Best Use of Customer Insight/Data 2021 – sponsored by Reach Media

A first of its kind analytics approach helped Wendy’s not only understand who shops their category at a restaurant level, but by specific store enabling them to reach a higher propensity of customers.

Not who, but where

The challenge

Wendy’s challenge was to increase sales for its ongoing ‘Mates Rates’ deals programme. This programme had been running in consistent flights with similar offers for several years. But its performance had been going backwards thanks to smaller media spend budgets when compared to some if its main competitors.

While a national brand, each Wendy’s operates in its own competitor and consumer microclimate. From Wendy’s Constellation Drive with busy traffic and McDonald’s nearby, to Wendy’s Great South Road right next to hungry office blocks. Some benefitted when it rained, others went quiet. Some were buzzing at Saturday lunchtimes, others struggled. It was clear that while Wendy’s had one set of deals, and one message, the opportunities for growth were very different by restaurant.

To find new audiences and increase sales the fast-food chain needed to better understand each of these restaurant’s customer and category microclimates. But it needed to do this without the typical tools – no first-party data. Instead, with the help of its Datanator campaign, Wendy’s turned to mobile location data to form its insight. 

The response

By tracking where mobile devices were at what times, and from where they had been, Wendy’s could tell so much more than typical mobile locations services were used for (digital media targeting).

By collecting, analysing and enriching granular mobile location data in each restaurant’s catchment, Wendy’s were able to develop a bespoke store-level segmentation that identified the most valuable individuals for each restaurant to target. This insight system goes way beyond typical programmatic media targeting to prioritise digital media bids based on multiple factors such as meal occasion, category usage, and external factors like weather and traffic. It was the first time in Asia-Pacific that mobile location data had been used in this way.

The Datanator platform enabled Wendy’s to compete with media budgets a fraction of their competitors’. It demonstrated the power of smart thinking in turning location data into an insight-driven source of competitive advantage for the brand, and has driven immediate sales uplifts for Wendy’s.

The result

This innovative use of insight didn’t just stop the Mates Rates decline, it grew year-on-year sales. This included a huge 44 percent increase in weekly sales and 17 percent ahead of target. This was all achieved with the same budget levels as prior activity, so is directly comparable.

Direct footfall analysis showed its insight-driven targeting also reduced cost per direct restaurant visit by 47 percent versus QSR norm.

By providing information such as proxies for restaurant market share, this innovative use of data now has the potential to fuel restaurant-level insight that impacts Wendy’s business beyond just media targeting including promotion design, opening hours and even staff resourcing. 

Category: Best Use of Customer Insight/Data

Company: Wendy’s New Zealand

Marketing Initiative: Datanator

Marketing Partners: Together

Judges’ Comments: “Wendy’s are a standout entry in this customer data category. Their intensive data analytics research discovered insights that will benefit the business for years. Using mobile location data, Wendy’s created store-specific customer profiles that powered bidding protocols for dynamic digital media spend to ensure they dominated media impressions in highly specific windows. This highly complex data project clearly delivered revenue uplift and insights that will support strategy and campaigns in the future.”

Finalists: NZME, Mitre 10, Powershop, Woolworths New Zealand

This article was first published in the 2021 December/January issue of NZ Marketing magazine. You can subscribe to the magazine, here. Or read the other winner stories, here.

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