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Genghis Grill adds social-media hub

Chain to use Genghis Grill TV to track fans and target marketing

Genghis Grill, a 54-unit Mongolian barbecue chain, has beefed up the digital component of its marketing with the debut of Genghis Grill TV online.

The recent adjunct to the Genghis Grill website incorporates such avenues as Facebook, YouTube, Foursquare and Twitter into a one-stop shop for social-media mavens, who happen to serve as the restaurant concept's core demographic of adults ages 18 to 34.

“We feel we have the strategy in place. We feel we have the technology in place. We have the targeting tools in place,” said Ron Parikh, chief marketing officer for Genghis Grill’s parent company, The Chalak Group Inc. of Dallas. “Now, with TV, we’ve got a whole new menu to teach customers about the Genghis brand. It’s really a big opportunity.”

Paul Barron, founder of the DigitalCoCo consultancy that put together Genghis Grill TV, said the chain can use the various social-media tools to track its audience through demographics, social interests and geography to better understand and target marketing messages.

“We’re using the demographic targeting,” Barron explained. “We’re looking at geocode. We’re looking at a match at their passions, their interests, things they are talking about. We’re looking for the niche audience.”

That allows Genghis Grill to target Facebook ads and Twitter mentions, and discover, through keywords, who the major influencers are and what they are talking about, Barron said.

Eventually, Genghis Grill sees layering those social-media users with its own in-house loyalty program, Parikh said.

A side benefit of monitoring all the social-media chatter is stumbling upon nuggets of information that can help in development, said Al Bhakta, chief executive of The Chalak Group.

“We already do geo-targeting segmenting for real estate and traditional marketing. The online and social-media fan fits a different profile,” Bhakta said. “This engagement is catering to a whole new audience.”

After a Genghis Grill recently opened in Tyler, Texas, he said, “From feedback we were getting on Facebook and Twitter, we realized that a lot of people were coming from Longview to Tyler. It really did help us realize how many people were coming from Longview, so we’ve accelerated our plans for Longview and are putting up a store that will open next year.”

To spur interest in getting Facebook “likes” and to provoke social-media conversation around the brand, the “Genghis Live” portion of the TV website is sponsoring a Facebook vote that features embedded YouTube videos of local bands in four of Genghis Grill’s strongest markets: Atlanta and the Texas cities of Austin, Dallas and Houston.

Concerts are planned in each of the four cities by the winners, culminating in March 2011 with a performance in Austin that will coincide with the music-media-based SXSW event, Barron said.

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected].

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