• May 18, 2011
  • By Koa Beck, Editorial Assistant, CRM magazine

Pizza Chain Goes Extreme on Facebook

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Extreme Pizza, a nationwide chain with more than 45 locations, has been decorated with many awards for quality food and service, including Best Pizza in San Francisco, the East Bay, and the Bay Area. Ranked as one of Inc.’s 500 fastest-growing companies for three years in a row, Extreme Pizza needed an e-marketing solution for its burgeoning business.

The company’s e-marketing challenges centered on organization, consistency of delivery, and the ability to track call-out campaigns, says Todd Parent, CEO of Extreme Pizza. Using a third-party email software platform, Extreme Pizza employees not only had to develop the art for email campaigns, but they also had to write the copy and manage it from beginning to end. The result was a “sporadic, unmanaged email campaign” that was time-consuming and costly, Parent says.

In September 2010, eWordofMouth approached Extreme Pizza about handling the company’s social media channels. eWordofMouth completed signup and training within three days at all franchised and corporate locations using online training videos. eWordofMouth then created individual Facebook pages with co-management capabilities, allowing the head office to monitor the brand’s standards as store owners posted local promotions and communicated with customers.

eWordofMouth managed a cross-promotional integration between Facebook and Twitter, allowing a wide disbursement of promotions while engaging with interested customers. eWordofMouth also created localized email landing page “reveal” campaigns, where email subscribers received a coupon instantly on Facebook for liking Extreme Pizza’s page.

“They’re not only technically savvy, but they’re very creative,” says Parent when describing how eWordofMouth developed the character Rush Everest, an online persona who communicates with Extreme Pizza’s loyal fan base.

“It’s almost as if [Rush Everest] is a living, breathing person, but it’s a behind-the-scenes voice almost like the great and powerful Oz—it’s Trevor [Shanski, eWordofMouth’s CEO] on the back end really managing that for us.”

Parent admits that one of his concerns in launching this social media initiative was that the efforts would stall and no improvement would be measured. But Parent says that the company has received fantastic feedback from its customer base, with most Extreme Pizza stores under the eWordofMouth system in less than a month. Extreme Pizza’s first email campaign resulted in a 59 percent rise in the company’s online fan base in just 10 days.

Between May 2010 and March 2011, Extreme Pizza saw an 825 percent increase in Facebook fans, with an average of 650 new fans each month. Facebook “likes” of the company’s fan page are up 99 percent, and post views and feedback have risen by a whopping 1,381 percent. That includes views, posts, comments, and media consumption (such as photographs).

Upon reflection, Parent says working with eWordofMouth has reaffirmed for him the strengths of his business: “Our team is really good at what we do, which is making great pizzas and great customer service.… But I realize that we didn’t really have that [e-marketing] skill set internally. While we are a food service business and that’s our specialty, we do understand that having good technology in our company is important.”

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