Pizza Chain Papa Murphy’s Has A Taste For Mobile Messaging

PapaMurphysPapa Murphy’s isn’t biting off more than it can chew when it comes to mobile.

The Washington state-based pizza company, which operates 1,400 franchises and corporate-owned stores across the central and western United States, is starting to ramp up its mobile experimentation through a new relationship with mobile messaging and CRM platform Waterfall, announced Thursday. The two companies have been working together since early January.

As a franchiser of so-called “take ‘n’ bake” restaurants – rather than deliver, each location sells uncooked, but freshly made, pizzas that consumers pick up in the store and bake at home – Papa Murphy’s is well aware of the potential of using mobile as a vehicle for more personalized messaging.

Although proximity-based marketing, beacons and push are all on the road map, Papa Murphy’s is starting off simple – reaching consumers on their mobile devices with market-level messaging around in-store promos, coupons, offers and other incentives via SMS and MMS to drive web orders online and foot traffic in stores.

“The majority of people don’t know what they’re going to have for dinner at 4 in the afternoon, so to be able to connect with a consumer on their device at the right time, to ensure that we’re a part of the consideration set – that’s very important to us,” said Cynthia Hofmann, VP of communications at Papa Murphy’s, where she also acts as the mobile messaging project lead.

Nearly all of Papa Murphy’s franchisees have already been fully onboarded onto the Waterfall platform. The brand is looking to integrate the rest by the end of the year. Having every restaurant hooked into a single program gives corporate HQ clearer visibility into what’s being deployed in local DMAs, while also giving local restaurants the flexibility to plan and execute their own campaigns.

Waterfall, whose clients include 7-Eleven, ABC, Acxiom, American Eagle Outfitters, Anheuser-Busch, Experian, Neiman Marcus and Starbucks, describes itself as a pure-play mobile messaging player.

The self-serve platform is comprised of campaign management and subscriber management tools which operate through APIs that connect with a brand’s DMP and whatever marketing automation or CRM services they work with. Since most of its clients don’t start out with a mobile database, Waterfall also helps them create opt-in campaigns to build our their consumer profiles.

“The customer owns their data and should bring as much segmentation from other channels into the platform and take as much data out of the platform as possible to enhance other channels,” Silk said. “The more robust the subscriber profiles, the better marketers will be able to segment and target their subscribers.”

For the moment, Papa Murphy’s is focused on encouraging consumers who sign up for its text or mobile programs nationally to provide a ZIP code so that the brand can align them with a specific market.

“It’s extremely important for Papa Murphy’s to be consistent with our personalized messaging across all channels,” said Jayson Tipp. VP of strategy, technology and marketing at Papa Murphy’s. “Gaining further insight into our in-store promotions, [which includes] text alerts for calls to action and mobile coupons, is a large part of our mobile messaging strategy.”

As a company with hundreds of franchises under its umbrella, it’s not easy maintaining a harmonious balance between national campaigns and local activations in terms of tone and timing, which is part of what led Papa Murphy’s to hook up with Waterfall.

Take St. Patrick’s Day. It made sense for Papa Murphy’s to run a national campaign to tap into the energy around March 17. The brand sent out a message to all of its subscribers encouraging them to play a game where they could spin a mobile wheel to win prizes. According to Hofmann, the activation saw a double-digit response rate.

But the brand also needs to be aware of what’s happening in local markets at specific times. Many Papa Murphy’s franchises maintain region-specific relationships with local entities. The brand’s partnership with the Portland Trail Blazers is a good example. Depending on how well the Blazers are doing during a home game, special promotions go out to customers across the Portland area.

“Before, we were basically just accidentally testing our way into what was working and what wasn’t,” Hofmann said. “Now we can see what’s working systematically and we have visibility into what customers are actually responding to.”

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