Cracker Barrel Promotional Strategy

Executive Summary

We want to bring a different light to what Cracker Barrel Old Country Store and its customers. Through various outlets of research, we have developed a promotional campaign that that will keep the tables full and their occupants fuller. We will to execute this through a targeted IMC campaign towards the demographic of white consumers, aged 35+, with HHI’s ranging from $60,000 to $149,000. Heavily distributed over the Southern census region, the lifestyle of these individuals are married & have children or empty-nesters that believe that how they spend their time is more important than money. They enjoy spending their time the most when home with the family and rely on the radio to keep them informed. We want to shape our campaign for Cracker Barrel Old Country Store around that homely, family-oriented lifestyle. 

Through our Media/Internet plan, we intend to advertise through a variety of ways. Centered throughout the Southern & Eastern census region, the advertisements will boast of Cracker Barrel’s all-day breakfast special, while giving the warm aura of togetherness that people feel when they’re with their families. With our demographics being highly indexed radio-listeners, our radio advertisements will coincide with our outdoor media as both can be used simultaneously to daily commuters. Billboards will also advertise to commuters and passing tourist, which our demographic has another high index in, to stop by and take a break from the road. Additionally, print advertisements in both regional magazines, such as Country Living, Southern Living & Family Motor Coaching, and local newspapers advertising all-day breakfast will be used with the same homely atmosphere to maintain cohesion with both our Outdoor & Radio campaigns. Online banner ads will be ran over two traveling websites Expedia.com and Tripadvisor.com over the course of the fiscal year. Television advertisements were developed to be used over local areas where there are more Cracker Barrel establishments, specifically Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas/Fort Worth, Indianapolis, Nashville, & St. Louis. All advertisements will uphold a home-style, family-oriented demeanor in hopes that more people will become aware of Cracker Barrel’s special offerings.

Our take on planning for sales promotions will involve a customer loyalty program named the Cracker Country Club, in which customers will receive a ‘membership’ card that upon their 6th visit to Cracker Barrel will receive one free entrée off their bill and an additional 10% coupon off their next purchase, which will spur repeat purchases and pull more business in. Also, having a weekly special that children under 11 eat for free for Sunday brunch from 11am-1pm will get the whole family out to Cracker Barrel right after they get out of church. This will give the targeted demographic a high amount exposure to all of Cracker Barrel Old Country Store products.

The PR campaign we developed revolves around generating good will through holding a checkers tournament where the proceeds will be donated to the Alzheimer’s Association. By placing a flyer in the customer menus during June and December, we will be able to generate interest for the event that will be held semi-annually; one in January and one in July. There will be a $10 required participant fee donation and the tournament winners will cost Cracker Barrel a total of $200 per event due to the price of the first place rocking chair which is worth around $139.99, a $50 gift card, and consolation candy from the Country Store for the second and third place winners. According to Cracker Barrel’s website, we found that there are over 600 locations, and from that we were able to estimate the annual cost of the Alzheimer’s checkers tournament to account for $240,000 of the promotional budget. All of the proceeds will be donated and customers will see how Cracker Barrel cares about the community.

Situational Analysis

INDUSTRY OVERVIEW

In terms of the size of the United States restaurant industry, it is truly immense. The industry grew by 4.5% in 2013 to reach a value of $660.5 billion. The compound annual growth rate of the industry in the period 2009-13 was 3.9% (MarketLine). With the restaurant industry spending over 4 trillion dollars in advertising last year, it’s obvious to see how much the industry is growing with a 7.76% increase in ad spending since 2010 (Kantar Media). According to Euromonitor International, market growth for full-service restaurants within the next 4 years is projected to increase to nearly 224 trillion dollars by the end of 2018 for the full-service restaurant industry for an approximate increase of 11% form 2013.

