Building A Better Digital Bridg For Customers

The loyal customer is increasingly the holy grail of retail — everyone wants to create them, but in an environment littered with discounts, digital offers and competing influence, holding a customer’s attention is not exactly easy work. Communication is key, but getting the signal through all the digital noise is often easier said than done.

Which is where Bridg enters the picture. Founded in 2012 in Los Angeles, the digital marketing firm works to bridge (hence the name) the gap so that the various communications don’t fall into the void.

“We can decipher new from loyal customers and speak to each of them in unique ways,” stated Amit Jain, founder and CEO of Bridg.

How does Bridg do that?

Multichannel Reach, Unitary Approach  

Bridge has a two-tiered approach to cracking the loyalty market: Identify the right targets and then aim wide when approaching on digital channel. SMS, mobile, social — the point is to open the lines and determine where the customer is mostly likely to communicate back.

Finding the customers is a matter of plugging the the subscription-based marketing platform directly into its retail partner store’s point-of-sale system and letting it go to work pulling customer information into a unified CRM database. Custom algorithms then come into play to begin figuring out how to build customized communications.

“Digital companies like Amazon have long demonstrated the effectiveness of precision marketing through online and social media, but it’s been impossible for restaurants and retail operating in the brick-and-mortar world to duplicate those capabilities,” said Jain.

Because by the numbers, every open quite literally counts. Email marketing is effective — but only if customers open the actual emails, and, for restaurants, that doesn’t happen all that often — only 21 percent of the time. And the news actually goes downhill from there — customers’ click-through rate for restaurant emails is 1.26 percent. That is the lowest for any vertical in retail.

Doing it better, Jain noted, means changing the focus of what the digital marketing is trying to do — particularly when it comes to keeping customers from defecting, something that their data can usually see in advance.

“We help restaurant and retail chains to deliver personalized ad messages directly to individual customers across mobile, social, email, SMS and display media. Likewise, we can reach lapsed customers with a specific invitation to entice them back before they’re lost forever. The results are immediate, measurable, cost-effective and transformative,” he said.

Redefining Goals 

So what firms has Bridg helped?

Boston-based readers know — and likely love — Papa Gino’s, a regional pizza chain that had developed a serious defection problem.

“Bridg helped us engage and recover lapsing customers before we lost them to our competitors, producing a meaningful ROI on our marketing spend in a short amount of time. They also accelerated the adoption of our new online ordering platform. Their platform allows us to target in ways that are not otherwise available,” said Peter Cronin, senior vice president of brand strategy at Papa Gino’s.

Veggie Grille, on the other hand, had a slightly different issue around wanting to better optimize for mobile, particularly with their rewards program.

“The platform allowed us to capture new guest emails and immediately convert them to our mobile app. This campaign demonstrated a low cost per lead,” said Leah Smith, senior vice president of marketing at Veggie Grill.

Hitting customers across channels is tricky work. It is an intuitively appealing idea — more touchpoints mean more opportunities to reach the consumer. But of course, there are a lot of digital touchpoints out there — and too many texts, tweets and messages from any restaurant can become distinctly unappetizing for any individual consumer. Reaching out and touching someone is one thing — digitally spamming the consumer is another one entirely.

Which is why the broad multichannel approach to digital marketing needs to have a very specific side, where the messages that go out are actually designed for the customers they go to.

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