Increase Sales & Boost Marketing ROI

Posted by Sarah Procopio on Dec 6, 2019 1:15:03 PM


Evoke Emotion to Increase Marketing ROI? Yes. Learn Five Secrets.


With shoutouts in the New York Times, and even Bloomberg, it is hard to deny that Colorado has one of the hottest restaurant scenes in the world. As a previous owner of an upscale steakhouse in Las Vegas, I understand how hard this business is. I would also eat at every single uniquely Colorado restaurant for a living if I could. The local-business love likely fans the flame for the sumptuous experiences Colorado restaurateurs create. Successes aside, restaurants, like any small business, still struggle with efficient, effective and profitable marketing. This provides an opportunity to learn from the industry’s marketing trials and tribulations.

On the surface, evoking emotion and increasing ROI seem like two phrases that are diametrically opposed. With some help and sound advice from marketing expert and co-owner of one of local restaurant group, Dana Query from The Big Red F – they don’t have to be. Here are five secrets to ensure your marketing efforts enforce a connection with your customers. The Big Red F Group owns restaurants you are intimately familiar with, like Zola, Jax Fish House, Lola (my favorite) and The Tavern.


Five Secrets of Evoking Emotion with Marketing:

  1. Use the data: Often companies have data ­– like family lifecycle, address, gender, title, first name – but they still send out messages with no personalization. To get a response from customers, you must make them feel like you know them. If you don’t personalize their message at all with data you have at your fingertips, they will be that much less likely to respond. Many businesses, including restaurants, haven’t yet started building a client database. If you haven’t, get it done. You can bet your competitors are.
  2. Leverage your team members: Whether you are in the restaurant business, insurance business, or any other industry, remember: Your customers don’t have a relationship with your business; they have a relationship with specific team members. Those interactions are what makes the relationships they have with your company feel personal, creating an emotional connection is. Leverage the relationship by having all communication come from that employee. For example, if I chat with the bartender three times a week, frankly, I don’t want to get an email from her shift supervisor. That will be much more meaningful and help solidify the connection.
  3. Make it relevant: Our friend and strategy genius at The Big Red F Group doesn’t have a loyalty club, and that’s okay. Communication with her guests is well thought out and timely. For the chicken division, they have a database segment called “Local Birds” for customers who live within a one-mile radius. These customers get a killer deal, and that makes them feel special once a month.
  4. Know their value: If I spend $500 a week at your business, I am going to be insulted if I receive a $2-off offer. Part of success in personalization is understanding the value of each of your customers and rewarding them accordingly (usually as a percentage of their spend). If you want to do this right, take some time to understand how to develop an RFM model (a nerdy database marketing acronym that means measuring your customers by evaluating a blend of how recently they have been in, how frequently they come in and their monetary value).
  5. Use technology – it’s cheap: Back in the day, it was necessary to spend hundreds, if not thousands of dollars to gather client data and use it in a meaningful way. Now it costs pennies. The Big Red F Group is admittedly more tech savvy than your average restaurant or small business, but there are important lessons to be learned from them here.


It should be noted that no matter how much of an expert you think someone is, they still get overwhelmed by all the technology options out there and all the data points. These are pain points for all of us. If you push through that and do something, even if it isn’t perfect, it will give you a leg up on your competition. The Big Red F Group is using a software system called Wisely as their core marketing platform. They blend a variety of solutions for maximum results. Even though Dana has this approach figured out more than most of us, she says, “I still worry about using the data we gather in a meaningful and genuine way that conveys a true connection and doesn’t undo all of the work we have done to build relationships with our customers.”

The bottom line? Push through your fears, and use your customer data to evoke emotion and increase your company’s ROI.

Even if you don’t get it perfect, you will likely get it right.

Sarah Procopio, President of Thrive Marketing Science, a business intelligence and driven marketing firm. Sarah specializes in loyalty program development and turning around flailing companies and marketing programs quickly. She can be reached at or 949.230.7873. This article was original published in the ColoradoBiz Magazine and can be found at