Year$ Billion% Growth
2009565.9
2010583.03.0%
2011610.64.7%
2012632.03.5%
2013660.54.5%

Source: MARKETLINE

COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS

Total ad-spending for the Restaurant Industry (Kantar Media)–

2011: $3,719,267,800   |  2012: $4,072,739,000   |  2013: $4,439,534,500

Total ad-spending for the Casual Dining Restaurants Category (Kantar Media) – 

2011: $1,364,594,400   |  2012: $1,412,737,200   |  2013: $1,437,589,100


According to MARKETLINE, Cracker Barrel’s top competitors are as followed:

  • Brinker International
  • OSI Restaurant Partners, Inc. (Bloomin’ Brands Inc.)
  • Bob Evans Farms, Inc.
  • Waffle House Inc.
  • Texas Roadhouse, Inc.
  • BJ’s Restaurants, Inc.
  • Denny’s Corporation

Based from the following tables, we were able to determine our marketing objectives relative to that of what Cracker Barrels competitors are doing.

All annual statistics were from 2013, found using Euromonitor, MARKETLINE, & RedBooks.

Market share:

Company NameAnnual SalesMarket Share %
Cracker Barrel Old Country Store $2,644,630,0000.4
Brinker International$2,846,098,0000.9
Bloomin’ Brands Inc.$3,841,443,0000.7
Bob Evans Farms, Inc.$1,328,552,0000.2
Waffle House Inc.$91,000,0000.2
Texas Roadhouse, Inc. $1,422,585,0000.3
BJ’s Restaurants, Inc.$775,125,0000.2
Denny’s Corporation $462,593,0000.5

Promotional Expenditures:

Company Name201120122013
Cracker Barrel Old Country Store $26,777,400$30,641,200$36,145,200
Brinker International$137,388,672$121,636,609
Bloomin’ Brands Inc.$137,495,733$150,208,660
Bob Evans Farms, Inc.$6,295,187$4,922,522
Waffle House Inc.$62,600$168,800$54,900
Texas Roadhouse, Inc. $503,100$323,200$359,200
BJ’s Restaurants, Inc.$484,400$677,1002,473,500
Denny’s Corporation $62,754,400$56,475,600$59,040,500

Share of Voice of Full-Service Restaurants:

Company NameSOV 2011SOV 2012SOV 2013
Cracker Barrel Old Country Store 1.96%2.17%2.51%
Brinker International9.72%8.46%
Bloomin’ Brands Inc.9.73%10.45%
Bob Evans Farms, Inc.0.45%0.34%
Waffle House Inc.0.00005%0.0001%0.00004%
Texas Roadhouse, Inc. 0.0004%0.0002%0.0002%
BJ’s Restaurants, Inc.0.0004%0.0005%0.17%
Denny’s Corporation 4.6%4%4.11%

Comparing apples to apples, Brinker International, Bloomin’ Brands Inc., and Denny’s Corporation seem to be the main opponents to Cracker Barrel in the Full-Service Industry.

Customer Analysis

Using Google Maps to find all the Cracker Barrel establishments in the U.S., it was determined that they are heavily vested in the Southern and Eastern regions of America. 

Additionally, MRI+ Reporter indexed the South Census Region at 166 for attending a Cracker Barrel in the last six months, showing that there is a higher propensity to dine at a Cracker Barrel.

Looking at MRI+ data of demographics that have an index of 110+, we can see that Cracker Barrel’s primary target market is generally 55 years old and older. The consumers are mostly white married people, who have graduated from college and have a household income of $60,000 – $149,000 where the main occupations are professional and related occupations. We can also see that these adults own their own homes, which are valued at $100,000 – $499,000 and have been at their present address for 5+ years. By narrowing down the PRIZM groups based off of these demographics, the Town and Country social group was most fitting. This primary target market would be in the T2 Country Comfort, 28 Traditional Times category. This group is described as upper-middle class, older, without kids, age 55+, and mostly white. According to Nielsen PRIZM Social Groups, Traditional Times is the kind of lifestyle where small-town couples nearing retirement are beginning to enjoy their first empty-nest years. Typically in their fifties and sixties, these upper-middle-class Americans pursue a kind of granola-and-grits lifestyle. On their coffee table are magazines with titles like Country Living and Country Home. But they’re big travelers, especially in recreational vehicles and campers. A map of this psychographic can be found in the Appendix. The PRIZM psychographics found on SRDS are as followed:

