Inside P.F. Chang’s data and social media overhaul
When Dwayne Chambers joined Asian-themed restaurant chain P.F. Chang’s China Bistro from Krispy Kreme around two years ago, he noticed the company had too many agencies, consultancies and research firms — 13 — for its small marketing budget and wasn’t doing enough to attract new consumers and keep existing ones. So Chambers decided to overhaul the chain’s marketing with a digital focus.
“We need to better use our data and spend our marketing dollars more wisely to improve both digital and in-store experiences,” said Chambers, CMO for P.F. Chang’s, which has about 300 restaurants globally.
In the restaurant industry, typically 3-6 percent of a company’s sales goes to marketing; at P.F. Chang’s, it was less than 1 percent. So Chambers consolidated the 13 agencies to one media shop, one public relations firm and one video production company, putting the savings toward internal creative and digital marketing efforts.
Data has played a big part of P.F. Chang’s marketing reboot. The chain has around 2 million people in its loyalty program, 1.5 million consumers on an email list and 6 million people who purchased gift cards and made online reservations. But with all the data, P.F. Chang’s didn’t target its messages. Vegetarians got emails about Mongolian beef, for instance.
Chambers said between 200 million and 300 million emails will go out this year with content that’s targeted to specific demographics. P.F. Chang’s created a single sign-in so its rewards program members can create an account with their email address or Facebook login. A single sign-in will help P.F. Chang’s understand visitors’ online behavior and identify consumers who visited the chain and also have ordered from Grubhub or Amazon, said Chambers.
P.F. Chang’s also developed an online content hub called “Farm to Wok” to promote its ingredients and share recipes like Spam sushi and Vietnamese coffee. For Instagram, it designed a new menu featuring fresh ingredients and worked with the corporate chef to make its dishes and in-restaurant experience more Instagrammable.
The chain has been mentioned more than 90,000 times on Twitter since January, with 87 percent of all categorized mentions being positive, according to social analytics company Brandwatch.
“The conversation size is quite indicative of where P.F. Chang’s is brand-wise. It may not be the most common household name, but people are familiar with it,” said Kellan Terry, data manager for Brandwatch. “Its social sentiment is especially impressive, considering how long the time frame encompasses. And there’s no shortage of celebrity love in the P.F. Chang’s discussion.”
when I'm president, all meetings will be held at the Beverly center PF chang's
— christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) February 14, 2017
Chambers said the marketing reboot has had an impact, as P.F. Chang’s “performed above the industry” over the last nine months. In 2016 and 2015, the chain’s sales were flat around $1.1 billion, according to food service consulting firm Technomic.
Header image courtesy of P.F. Chang’s China Bistro
‘You’re not going to get it all right’: IBM CMO Michelle Peluso on managing through a crisis
As marketers manage another crisis, they are thinking about how to help their teams as well as how they should be advertising.
‘Stand for something’: As protests continue, tone-deaf influencer marketing is in the spotlight
Questions about diversity in influencer marketing, opportunism and the need for brands to get comfortable with influencers taking a stance on politics and racial issues are bubbling up now as this may be a moment of self-reflection for the influencer marketing community.
‘There isn’t a talent pipeline problem’: Confessions of a black advertising exec
In this edition of our Confessions series, in which we exchange anonymity for candor, we hear from a black media buyer who believes brands need to do more to support for Black Lives Matter and that agencies still haven't truly changed their hiring policies.
SponsoredVideo: Marketers discuss the future state of less interruptive in-stream ads
In a new video, experts from GumGum, The Martin Agency and Pinterest discuss the future of video advertising — and outline their vision for how video ads can be less disruptive.
Member ExclusiveDigiday Research: Over half of brands say they handle marketing ‘mostly’ with internal resources
Digiday’s quarterly benchmarking survey found that about 83% of marketers are managing their marketing either mostly in-house or completely in-house. That's up from the 55% of marketers six months ago who said the same.
Member Exclusive‘Our job is to sell’: Marketers, moving past coronavirus response, return to selling products
Marketers need to get back to the job at hand: Keeping the squeaky wheels of capitalism turning.