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How Taco Bell Crushes Customer Engagement and Finds Success Through Digital Marketing


With more than 7,000 locations worldwide that serve more than 40 million customers each week, Taco Bell is one of the most well-known fast-food chains. The Taco Bell team knows what they’re doing when it comes to brand recognition and marketing tactics. SOCi’s very own Rob Reed, Strategic Advisor – Enterprise Brands, spoke with Zipporah Allen, Taco Bell’s Chief Digital Officer, to discuss her role at Taco Bell and share insight into Taco Bell’s localized marketing strategy. In the Clicks 2 Bricks podcast, Zipporah explains how she has helped the company find even more success through digital marketing. 


Within this blog, we’ll recap the podcast episode, highlight marketing tactics Taco Bell has used to connect with their target audience, and share tips your own multi-location restaurant or business can leverage to find similar success. 


Introducing Taco Bell’s Chief Digital Officer 


As mentioned previously, Zipporah Allen is the Chief Digital Officer at Taco Bell. Zipporah Allen joined Taco Bell in 2019, months before COVID-19 changed the world. Before working at Taco Bell, Zipporah worked at Pizza Hut, one of Taco Bell’s sister companies, both a part of Yum! Brands. Zipporah explained that Pizza Hut was more digitally forward in the restaurant space because consumers order pizzas online and pick them up or get them delivered. Zipporah joined Taco Bell, intending to take some of her Pizza Hut learnings and apply them to Taco Bell, a more traditional drive-through restaurant. 


She understood the importance of being at the forefront of creativity and innovation and believed that while it was always a goal of Taco Bell, the pandemic sped up the process. Before we get into the specifics of Taco Bell’s innovative initiatives, let’s look at what Taco Bell is doing to drive customer engagement.


A Look Into Taco Bell’s Tech Stack and Personalization


When starting as Chief Digital Officer, Zipporah wanted to create a new customer journey and rework how a fan would shop and interact with the brand. This is where a focus on both digital and personalization comes into play. Zipporah made it her team’s mission to enable all parts of the customer journey through digital platforms. And while digital is critical, Zipporah also understands the importance of personalization. Like many multi-location businesses, Taco Bell struggled with finding a technology stack that could deliver a personalized experience across every customer touchpoint, from online ordering to the pickup experience. 





After finding ways to personalize the customer journey, Taco Bell also considered what type of personalization consumers would appreciate. Zipporah made it her goal to ensure the marketing team communicated in a way to make customers feel understood. If consumers feel like a brand knows and appreciates them, they will be more likely to have a positive experience and return to the business. While personalization is a great way to keep customers coming back, Zipporah developed digital initiatives to encourage customers to continue doing business with Taco Bell. 


How Taco Bell Continues to Find Success Through New Initiatives


That’s where Taco Bell’s Taco Lovers Pass comes in. Taco Lovers Pass is a subscription service where customers pay $10 upfront to gain access to a secret menu on the app, and users can also redeem a free taco every day for 30 days. This new initiative is part of Taco Bell’s loyalty program. Zipporah explained that after testing this program in 17 restaurants, the initiative helped drive customer engagement. Over the years, Taco Bell has continued to develop various marketing tactics that help drive engagement, which ultimately keeps customers happy and boosts sales. 


With this new initiative and Taco Bell’s loyalty program, they have also focused on improving their app overall. For instance, to keep up with today’s digital-first world, Taco Bell ensured customers could place both dine-in and pickup orders ahead of time on the app. What is your multi-location business doing to stand out in today’s digital-first world? Whether it’s through a helpful app, engaging social content, or updated local listings that allow online order or appointment booking, your multi-location business needs to level up its digital presence. Taco Bell is an excellent example of a company already thriving but continually innovating to find new ways to keep customers happy and keep them coming back. 





Get Started Building Your Own Winning Localized Marketing Strategy


It’s clear that Taco Bell has done the work and understands what it takes to stand out online. Where does your multi-location business compare? Whether you’re crushing your localized marketing goals or just getting started, there’s always room for improvement. While Taco Bell provides helpful insight into what it takes to succeed in localized marketing, your business must consider what will work best for your target audience. For instance, while personalization is critical for all multi-location companies, loyalty or rewards programs might depend on your industry. 




Don’t let the thought of managing your localized marketing efforts across business locations prevent your business from finding success. SOCi is here to help! SOCi is the marketing platform for multi-location brands. From personalizing your local social efforts to maintaining a solid reputation through ratings and reviews to updating your local listings and more, SOCi has you covered. For more information on how SOCi can help your multi-location business follow in Taco Bell’s footsteps and crush its localized marketing efforts, request a demo today! 




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Darcy Bickham

As SOCi’s Content Marketing Manager, Darcy Bickham specializes in creating the strategy and developing the content around both localized and digital marketing trends for the SOCi brand. Through her content writing, Darcy has helped to position SOCi as the marketing platform for multi-location brands.