PRIZM Social Group: T2 – Country Comfort
Lifestyle Category: Psychographics
Lifestyle Title  Total Count  Users / 100 HHs  Group Count  %Total  Users / 100 HHs  Index  
Try to Buy Goods Produced by Own Country, Agr (A)111,064,24593.1713,631,85112.27113.92122
Typically Avoid Watching TV Commercials, Agr (A)106,931,52989.7012,292,91811.50102.73115
How I Spend Time Is More Important than Money, Agr (A)134,660,685112.9615,246,24311.32127.41113
Rely on Radio to Keep Me Informed, Agr (A)57,862,26948.546,526,38111.2854.54112
Like Spending Most Time Home with Family, Agr (A)149,178,432125.1416,640,62511.15139.06111
Consider Myself a Spiritual Person, Agr (A)132,845,199111.4414,507,99210.92121.24109
Advertising to Kids Is Wrong, Agr (A)94,918,12479.6210,293,45710.8486.02108
Rely on TV To Keep Me Informed, Agr (A)103,096,08086.4911,068,06910.7492.49107
Rely on Newspaper to Keep Me Informed, Agr (A)65,602,74455.037,069,13310.7859.08107
My Faith is Really Important to Me, Agr (A)130,547,566109.5114,069,74010.78117.58107
Only Go Shopping to Buy Something I Really Need, Agr (A)150,233,591126.0316,001,71710.65133.72106
Do Some Sport/Exercise Once a Week, Agr (A)125,444,004105.2313,074,88710.42109.27104
Always Look for Special Offers, Agr (A)131,939,089110.6813,801,01010.46115.33104
Consider Myself a Creative Person, Agr (A)141,117,666118.3814,774,04610.47123.46104
Prefer to Buy Products from Specialty Stores, Agr (A)61,397,73851.515,829,4179.4948.7295
People Have a Duty to Recycle, Agr (A)126,105,590105.7912,079,9619.58100.9595
Rely On Magazines to Keep Me Informed, Agr (A)32,224,78527.032,999,5059.3125.0793
Would Pay More for Environmentally Friendly Products, Agr (A)70,024,10358.746,178,0668.8251.6388
Interested in The Arts, Agr (A)93,119,17678.128,141,1768.7468.0387
Prefer Specialty Store because Employee Knowledge, Agr (A)70,416,83259.076,158,5658.7551.4787
Listen Less to Non-Internet Radio because of Internet, Agr (A)40,796,07034.223,572,9838.7629.8687
Ban Products that Pollute, Agr (A)73,481,51861.646,374,1438.6753.2786
Like to Stand Out in a Crowd, Agr (A)53,245,52044.674,560,6548.5738.1185
Always Look for Brand Name, Agr (A)73,292,97061.486,202,2188.4651.8384
Prefer Specialty Stores because Have Best Brands, Agr (A)46,682,02739.163,849,1108.2532.1782
Choose Transportation that is Environmentally Friendly, Agr (A)48,370,19940.583,590,1677.4230.0074

The secondary target market is comprised of individuals who are generally in a lower class segmentation than the primary market. They tend to hold occupations in sales, management, business, and office occupations as well as financial operations. This section has a household income of about $40,000 – $59,000 and has an estimated home value of $50,000 – $99,000. Most are either widowed, divorced, or separated (legally) and have been educated from a high school level to post graduate. The PRIZM category that is most suited to this demographic would be the T4 Rustic Living, 57 Old Milltowns segment. This group is defined as downscale mature, mostly without kids, ages 65+ and encompases a variety of different races such as white, black, and mixed. The description of this category tells us that America’s once-thriving mining and manufacturing towns have aged – as have the residents in Old Milltowns communities. Today, that majority of residents are retired singles and coupled, living on downscale incomes in pre-1960 homes and apartments. For leisure, they enjoy gardening, sewing, socializing at veterans clubs, or eating out at casual restaurants. A map of this psychographic can be found in the Appendix. The PRIZM psychographics found on SRDS are as followed:

