How Papa Murphy's Retargets Store Customers Online

An interview with Tim Vu, vice president of digital experience at Papa Murphy's and Amit Jan, CEO of Bridg

Author: Maria Minsker

March 1, 2017


Papa Murphy's, a take-and-bake pizza chain based in Vancouver, Washington, wanted to re-engage customers online whose first contact was with a brick-and-mortar venue. Tim Vu, vice president of digital experience at Papa Murphy's, and Amit Jain, CEO of digital marketing platform Bridg, spoke with eMarketer's Maria Minsker about how the two companies worked together to identify customers and bring them back into Papa Murphy's pizzerias.

Photo credit: Flickr

eMarketer: What is the biggest challenge that brick-and-mortar stores face today, and how is Papa Murphy’s tackling that challenge?

Tim Vu: The biggest challenge with a brick-and-mortar business is that it’s difficult to get very precise with marketing. On digital channels, tracking a user to understand how to do promotions and segmentation is easier because the data is readily available. Our business doesn’t really have access to the same data, so we turned to a vendor that would tie our advertising, digital ordering and internal database together in an effort to be more precise in our marketing.

“We saw $3.58 of revenue for each dollar that we put in, which was a much better performance than our standard Facebook campaign.”

eMarketer: How did you choose the right vendor?

Vu: We wanted a turn-key solution because we didn’t have a lot of technical resources in-house. We needed a piece of technology that we could implement and leverage easily and apply to [our] marketing campaigns. We chose Bridg because they met all our needs—the platform was easy to set up, and it was easy to use to drive profitable marketing campaigns.

eMarketer: What makes Bridg’s capabilities unique?

Amit Jain: What makes us unique is our ability to detect customers who walk into physical retail stores and restaurants as though they were logging on to Amazon.com. Amazon can drop a cookie on a consumer’s computer and can track every single visit over time. We are able to do exactly the same thing in a physical store.

Our technology was able to detect the millions of customers that Papa Murphy’s has served over the past three years, including every single transaction they have done during those years. Once these customers were identified, Papa Murphy’s was able to reach them and influence their buying behavior.

eMarketer: How are you able to identify people in a physical space?

Jain: Point-of-sale [POS] systems store transaction data for years. Because of privacy laws, those systems don’t store customer identity information along with those transactions. That means Papa Murphy’s doesn’t really know who its customers are. But Bridg has a database of about 178 million consumers around the country, which is heavily guarded.

“Amazon can drop a cookie on a consumer’s computer and can track every single visit over time. [Bridg is] able to do exactly the same thing in a physical store.”

By running Papa Murphy’s transactions through our database, we’re able to turn anonymous transactions in their system into known transactions associated with a known customer identity. It’s a combination of biotechnology, proprietary data and data science. The data is always kept anonymous so we don’t give any identity information back to Papa Murphy’s, but we do give them the ability to retarget people through advertising.

eMarketer: Is it essentially a sophisticated matching system?

Jain: Yes, that’s primarily the way it works. Attributes that make up transaction processes, including the location, time of day, items purchased and any credit card information stored in the POS system are fed into algorithms that eventually create what we call “signals.”

Those signals allow us to match a transaction to a profile in our database. Today, our [match rate] is approximately 85%.

eMarketer: Tell me a little bit about Papa Murphy’s campaign specifically.

Vu: We wanted to set up a campaign on Facebook to target people based on their purchasing behavior and increase their purchase frequency. We thought about doing a big blast marketing campaign to reach a bunch of people, but we realized it’s not going to be efficient unless we’re precise in who we target. Ninety-four percent of the population eats pizza, but we wanted to make sure that our customers were coming back to us, because there’s a lot of competition in the space.

“Ninety-four percent of the population eats pizza, but we wanted to make sure that our customers were coming back to [Papa Murphy’s], because there’s a lot of competition in the space.”

Reaching them with the right message at the right time was critical because we didn’t want to hit them too many times. Rather, we needed to hit them when they were thinking about buying pizza. That’s where Bridg came in—they helped us identify our customers and their behavioral patterns in-store and online, so we were able to better target and retarget them.

eMarketer: How did the campaign turn out? What results impressed you the most?

Vu: The best result was the return on ad spend. We saw $3.58 of revenue for each dollar that we put in, which was a much better performance than our standard Facebook campaign.

eMarketer: What are some of the data challenges that still remain?

Vu: We’re concerned about scale. We can only have so much information in our database, because our information is based entirely on people who are purchasing in our stores. If we could have a database 10 times the size of our existing one, then the effectiveness and the scale of our campaigns would be 10 times greater. Our goal is to grow that database with new and potential customers as fast as possible.

eMarketer: How does Bridg’s technology integrate with other pieces of a marketing ecosystem, such as a loyalty program, for example?

Jain: For about 10 years now, restaurants have been struggling to learn about their customers in different ways. They’ve chipped away at the problem through email marketing sign-ups, loyalty programs and, most recently, online ordering. All of these ecosystems, while providing customer utility, also acquire some customer data.

The problem with loyalty programs and email databases is that even after three or four years of heavy marketing pushes, most brands can start to understand only 5% to 15% of their customer base.

Our technology, when it enters their marketing technology ecosystem, delivers insight on the 85% of customers they still don’t know about and the 15% they might already know more about through [their] loyalty program or email club. We’ll never replace a loyalty program or an online ordering system, but we do bring these systems together and deliver more insight on the entire customer base. 


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