CMO Insights: Mike Westgate, VP of Marketing at Briggo

mike

February 19, 2019

This week’s guest on CMO Insights is Mike Westgate, VP of Marketing at Briggo.

In this video, Mike talks about:

  • Connected Coffee – connecting people digitally to their coffee, enhancing the coffee experience through technology
  • Location based marketing and leveraging location based data
  • Scaling to new markets with a small (3-person) marketing team

Learn more about Mike from his LinkedIn profile and follow Briggo on Twitter. You can also read the full transcipt of the interview below.

For more great CMO interviews like this one, please check out our other CMO Insights Videos or our YouTube channel!

Full Transcript

Jeff Pedowitz:

Hi, welcome to revenue marketing television with CMO insight series. I’m your host, Jeff Pedowitz, President and CEO of The Pedowitz Group. Today as our guest, we have Mike Westgate, who is Vice President of Marketing for Briggo coffee. Mike, welcome to the show.

Mike Briggo:

Thank you very much for having me. Happy to be here.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Well, I love coffee and so I couldn’t resist and I also love marketing. So what’s better? I actually just finished my fourth cup of the day. Whoa.

So you know, mall marketing coffee is actually pretty fascinating. I mean, just in terms of what it’s doing globally, it’s an experience, right? You you gotta go to Starbucks, so you go to baristas and then now with home there’s all different kinds of mechanisms to consume coffee in every possible fashion. So with all the brands that are out there, you know where does Briggo fit in and what are you doing to kind of put your stamp on things?

Mike Briggo:

Yeah, great question, and I think what you mentioned, coffee is a very mature category. It is a very habitual category. And it’s very crowded too, depending on what space you play in. But we believe we’ve created a different experience and it’s all around connected coffee. Connected coffee is basically in the eyes of the beholder. We believe that it can mean multiple things. Connected coffee very literally is how we connect people digitally through an experience and how they create and configure their coffees the way they want them.

We have aspirations as a brand to be very responsible. So how we can connect people to the supply chain and the origin of the coffee, but kind of more holistically. It’s how we connect people with each other. And coffee is a very intimate moment. One of our culture statements is how we want to meet every single customer for coffee, figuratively and literally. But coffee tends to be a moment where people stop and have a break, or they have a discussion where they’re networking or you know, you just meet and have a good positive conversation typically around coffee.

So, how can we enhance that experience through technology so people can spend more time in that experience, as opposed to in a cafe or any third place or any third wave?

Jeff Pedowitz:

I love that. So of course in the morning I have to have it intravenously plugged in so that I can get going, but that’s not as fascinating. So what does it then, how does it actually work? Say I’m a Briggo customer and I get connected, how?

Mike Briggo:

Yeah, if you’re a Briggo customer or if you’re not you can approach the coffee house. You may have heard about us through social, online or you step off the plane at Austin-Bergstrom airport, and you see us up on the marquee. Whether you download the app or come to the coffee house, you can actually begin creating your perfect cup of coffee. And that starts with choosing a base drink, whether it be a latte or a cappuccino. We allow you to customize the dairy type add flavored syrups to it, add sweeteners, even change the temperature type or the number of shots to really hone in to exactly how you want your coffee. And if you are an account holder, then we’ll allow you to save that as a favorite. You can name it. It’s one touch ordering therefore from there on out.

So we see a lot of customers, especially at the airport going through security and ordering ahead because we’re not that cafe destination work companion. Come up with a coffee house, punch in their code, grab their cup and they’re on their way. Same thing at Dell. We’re in Dell’s headquarters, and a lot of our customers are ordering on their walk from the parking lot to their office every day.

Jeff Pedowitz:

So it’s interesting because I was just in Austin and I was there on Sunday, so I actually saw it. Yeah. Very cool. It was good, yeah! I’m trying to remember. I think I was a little a conservative so I might’ve just gone…

Mike Briggo:

Just with the standard cup or something?

Jeff Pedowitz:

Just the standard. But yeah, it was good. I like to look because I knew I was going to be interviewing you so I figured, Hey, why not? Why not? So I meant more broadly then.

So, your role is Vice President of Marketing. How are you telling this story? How are you telling the world? Because it is, I mean, in a world with a Starbucks and Green Mountain and Dunkin Donuts and all these different brands, the grocery stores have their own private label brands. Right? So how do you make your mark?

Mike Briggo:

Well, it’s, you know, kind of standard marketing is leverage earned media where you can, when we have a store of momentum, we try to do press outreach. We leverage our partners just installed in the Houston convention center and they have a media team and they’re proud to have us there as the first robotic barista in Houston, so we’re doing a joint press release there.

So from kind of the PR layer, we’re trying to create some buzz definitely in social advertising because we know our audience is typically a very digitally, socially savvy segment. We’re creating content and we’re sharing content across the, you know, standard social platforms, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and so forth.

But then point of sale is really important as well. Even though we don’t have cafes, per se. The house itself needs to be warm, inviting, and merchandised well. It’s a very new experience for people. So the end caps, we can wrap those uniquely to kind of tell the robotic coffee story. We have a digital screen on which we can run marketing messages and videos at the airport. We actually have a promotion with Lyft, so we kind of leverage the credibility of their brand, and they’r4e leveraging our audience to create kind of a complimentary experience. When you get a coffee at the airport, you have a discount on the Lyft ride to and from.