PRIZM Social Group: T4 – Rustic Living
Lifestyle Category: Psychographics
Lifestyle Title  Total Count  Users / 100 HHs  Group Count  %Total  Users / 100 HHs  Index  
Try to Buy Goods Produced by Own Country, Agr (A)111,064,24593.1710,559,2129.5183.1589
Rely on TV To Keep Me Informed, Agr (A)103,096,08086.499,772,2129.4876.9589
Ban Products that Pollute, Agr (A)73,481,51861.646,895,7519.3854.3088
My Faith is Really Important to Me, Agr (A)130,547,566109.5112,227,2149.3796.2888
Rely on Newspaper to Keep Me Informed, Agr (A)65,602,74455.036,055,4369.2347.6887
Advertising to Kids Is Wrong, Agr (A)94,918,12479.628,629,2619.0967.9585
Consider Myself a Creative Person, Agr (A)141,117,666118.3812,759,9029.04100.4885
Consider Myself a Spiritual Person, Agr (A)132,845,199111.4411,997,3279.0394.4785
Always Look for Special Offers, Agr (A)131,939,089110.6811,619,5378.8191.5083
Like Spending Most Time Home with Family, Agr (A)149,178,432125.1413,110,8988.79103.2482
Only Go Shopping to Buy Something I Really Need, Agr (A)150,233,591126.0313,031,1078.67102.6181
Always Look for Brand Name, Agr (A)73,292,97061.486,321,7728.6349.7881
How I Spend Time Is More Important than Money, Agr (A)134,660,685112.9611,181,3428.3088.0578
Choose Transportation that is Environmentally Friendly, Agr (A)48,370,19940.583,975,6638.2231.3177
Like to Stand Out in a Crowd, Agr (A)53,245,52044.674,188,6747.8732.9874
Prefer to Buy Products from Specialty Stores, Agr (A)61,397,73851.514,827,8787.8638.0274
Rely On Magazines to Keep Me Informed, Agr (A)32,224,78527.032,530,1607.8519.9274
Typically Avoid Watching TV Commercials, Agr (A)106,931,52989.708,304,8627.7765.4073
Prefer Specialty Store because Employee Knowledge, Agr (A)70,416,83259.075,324,2037.5641.9371
Rely on Radio to Keep Me Informed, Agr (A)57,862,26948.544,355,8167.5334.3071
Prefer Specialty Stores because Have Best Brands, Agr (A)46,682,02739.163,462,2637.4227.2670
People Have a Duty to Recycle, Agr (A)126,105,590105.799,203,1647.3072.4769
Would Pay More for Environmentally Friendly Products, Agr (A)70,024,10358.745,099,0847.2840.1568
Do Some Sport/Exercise Once a Week, Agr (A)125,444,004105.238,503,2446.7866.9664

BRAND ASSESSMENT

Strengths of this company include:

  • Strong purchasing capabilities – this makes the company less vulnerable to the risks involved in relying upon a few suppliers and can obtain products at competitive prices. The company purchases the majority of retail items directly from domestic and international vendors, and warehouses them at its Lebanon distribution center. 
  • Focus on marketing and promotional initiatives – outdoor advertising is the largest advertising vehicle that the company uses to reach its traveling guests. The company continues to increase its efforts in the digital space and has properties on multiple social media sites, including a customer relationship management program and an e-commerce platform

Weaknesses of this company include:

  • Geographic concentration increasing dependency risk – the company’s operations are confined to its domestic market, the US. It does not have its presence outside the US which increases the risk that, should any adverse economic regulatory, environmental or other developments occur in the US, the company’s business and financial condition will be affected.

Opportunities of this company include:

  • Partnership with John Morrell Food Group is likely to enhance Cracker Barrel’s presence in the US – John Morrell Food Group, a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods, entered into a multi-year licensing agreement in 2012 to make select Cracker Barrel product categories available to consumers in new retail channels. The products under the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Brand, include maple and smokes bacon, spiral ham, and four types of lunch meat.
  • Favorable trends in the US restaurant industry is likely to offer new growth opportunities – in 2016, the US restaurant industry is forecast to have a value of $758.9 billion, an increase of 24.3% since 2011. This has a possibility to provide new growth opportunities.

