Response Labs helped Blaze Pizza surpass a goal of incremental sales increase during the typically slow month of August. Blaze Pizza is a contemporary and vibrant fast-casual restaurant, known for its innovative and customizable approach to build-your-own artisanal pizzas. Our charge was to come up with a strategy that could generate 8-10% of incremental sales from existing loyalty members within one month.
Blaze Pizza faced several challenges in the summer of 2023:
- Loyalty transactions per month were steadily decreasing.
- A significant portion of existing loyalty members had never purchased.
- New loyalty sign-ups had slowed.
- Marketing automation technology was limited with the current martech stack.
- Internal resources to manage and execute were limited.
As August has been a slow month for Blaze historically, Leadership saw an opportunity to evaluate the effect loyalty and CRM could have on driving sales.
Generate 8-10% of incremental sales from existing loyalty members within one month, using CRM tactics and strategies within Blaze’s existing martech stack. Additionally, we were supporting the digital team at Blaze by using this campaign as the case study proving the worth of investing in marketing automation technology. Lastly, we were tasked with accomplishing all of this through email, SMS, and push. There would be no in-restaurant advertising, no digital banners or video, no social media advertising, no website messages, no out-of-home, and no TV or radio.
While we considered flashy one-day promotions (like the wildly successful Pi Day on 3/14) and sweepstakes as solutions, we ultimately settled on a “month of offers” for loyalty members. Since we were evaluating traffic-driving techniques, exclusive offers felt like the best choice. A recent survey conducted by the Blaze Pizza digital team revealed that their loyalty members didn’t just want an offer, but they wanted a choice of offers. And since we had an entire month to reach the goal, we decided to reveal multiple offers that expire after a week before a new collection of offers was revealed. Combined with the desire to keep customers engaged and hooked, we wrapped the entire campaign under the banner of a “Summer Send-Off” celebration.
Loyalty Member Segmentation
For the offers, we began with segmenting the audience through Punchh (Blaze Pizza’s loyalty platform and partner of Response Labs) Smart Segments. Typically we create segments through our own custom analysis, but because of time and resources, we leaned in on what Punchh had already developed. The thirteen segments ranged from Super Fans and Fans to Hibernating and Inactive with other variants in between. The segments were generated by an algorithm that leverages recency, frequency, and total spend.
Data-Driven Offer Strategy
Once the segments were created, we performed preliminary offer testing in June and July 2023 of 8 offers versus a 10% control from each segment. The control did not receive offers. This data, combined with offer testing completed earlier in the year, provided the information we needed to create an offer strategy. Each segment received a schedule of offers based on how likely that offer was to drive lift versus the control.
Configuration of Offer Infrastructure
Punchh provided an excellent infrastructure for offer creation and management, as well as for the deployment of email and push. However, limitations in marketing automation combined with the number of segments, offers, and test combinations, meant extra effort across both teams to execute the campaign. This, of course, was by design, as we needed to calculate the effort required to help make the case to invest in additional martech stack technology for marketing automation.
Production and Execution
The Response Labs creative team designed all assets with support from internal Blaze Pizza creative leads, and built and scheduled the majority of email and push deployments. Lastly, the strategy and data team at Response Labs was responsible for extracting raw receipt items and redemption data from Punchh for analysis and reporting. This analysis helped finalize, and sometimes change, the types of offers per segment. The entire cycle of production repeated each week and by the end of the campaign, we had a finely tuned process that can be replicated for future initiatives.
When the campaign was completed on August 31, 2023, we had surpassed our goal by generating over 15% in incremental net sales. The results were also 14% higher than the previous month, July 2023, and 12% higher than the previous year, August 2022. Loyalty check-ins also increased 21% month-over-month and 1% year-over-year netting out at a 22% incremental lift from the Summer Send-Off campaign.
Additionally, we provided a framework for how to plan and leverage an offer strategy to drive lift of loyalty members, new methods of reporting and analysis, and a case for the benefit of a marketing automation platform.
In the months to follow we are developing strategies around how to retain those who dined at Blaze Pizza, specifically the very valuable Super Fans and the less-frequent segments like hibernating and inactive. We want to identify potential long-term loyalists, those who need a discount to dine, those who didn’t respond at all, and many more. The learnings from this campaign are far-reaching, specifically as another Pi Day, the busiest day of the entire year for Blaze Pizza, is coming soon in March.