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Outback Steakhouse local foursquare campaign netted 678 check-ins

NEW YORK ? A  Bloomin? Brands executive at the 2013 MMA Forum said that a recent foursquare campaign in Richmond that was part of a marketing program with NASCAR resulted in more than 600 check-ins and is likely to be rolled out nationwide based on its success.

During the ?Location ? The Key to Conversion in the Mobile Path to Purchase? session, executives from Diageo, Universal McCann, Carat and Bloomin? Brands spoke about what works and does not work when using location-based advertising to drive in-store traffic and sales. The session was moderated by Chad Hickey, vice president of sales at xAd, New York.

?In three weeks in the week of April that we did that, we actually had over five restaurants and 678 people unlocked the offer in foursquare, which if we were to do that nationwide at many restaurants over three weeks, it?s millions of dollars in incremental revenue,? said Karen Soots, vice president of media services at Bloomin? Brands, Tampa.
?We are likely to roll that out nationally before the next race,? she said.

Local intent
The Outback Steakhouse campaign was called ?Laps for apps" and took place during April.

Consumers in Richmond were encouraged to check-in via foursquare. Each time they went back and forth from their house to the restaurant by checking-in was considered one lap.

After a consumer made a second check-in, they received an offer for a free appetizer with a purchase that tied into Outback?s marketing program with NASCAR driver Ryan Newman.

Ms. Soots also spoke about the importance of mobile creative at a local level to target different groups of consumers.

For instance, if a Longhorn Steakhouse location is opening up in a particular city, the mobile ad creative that a consumers sees in that city might be different than creative that is running at a national level.

?Particularly with mobile, we?ve found that consumers are most of the time looking for a restaurant on their way to a restaurant,? Ms. Soots said.
?When a consumer is looking for a restaurant, it is a functional need that they have - they are hungry in most occasions,? she said.

?The creative that we put in front of them has to be functional and has to tell them exactly what they want them to know. It has to be easy for them to navigate. If they want to see a menu item, it has to be very quick to the menu ? it can?t be 15 clicks away from getting that information to the consumer. Our most effective [ad units] are single-focused, easy to navigate and gets consumers to the end when they are on the go.?

Measuring mobile
According to David Calkins, digital strategy and engagement manager at Diageo, Chicago, digging through data is one of the hardest parts of mobile and location.

Location and time of day play a big role in how Diageo targets consumers via mobile advertising.

However, not having a bricks-and-mortar presence can make it tough to measure a digital campaign?s success.

Having a clear notion of what mobile can and cannot do is important in understanding the medium?s potential, per Mr. Calkins.

Instead of focusing on only a quantitative perspective, marketers need to view mobile as a strategic part to an overall marketing mix.

For example, Diageo uses mobile in two different layers ? one is for brand-building and is typically part of bigger buys,  and the other is a hyper-targeted layer with conversion-driving messaging and targeting.

In the past six months, Mr. Calkins said that the company has tried two different forms of creative.

One set of creative contained maps and utility-based information, and the other was more focused on inspiring consumers with recipes.

Surprisingly, the set of creative that contained the information on recipes outperformed the utility-based set, per the Diageo executive and shows that consumers are interested in finding inspiration through mobile advertising.

?What we?ve been doing is really targeting consumers by time of day, but more so than that is giving them what I?ll say is information and inspiration to encourage them to take that action,? Mr. Calkins said.

?The challenge though from an execution standpoint is really going through that detailed data, because if you?ve worked in this space for a long time you know that there?s a ton of data out there, and it can get overwhelming,? he said.

?The other part is measurement. We don?t own the physical bricks-and-mortar stores, so sometimes we have to resort to old-school tactics, which can be simply picking up the phone and calling stores and locations.?

Final Take
A commercial for Outback Steakhouse