Threats of this company include:

  • Shift towards vegetarianism could negatively impact the demand for the company’s non-vegetarian products – Americans are shifting their dietary priorities from non-vegetarian to vegetarian at a fast pace due to growing incidence of hypertension and obesity. The company serves non-vegetarian food in their menu, therefore, the increasing popularity of vegetarian food could have a negative impact on the demand for the company’s non-vegetarian products.
  • Rising labor costs in the US – government mandated increases in minimum wages and a higher proportion of full-time employees are resulting in an increase in labor costs that may affect the company’s operating margin.

Company Rationale & Positioning

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store is valued for its southern, home-style food for the true rustic American family, one that holds high regard to the time-honored traditions of a sit-down meal without the pageantry and noise of the typical full-service restaurant.

Marketing & IMC Objectives

Marketing Objectives

  • To increase annual sales by 10% as to contest with Brinker International figures.
  • To maintain a 0.4% market share over the Full-Service Restaurant Industry.

IMC Objectives

  • To increase brand knowledge by 10% towards Cracker Barrel’s all-day breakfast.
  • To increase consumer attitudes of Cracker Barrel as a full-service restaurant that appeals to the whole families by 5%.
  • To increase preference of Cracker Barrel in the South to Southeast region of the U.S. by 12%.

Creative Strategy

Primary market, as indicated by PRIZM data, is the Country Comfort group, which are predominantly white, upper-middle-class, who own houses in suburban communities.  They enjoy upscale lifestyles, while enjoying various activities, such as crafts & gardening, reflecting their home-based behavior. Their way of life displays their rural, family environment, which makes them ideal prospects that reflects the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store image. Within this category, the Traditional Times segment exemplify the personality that Cracker Barrel have tried to shape for themselves, which is a conservative perception of the countryside, priding themselves on their family and their home. They are typically reading Country Living and Country Home, which had a high consumer index among Cracker Barrel attendees, provided by MRI+ Reporter. Another fortunate situation for Cracker Barrel, the Traditional Times Segment are big travelers, which make them ideal for Out-of-Home advertisement.
            Secondary Markets include the Rustic Living social group, which are unmarried young people and seniors, in small-towns with relatively modest incomes that work blue-collar jobs in remote communities. Since they live in the rural parts of America, they uphold the same countryside manner as the Country Comfort category, but with less of a Household Income. Further within the Rustic Living group, the Old Milltowns segment are the likely prospect to be receptive to Cracker Barrel advertisement, as they are more likely to be found eating out at casual restaurants on the countryside in rural towns. Population distribution of both the Traditional Times & Old Milltowns segment can be found in the Appendix.

Creative Objectives

The ideal situation for Cracker Barrel’s advertising campaign would be a multitude of things:

  1. Validating the homely brand image of Cracker Barrel to the more rural parts of America.
  2. Emphasis on Cracker Barrels all-day breakfast in order to pull customers from established breakfast restaurants.
  3. Reinforcing the opinion that Cracker Barrel has something to offer to the whole family.

Current Audience Perception

“When I think of Cracker Barrel, I imagine my grandparents sitting in rocking chairs, eating chicken & dumplings, talking about the ‘Good Old Days’, while sipping on a glass of sweet tea. Don’t get me wrong, they have a great selection of food, and having a small country store with home-style foods is great, but don’t think I could see myself recommending Cracker Barrel as my restaurant of choice. Although, it is rather homey, the one’s that I usually see are on the side of the highway, which throws me off when it comes to perceived quality of a restaurant.
            Additionally, when I think of home-style food, I imagine that a large amount of saturated fats and oils are used to give it the intrinsic value of being ‘soul food’, and therefore not as healthy. I enjoy a sense of indulgence in food, but I don’t want to leave the place feeling bloated. I think it’s an antiquity to a former generation, mostly appealing to people from a different, slowed-down era.”

Promise/Claim

‘Cracker Barrel has been known for its home-style atmosphere, one where you can sit down and know that you are going to be taken care of. Here, we promise to offer some of the best southern, home-cooked food that will make you think that your mother made it. So grab the family, drive on down to Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, and get ready to feel at home.’