Jeff Pedowitz:

And the Austin airport where it, the way they just put Lyft, you’re going to need a whole cup of regular coffee to walk!

Mike Briggo:

Yeah! And it’s ongoing engagement and through our CRM tools that we’re continuing to expand right now, either in-app push notifications or through our, you know, standard emails that are based on either time or behavior triggers. We’re letting people know about functionality or drinks that they may not have discovered before or reminding them of the loyalty points they’re earning if they invite friends into the app as well.

Jeff Pedowitz:

I’ll bet. Now is it all B2C, or is there a B2B component as well?

Mike Briggo:

Well it is a B2B component as well, so it’s kind of a fun marketing challenge or opportunity. First of all, you’ve got to get the coffee house placed. So that’s a business development effort in itself, and locating ideal locations that are high traffic, have a good coffee economy and maybe not some nearby competitors.

Once you play some work with a partner to have your point of sale location, then it’s all about the awareness, consideration and acquisition efforts you know, standard marketing. Okay.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Are they all corporate owned, or is it franchised?

Mike Briggo:

Our model is actually own and operate. So we’re typically working in a corporate environment with a food service operator, like an Aramark or a compass group. And we will basically contract with them to have a 40 square foot footprint. And typically we’re displacing a trashcan or a bench or something. Pretty small footprint.

Well, for them it’s a really a unique value proposition on not only serving their clientele, which are typically comfort employees with a unique modern experience that’s highly on demand, but also the labor savings and cost savings and overhead of either building out a very expensive barista barn and staffing it or better utilizing this 40 square foot space that we have in a cafe or in a hallway.

Jeff Pedowitz:

That makes a lot of sense. I actually early in my career I owned and operated a bunch of Subway sandwiches, which was the worst and the kiosks were, you know, putting them into convenience stores and gas stations and nontraditional locations was a big part of the growth. So I could definitely relate to where you’re trying to maximize retail space and the place where people would want to consume a cup of coffee.

Mike Briggo:

Yeah, exactly. And when you find that across retail and robotics and automation are really you know, that they’ve upped the game in terms of what you can deliver food quality and convenient wise through mobile apps. And then just the, the automation component of automated retail or food retail.

And you know, real estate’s at a premium, especially in Austin, you think about this. Dollars per square foot on a commercial space or retail space are through the roof. So landlords are looking for every way possible to maximize the real estate they do have, and actually turn it into a profit center.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Makes a lot of sense. So what’s the strategy behind the mobile app in terms of loyalty, engagement, and what are you doing to drive growth?

Mike Briggo:

That’s a great question. We’re actually, we’re revamping our UI as we speak. Actually just before this call, we’re working on our new product imagery and functionality and some of the hero images. The idea is to create a very real time but customizable user interface that invites the customer to configure their coffee here, pick it up on the go, but then be reminded of ways that they might want to try it differently next time.

The loyalty program is really centered around creating drinks and then also inviting friends in. So if you invite somebody, when they buy their first coffee, you’re going to get a free one added to your account. After you’ve bought 10 drinks, you get a free coffee. And if you add for your preload, your Briggo bucks account for $40, you’ll get a free coffee. So we’re really incentivizing people to come back and making it part of their kind of daily routine for their coffee needs.

Jeff Pedowitz:

I’d say for me that’s about every two and a half days, so that’s nice.

Mike Briggo:

We’ve got some super users, that’s for sure!

Jeff Pedowitz:

Okay, that’s good. Now are you also doing proximity marketing as part of the app?

Mike Briggo:

As part of the app that’s on our roadmap. We don’t have that currently, but you can imagine the network effects and the value of having you know, a Dell employee as soon as they get near the airport, reminding them that their favorite coffee, their Briggo coffee house is just across from gate 17, and stop buy on their way for their flight. And so that’s definitely part of our strategy, is to do some location based marketing. Right now we’re mostly doing that through paid social and paid search

You know, anybody indicating that there’ll be flying out the next 12 hours, say, you know, search terms around check in and so forth, that we’re targeting those search terms and just looking for other ways that we can you know, leverage location based data to really target users to just generally drive awareness. There is another coffee option. You don’t have to guess if you’ve got enough time to walk to the end of the terminal to wait in the line.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Well since you’re in the airports already, can you actually get onto Delta? Because their coffee sucks.

Mike Briggo:

Yeah, well we would love to be more than just a coffee house. We have expanded our capabilities, specifically the Austin Convention Center. They, as you can imagine, they have populations of 10,000 one day and then 20 the next, and to make sure that they can service those 20 people the same they can with the 10,000k, they obviously have robust catering programs and we now produce their catered coffees for their cafes and their catering service as well.

So they really saw value in not only having a very cool kind of theater moment for their visitors but something very centric to Austin and an Austin brand that they want to serve throughout the building.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Very cool. What about voice activation, voice conversation? Is that on the roadmap also?

