignore.
Chipotle is an example of a quick-service chain that gets it on multiple levels, particularly through their Farm Team loyalty program. Unlike other loyalty programs, which base rewards off number of visits, the Chipotle program backs up its environmentally friendly branding by rewarding consumers for learning more about sustainable farming and demonstrating their knowledge through a company website. In this case, the brand is not only connecting with consumers on an issue that most care about, but uses technology to give them a unique experience.
The use of technology for the benefits of QSR marketing doesn’t have to stop at consumer experience either. Marketers and technology professionals have the opportunity to work with each other on different ways to interpret consumer data or forecast upcoming trends. But, it all starts with the coming together of the two separate entities and realizing the benefits of collaboration.