This is part two of our mini-series with branding guru Felicia Stingone, former chief marketing officer of Union Square Hospitality Group and currently a partner at The Velo Group. At Velo, Felicia works with companies to help realize their potential through brand-led growth. She believes that brand can align and strengthen a company’s daily operations, culture, and marketing initiatives by ensuring the delivery of a differentiated brand experience that benefits all stakeholders. Felicia explains that Velo’s mission is to “help good companies win” through the power of brand. Last week we discussed the 6 Steps to Mastering Your Restaurant’s Brand. Along with branding, I have a deep interest in new marketing technologies and how they can help us to more effectively communicate our brand by allowing us to make better, more meaningful connections with our customers. With the rapid pace at which technology is evolving and changing, it can be daunting for even seasoned marketers to keep up. This is especially true in the restaurant industry where some fear that hi-tech will replace the hi-touch cornerstone of hospitality. Many companies, not just restaurants, could benefit from a Chief Technology Marketer – someone who can help shape the critical technology systems and software decisions for collecting data about customers and using that data to create value in the form of a better brand experience.
Just like brand, technology should unite a company by working across all departments – finance, marketing, front and back of house, etc. – to put into practice a brand’s promise by activating it’s principles for interacting with guests, suppliers, and fellow employees. By having one person oversee this process, a restaurant can ensure the pieces of the technology puzzle fit together and work in unison. The Chief Technology Marketer works exceptionally well in restaurants since no two restaurant companies are alike. No one universal solution would work in every restaurant so having someone to determine the right mix is crucial.
Like a POS System, a CRM solution is one of those tools that needs to be adaptable since every restaurant interacts with their guests differently. Many restaurants use a CRM to track guest preferences and history, and some are even building their own solutions, which can be costly and time intensive. A CRM is helpful in integrating hi-tech with your hi-touch points. From targeted emails, to personalized service in the restaurant, a CRM can enhance your guests experience throughout your entire marketing funnel. One rule that remains the same across the board, is that all people want to feel that they are appreciated as customers and individuals.
“You still need the human factor. You must integrate the touch. It is not replacing the role of people but enhancing their ability to deliver a relevant and personal experience.”
Technology that allows us to track customer data and communicate with our guests in a personalized way has seen major advancements in the last few years. As a technology provider, it’s important to stay flexible and evolve with the marketplace. A restaurant does not want to commit time to training their staff only to realize in a year that the system is outdated. As the restaurant industry starts to scale, technology will become a welcome friend while maintaining the same “mom and pop” experience.