Competition remains rugged in the high stakes restaurant food delivery business. As Uber Eats, Postmates, DoorDash and Grubhub battle for market share, tactics are being deployed to differentiate what can easily be perceived as a commoditized service.
I recently asked Jess Burns, VP of brand and creative marketing at Grubhub, what her teams are doing to cultivate their brand.
Paul Talbot: What have you been focused on with your marketing strategies?
Jess Burns: Finding innovative ways to build up and grow our restaurants while delivering diners a more valuable mealtime experience. It’s a virtuous circle. The more we inspire our diners to order delivery, the more business we can drive to our restaurants. And given the current competitive environment of our industry, inspiring our diners means getting creative and thinking outside of the delivery bag.
Like sharing new mealtime moment ideas or aligning our brand with relevant diner interests or investing in emerging mediums and channels like augmented reality (AR) and livestreams to reach diners in more engaging ways.
Customer engagement through personalized experiences is also an important component of our marketing strategy, and we used our Year in Review emails to diners as an opportunity to build brand equity and inspire future ordering occasions.
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Braze played a critical role in the development of the personalized, dynamic emails that our diners received and ended up loving.
Talbot: When you market to restaurants, what objectives are you trying to achieve?
Burns: First and foremost, we are deeply sympathetic to the impact that Covid-19 has had on the restaurant industry. Our commitment to providing support and resources to help them recover is our main objective.
To do this, we want to communicate and demonstrate to our restaurant partners that we can help them increase orders and attract new diners and provide them with business management tools and marketing support to help drive sustainable growth.
Simply put, we exist to serve restaurants and their diners. We’re not successful if our restaurants aren’t successful.
Talbot: How has your use of social media been evolving?
Burns: Our diners have always turned to social media to inspire their cravings, so our focus remains on sharing on-trend, food first content and conversations that support their favorite local restaurants.
As new trends and platforms emerge and our diners are seeking both inspiration and entertainment, we’ve evolved to building out platform-specific content, from working with TikTok influencers like Addison Rae to hosting our monthly YouTube-first live music series, Sound Bites, to Twitch-takeovers with our gaming partners for League of Legends to meet our diners where they currently are.
Talbot: What has been proving effective to differentiate Grubhub from competitors?
Burns: We’re hyper-focused on how we deliver more value – unique value – to our restaurants, our diners, our drivers and their communities as a whole. To achieve this, we’ve been leveraging data to listen to what matters most to them when choosing a delivery brand.
Talbot: Any other insights on marketing strategy you’d like to share?
Burns: We’ve found that partnerships have been a promising way to reach new untapped audiences. We’ve tested the eSports audience with different initiatives over the last few years and we’re excited to keep investing and growing in that community.
There are more than 214 million gamers in the US and their average watch time is over three and a half hours, so this is an exciting audience for us to market to.
Developing our own, direct to consumer content is an effective way to drive brand engagement. To do this, we launched our own concert series, Soundbites, prior to the pandemic and have transitioned it to a live-streaming event as a way to entertain and add value during diners’ at-home ordering experiences.
This event has commanded 2-7 million viewers per show and watch times of 10-12 minutes, a level of engagement rarely seen by brands.