QSR Marketing POP Effective Advertising Drive Thru sign

Utilizing Drive-Thru Research for QSR Marketing

Drive-Thru Marketing Research: the most underutilized, inexpensive, convenient and quick way to gather information that will improve your marketing.

Think of the time you, your marketing department and ad agency spent on debating which message or execution would be most effective.

You usually don’t have time to conduct online research or focus groups. But you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how willing your customers are to give you their opinions while at your drive thru. You’ll be amazed at how much helpful marketing intelligence you’ll pick up just hanging out there.

It’s Drive-Thru Marketing Research.

2 proven ways your drive thru can increase your advertising effectiveness:

1. Customer Re-Acquaintance

This is simply photographing your customers at your drive thru. Sounds creepy, but it’s not.

Every time I’ve presented these drive-thru photos to a client’s marketing team, they are captivated. Seems obvious, but think about it. Most of the time spent talking about your customers is spent inside your corporate offices with people who are not your customers.

It’s fascinating to be reminded of the types of cars, trucks, work vans, etc. that your customers drive. You will also observe things like the ethnic mix, the male/female skew, the observed age, and to hear how they talk, how they order and what they order. It’s a fabulous refresher.

I recommend this simple methodology:

  • Choose a sampling of stores in diverse locations. Depending on the time you have, these can be diverse locations in the same city or diverse locations in different cities. If different cities, choose cities that are close by so this can be done in a day.
  • Schedule this around the two peak hours of each daypart.
  • Deploy your staff or interns to the locations.
  • Find an out-of-the-way spot to photograph that provides line-of-sight to the car, driver and passenger.
  • Record the order/interaction in addition to photographing it.
  • Complete the assignment. When you’ve completed the assignment, load the stills into a PowerPoint presentation and start reviewing.

2. Creative/Message Testing 

I frequently test point of purchase (POP) options at the drive thru. “Frequently” meaning about every time we concept a new promotion.

Use the same methodology as above, except you’ll actually find a place to safely stand in the lane of drive-thru traffic—usually after the menu board but prior to the window:

  • Offer a gift card or simply offer a dollar. Your customers will be happy to participate in a short intercept.
  • Place the POP options (let’s assume you have three) all on one black board. But also create three of these boards, each showing the options in a different order. Then simply rotate the options at every car.

You will pick up great insights, feel more confident and take a little of the subjectivity out of the decision process.

photo credit: jgclarke via photopin cc

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