3 Takeaways from NRA MEG 2018

05.24.18 / Ryan Goff / Advertising

Last week, MGH traveled to the Windy City for the National Restaurant Association’s Marketing Executives Group conference. If you weren’t able to catch MGH CMO and social media marketing director Ryan Goff’s round table discussion on digital marketing trends, here are three takeaways from the great conversation:

1. Voice is coming, SEO should be ready

Those at Ryan’s panel should have known they were in for a discussion about voice when the table featured a plethora of Amazon Alexa electronics. From the Echo Show to the Fire TV Stick, Amazon’s products are among the first of their kind to infiltrate the marketing world. Google, Apple and even Facebook have entered the arena as well, making this the right time for brands to strike while the iron is hot.

With voice, however, comes the need for the rest of your digital marketing objectives to be in order as well. That means your website SEO needs to be top-notch. Alexa pulls from Bing, Google Home pulls from Google, and so on. Your brand will only show up in voice searches if your SEO ranks well.

2. Customize your messaging

During Ryan’s panel, attendees reported finding great success in tailoring their messaging based on external factors, such as weather and breaking news.

Further, these companies have seen even more success in targeting based on customer history with the brand. Trying to figure out a way to lure those customers back after they haven’t purchased in a year? Get them through the door with an email that says, “We miss you,” or even, “Where have you been?!” Maybe your issue is that customers only order a small item every time they come in. Drive up sales by encouraging folks to explore the menu. Pick an item each week to feature, blog about it, then serve links to your low value customers.

If you’re customizing your messaging with real-time updates, tailored to the customer that you knows very well, you could see more success than you would with one-size-fits all tactics.

3. Know where your audience is

Yes, digital and social media, voice, AR and VR are part of the exciting future for marketers. But that doesn’t mean it’s time to shift your entire budget to these areas and miss out on opportunities that still exist on the legacy side of the media spectrum.

One executive on Ryan’s panel articulated this point perfectly when they mentioned their change in media spend the previous year. The brand decided to shift its entire budget to the digital space. And while this move was positive, the executive’s team ultimately moved a portion of that original spend back to direct mail. This mix proved to be a much better fit for the brand.

Giving up on traditional marketing avenues all at once would isn’t wise. Know where your audience is, and make sure your message is hitting them at all times. If billboards and newspaper ads are the most successful for your company, then make sure to include those in your plan. Keep in mind, however, that it never hurts to dip your toes into more advanced strategies as well. They don’t call it a media mix for nothing.

MGH learned plenty during this year’s MEG conference. If we missed you during your stay in Chicago, we’d still love to hear from you. If you’re interested in speaking about digital or traditional marketing services, or even project, crisis communication or reputation management work, drop us a line.

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