More data usually never hurts. Of course, if an abundance of data leads one to use the wrong numbers in analysis, or creates many distracting avenues for analysis that are ultimately worthless, it can hurt. But more data, when appropriately collected, managed, and analyzed, will provide stronger insights.* That is why so much of the innovation around big data is about the first two steps mentioned above: collection and management (see: the ever growing and mystifying cloud. Don’t even get me started on the blockchain.).
The math behind data analysis slowly but surely continues to be refined in valuable and exciting ways, but the fruits of that labor are inaccessible without the basic understanding of the way one’s data is organized. So, while we eagerly wait for today’s Hawking’s and Einstein’s to dream up the new analyses that will double the profitability of the Cobb Salad, we turn our efforts to the “pre-analysis,” where efficient strategies and methods can improve the rate at which we uncover top priority insights, especially for lean organizations that lack the time to manually gather the data from various technology solutions, analyze it, and manually return the insights to those solutions for the next round of action. Our proposal is to integrate your technology solutions, so your data flows automatically, with pre-determined organization, to analysis and insights, and those insights flow back into tools that are prepared to take advantage of them.
*Stronger in this case is not a synonym for better. If you collect the eye color of every guest that visits your stores, you might be able to draw some strong (statistically robust) conclusions about the demand for hazelnut lattes among hazel-eyed patrons, but that might not lead to any profitable strategies. However, for the insights based on a profitable premise, stronger is also better.
As has been the nature of restaurant technology for the 19 years that Fishbowl has provided solutions, the technology that restaurants adopt is generally developed in other industries first, such as retail. This often means that complex capabilities of solutions like email marketing, loyalty programs, and mobile apps, are available, but the necessary data infrastructure to support the features does not exist because it requires time to develop. For example, mobile apps offer the ability to extract user data and match it to members that exist in other databases, such as an eclub. However, that data cannot be matched to eclub members unless the databases have sufficient overlapping attributes. Matching members to the wealth of data that flows through their interactions with the brand at each touchpoint is the same, and because data for various products and services usually exists in databases with different structures, creating the process for matching the data is a key step in integrations. However, once the structure is in place, each incoming data point can be connected to a guest, or a store, or a marketing campaign in real time.
In addition to the benefits of integrated data, integrated capabilities elevate the impact that individual products and services can have on the performance of a brand. When mobile apps and loyalty exists as separate solutions, they each provide value to the brand and guest. Mobile provides another channel to reach guests and a touchpoint for many valuable actions like online ordering, and loyalty carries some incentive for the guest to make additional visits. When loyalty and mobile are combined, they provide additional value by elevating the user experience. Instead of a punch card kept in the wallet and a mobile app for online ordering, the guest now has their frequent brand touchpoints store in the same place, and new incentives to choose the brand over others due to the ease of the experience. For the restaurant marketer, the guest data generated by these actions is now prepared for analysis at the outset because it all comes from the same place.
Integrating capabilities of solutions can provide more direct benefits for marketers too. If that same loyalty program is integrated into an existing email or SMS solution, triggered messages can be set up and automatically deployed for loyalty guests. They can be notified in real-time as they earn rewards, and even select their preferred channel for receiving those messages. When the integrated data is added to this situation, the possibilities grow even more. Imagine a loyalty guest that has downloaded the app and registered their loyalty status, and has also signed up for SMS. If they open the app to search their rewards while near a location, but ultimately close the app without making a transaction, that information is available to the marketer who also has the capability to send that guest an SMS, perhaps with information on a new menu option or a surprise and delight coupon to help make a sale. As a one-off strategy for individuals, this kind of detailed marketing response would be labor intensive, but when the data ecosystem is detailed and robust, and the integrations between capabilities are strong, setting up an automated response for these situations is a more a question of a marketer’s creativity than of technology.
With so much data and so many tools available, choosing the right products to integrate can, if done with little care, lead to some unproductive outcomes. As mentioned above, more data for the sake of more data can tie up resources in analysis that does not benefit strategy. However, it is possible before making an investment in an expansive set of restaurant marketing technology to identify the data and capabilities that will likely provide the most value on the bottom line. As a partner to the restaurant industry for two decades, Fishbowl has helped brands of all sizes tackle strategic data challenges through integration. Whether brands have existing solutions and want to add a single Fishbowl product or they choose Fishbowl to form the basis of their marketing solution, we will provide our extensive resources for off-the-shelf and custom integrations to optimize their data analysis and marketing capabilities.
This blog was written by Jim Skehan, Fishbowl’s Product Marketing Specialist.