Them “freaking” geniuses at Outback Steakhouse!

Over the last twenty years, Outback Steakhouse has been my favorite go-to restaurant.

Over the last twenty years, Outback Steakhouse has been my favorite go-to restaurant. Whether I am on the road traveling for business, on vacation with my family, or wanting to go out to dinner with my wife, it has been the restaurant that I go to more than any other.  Outback has been such a favorite of mine that I have eaten there as many as a dozen times in a single month. Heck, on multiple occasions I have eaten there a half-dozen times in a single week. Yes, I probably should have bought stock!

What’s interesting is that even though Outback has been my favorite go-to restaurant for the last twenty years, and there have been months that I have eaten there as many as a dozen times, there have also been times when I have gone as long as a couple months—even up to six months—without eating there a single time. What happened?

It wasn’t that I had a bad experience that drove me away. Nor, was it that I got tried of their steaks or their other menu items. And, it wasn’t that I suddenly stopped eating out. (I was still eating out, just at other places.) I simply forget that Outback Steakhouse was my favorite restaurant. Crazy as it sounds that I actually forgot something that was a favorite of mine; it really isn’t all that crazy. Here’s why and how it applies to marketing your products and/or services…

According to a 2007 New York Times article, research showed that the average consumer views upwards of as many as 5,000 advertisements a day. That fact, combined with how busy we are in our individual lives (with family, friends, work, church, hobbies, etc.), it isn’t difficult to understand why it was easy for me and consumers in general to forget about our favorites.

Outback Steakhouse’s Grand Offer—Why they are “freaking” geniuses

Two years ago, Outback Steakhouse offered a FREE steak dinner as part of their advertising for the launching of their new firewood grill. In exchange for the free steak dinner, I just needed to give them my contact info: my email and home address. What a great deal, I got a free steak dinner!  Consequently, since I freely gave Outback my contact information two years ago, there has not been a single month when I have not eaten there at least once. And, most months I have dined there multiple times. Over these last two years I have not forgotten that Outback is my favorite restaurant.

It might seem a crazy coincidence that the very day I gave Outback my contact information, I began a new level of consistency in eating there every single month. With Outback in possession of my contact info, they now send me emails and postcards—some months I receive up to four emails and two postcards. Outback’s correspondence informs me of new menu items, specials, and any discounts they are offering.  What’s really at play has very little to do with me suddenly becoming much more consistent with my dining habits. Neither has it to do with any kind of effort on my part. But, it does have to do with what Outback Steakhouse managed to get me to do. Yes, they understand that it is just human nature for consumers to forget, even the things they love. They figured out somehow that I was actually forgetting they were my favorite restaurant.

Everyone on the Outback Steakhouse marketing team must have 180+ IQs. The offer made by them to give me a steak dinner in exchange for my contact information is genius. By doing this, they “eliminated the roller coaster ride of consistently inconsistent sales revenues.”

Outback’s marketing effort in giving away a free steak dinner in exchange for my contact info seemed like a great deal for me, but was a better deal for Outback.

 

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