Mike Briggo:

Absolutely! I mean, vocal search is emerging. We are an on-the-go service, so we have to kind of keep up with the ordering types and search behaviors of our customers. So we’re looking at that the next several months as well.

Jeff Pedowitz:

You know, just given, it’s interesting. I’m starting, my mind’s turning now. All the places where your coffee can be located. You know, just thinking about all of these convenience services and then the cottage industries that spring up. So for example, in Atlanta you can basically rent a bike and drive it anywhere, then leave it. And now there are these other businesses that get paid to pick up the bikes, charge them, and then bring them back to the station. So you could only list, imagine as you see, Briggo stations all around, then there’ll be another service of people that want to come in and kind of service those stations.

Mike Briggo:

Yeah, it seems like it. And a lot of those on demand or to go, you know, catered services or you know, the favorites of the world and in the delivery to go, perhaps there are definitely sister firms out there that I think there’s cool partnerships or ways to expand the reach of a bigger coffee house. We’d also like to look at partnerships in terms of how do we expand the product offering without bolting on new technology to the coffee house?

But how do you partner with other firms within, or brands within the airport even? You know, Book People, it a very famous Austin book shop. We’ve got one in the airport. Books, reading, coffee make a lot of sense. Could we partner with them when you’re buying a book, or you’re in the Book People, you could order a coffee, walk two gates down and pick it up?

Jeff Pedowitz:

Now it makes a lot of sense. So what’s your team look like over at headquarters?

Mike Briggo:

Yeah, we’re growing. I mean we’re still a small firm, so we’re basically a team of three. I lead marketing, that includes everything from kind of PR comms to the actual customer engagement point of sale collateral and content. But then also you know, leading into pro biotic marketing and defining, what is the next generation of the app, and what features do we need to add a roadmap? What drinks and drink types do we need to be looking at, teas and so forth. And then I have a marketing associate. And she is really building her capabilities around CRM and digital management, making sure the web, the app, social presence all asset and collateral point of sale materials.

And then also third party services match and can tell a consistent brand story. And then we have a field marketing manager role that basically helps us activate point of sale and start to develop street teams modeled a bit after, kind of like what Red Bull does or some other beverage brands say, how do we add excitement programming and create events and excitement around the coffee house?

So it’s not just a habit, but we can integrate with say, Dell’s, you know, fitness days when they’re running specific programs there or is there vendors, you know, the B M Wares and the Microsofts of the world are in, they’re promoting products at Dell. How do we integrate with those firms to create a coffee amenity program and use coffee as a reward system?

Jeff Pedowitz:

So what are your scale goals over the next couple of years?

Mike Briggo:

Yeah, so for the business we are now in three markets. We just installed in Dallas-Fort Worth last week as well. So not only scaling the business to new markets and maintaining kind of a brand, a consistent brand value and equity scaling our capability and resources and creating global assets that can be localized. I come from a grocery background years ago where you know, as an account manager, and then marketing manager at Sara Lee foods. And there you can imagine, you know, Sarah Lee foods creates kind of a global level campaign and assets that then are localized at grocery and other retail outlets.

I think we might be taking a similar approach as we start to expand to new markets and create global partnerships with the Lyft type general assets that you’ve used at point of sale and then leverage these field teams to be able to localize. ‘Hey, Dell is having a fitness day! I want to do a special sponsorship for tasting or sampling.’ Okay, here are the assets to be able to activate that.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Like, what about Briggo trucks, right? Imagine like having a food truck.

Mike Briggo:

Yeah. You know, it’s really driven the need for that as a couple of things. First of all, like yourself, you probably, until you stand in front of the coffee house and you taste the coffee, it’s difficult to conceptualize this very new experience. So we’ve got to make it mobile. Luckily we now do have one in Dallas and we have one in Houston. So to sell into those markets, we actually have a physical machine we can bring people to.

But as we want to expand very aggressively out of the West coast early next year, I don’t know if we’ll be able to get it activated by then, but I would love to create some sort of mobile unit or a mobile version of what you might experience in front of a Briggo coffee house and let the, you know, digital media tell the rest of the story. I don’t know, maybe it’s a bad analogy, but almost like an Oscar-Meyer Wienermobile of coffee that you can take around to festivals.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Why not? Well, I mean, so many of our corporate clients they have the food trucks that was in the Dell right there in Austin. I mean, they have the taco trucks that are right outside. They’re awesome. And you get these great, every time we go visit Dell you get the breakfast burritos, and so yeah, I think there’s a big opportunity for that. And colleges of course, street festivals, fairs. So I don’t know. I could,I might have to come work with you guys.

Mike Briggo:

Yeah, yeah. I mean we’re, we have an owner operator model, but we’re starting to think about unique ways to, you know, get flexible with that as is. There’s a lot of market nuances, there’s a lot of localized expertise and relationship building to be done when you go into a market. So we’ll be looking for partnerships as we expand.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Well, great story, great company. Love what you guys are doing. Mike, thanks so much for being on the program today.

Mike Briggo:

Yeah, such a pleasure. I’m glad you got to try the product too. And let me know when you’re back in Austin, we’ll have some coffee together.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Absolutely, sounds good!

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