Bridg, a one-to-one marketing firm that gleans data from credit card transactions, is set to grow further with a new round of funding.
The round was led by Morpheus Ventures, with participation from new investors NextEquity Partners and Visa, as well as returning investor March Capital.
"Bridg solves the huge information disadvantage of brick-and-mortar retailers and restaurants relative to their online counterparts. Bridg uses artificial intelligence and big-data probabilistic models to help restaurants and retailers identify who their customers are, how often they visit and their specific buying habits, all of which enhances the ROI of their marketing and customer engagement programs," said Joseph Miller, partner at Morpheus Ventures.
Founder and CEO Amit Jain said the money would go toward new client relationships and deeper investments in the system.
"We are thrilled with the confidence these investors have in our ability to help restaurants and retailers better understand today’s consumer. Our differentiated approach to precision marketing empowers brands to reach and engage new consumers, bring back lapsed customers and increase in-store visits among their existing customer base. Our new investors will help secure value-added data and assist Bridg in penetrating top retailers across the U.S.," said Jain.
Why are investors getting in? Bridg has been putting out a steady stream of impressive results with a growing list of restaurant clients from Zoes to Chipotle and Pizzeria Locale to Papa Murphy’s.
Jain says they’ve figured out how to bring the marketing clout seen at the Amazons of the world to the restaurant industry. Case studies from the firm show that personalized marketing drives frequency, annual spending and makes for much more efficient marketing spending.
According to the company, a partnership with Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery hit 169% seven-day return on social media ad spending and a 292.2% return on ad spend over 12 months. It’s almost impossible to compare targeted messaging like this with traditional media spending, but marketers likely don’t expect even a 100% return on a billboard or TV advertisement. And marketers can actually see where the traffic came from by connecting marketing messages to the consumer’s data within the system.
Marketing director Stephen Gold said efficiency makes this form of cutting edge marketing affordable for small and medium-size brands.
You go and look at stories about Domino's and Panera Bread, they spend hundreds of millions of dollar with firms like IBM and building out technology for themselves," said Gold. "But for medium sized brands, I’m not sure if the distraction factor is worth it for them to go and hire an IT team that is going to link their disparate systems all together and give them a holistic view on what is happening."
He said for very small brands like Bridg client Marmalade Café with no dedicated marketing employee, it’s nearly impossible to create a system like this or add the specialized staff.
"It’s software, but its also these 20 data scientists, they are here and they are experts and the marketing allies of the brand," said Gold.
He said the most popular campaign they’ve been running is driving online ordering. But they’ve also found success with loyalty membership drives, social media connections.