MediaPost- IHOP’s Social Marketing Strategy Is Pancakes Sans Syrup

Pancakes and syrup. Bacon and eggs. There are many breakfast combos that just go together, and you’ll find them on IHOP’s menu. But what you won’t find is that same balance replicated in their social marketing strategy. This leaves IHOP in a potentially vulnerable position competitively, and it might be impacting their sales.

Just like IHOP’s venerable “Combos” menu selection, a holistic social marketing strategy requires more than one component. It needs the online — social media marketing — in addition to the offline — real-world, in-person word of mouth marketing. Both elements are essential because studies show that while social media now drives one-third of sales impact, face-to-face conversations still drive two-thirds.

Given this, it is clear IHOP is underperforming in a key part of this combo — offline, word of mouth — and if they want to drive optimal performance, they need to figure out how to make real, human-to-human conversation a part of their strategy menu. This was uncovered in a recent TotalSocial analysis, which looks at the full social impact of marketing strategy, both online and offline. IHOP scores a robust 52 online, which is a fairly good score, but only 30 offline. This 22-point chasm between the two scores illustrates a discrepancy between online and offline social marketing effort and presents a significant business challenge since research shows that offline conversation drives twice as much consumer sales as online. Many brands experience this — we call them “social misfits” because they present one way in social media but another In Real Life.

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