Desired Audience Perception

‘This Cracker Barrel promise makes me second guess my initial perceptions of the brand. I love the country and I love my mom’s cooking. It seems like a nice cozy place to sit down, relax, and enjoy southern style cooking wherever the location may be. Cracker Barrel Old Country Store will be brought to thought whenever my family and I are trying to find a family friendly restaurant. I’d like to look at the menu online to get a better idea of what I can expect from these country inspired meals and to see the type of fun toys that will entertain my younger cousins.’

Support/Motivators/Benefits

  • Family-style Restaurant.
  • Doubles as much as a Full-service Restaurant as a Food Store/Retailer.
  • Multiple product options that are sold at a premium.
  • General appeal to second-city and rural parts of America.
  • Appeal to an older demographic.
  • U.S.-made product looks attractive to consumer base.
  • Established all-day breakfast menu.

Possible Executions

  • Advertisements geared families with emphasis for kids to eat free on Sundays from 11am-1pm as our target market believes their faith is important to them, and are more likely to be getting out of church during that time.
  • Campaign centering on the all-day home-style breakfast menu to build more awareness of it as an option to the consumer.
  • Use a customer loyalty program to build brand equity and repeat customers for Cracker Barrel Old Country Store.

Media/Internet Plan

Target Audience

Generated from the situation analysis, our demographic is well represented as older (35+), mostly white individuals who reside in the south with household incomes ranging between $59,000 – $149,000+. The main psychographic entails these people to be married couples, typically empty-nesters or families, enjoy American-made products, generally like to travel cross-country in RVs, and showed high indexes of reliance on the radio to keep them informed.

Total Audience

According to MRI+ reporter, a rough number of 176 million people have eaten at a family restaurant or steak house in the past six months, and of that, 123 million are ranged over the age of 35. Additionally, total projected consumers in the Southern census region came to approximately 67 million. With reach potential percentages of individual advertising mediums, a tally can be gained of how much of our audience is exposed. Figures are based off Thumbnail Media Planner.

Reach

  • Radio: Reach 45% of the targeted market over the top 40 DMAs of spot radio throughout the South Census Region, majorly targeting metropolis areas of Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas/Fort Worth, Indianapolis, Nashville, and St. Louis @ 336 TRPS.
  • Newspaper: Reach 63.5% of the audience within the top 40 DMAs consisting of the majorly targeted metropolis areas of Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas/Fort Worth, Indianapolis, Nashville, Louisville, and St. Louis.
  • Magazine: 4% of the targeted market through Country Living, Family Motor Coaching, Southern Living, and Texas Monthly.
  • Digital: Advertise on travel websites such as Tripadvisor.com and Expedia.com, has a demographic of 68% aged 35+, and when combined, receive traffic from over 38 million unique viewers per month.
  • Outdoor: Based off of Outdoor Media Costs for 2012 and SRDS, Reach 52% of the audience over San Antonio, Houston, Dallas, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Orlando, Jacksonville, Nashville, Chicago, Atlanta, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, Louisville, and Birmingham.
  • Television: Target 55.9% of 6 major metro areas of the major 50 DMAs, which are specifically Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas/Fort Worth, Indianapolis, Nashville, and St. Louis.

Frequency

  • Radio: 21 :60 second advertisements on spot radio throughout the months of March, May, July, November.
  • Newspaper: Twice a week on a flighting schedule during vacation months (March, May, June, July, November).
  • Magazine: Country Living – 4 editions out of the 10/year issued. Family Motor Coaching – Monthly. Southern Living – 6 issues on an alternating monthly schedule over the year. Texas Monthly – Same schedule as Southern Living. 
  • Digital: 2 rectangle banners (180×150) and 1 half banner (234×60) for each Tripadvisor.com & Expedia.com.
  • Outdoor: 20 weeks out of the year in TX, OH, FL, TN, IL, GA, MI, PA, IN, KY and AL, individual cities are elaborated in the media mix.
  • Television: Run 9 spots on network television throughout a late evening weekday schedule of June, July, and November.

GRP & Total Gross Impressions

  • Radio: GRP = 945, TRP= 336
  • Newspaper: Total Gross Impressions = 3,885,685
  • Magazine: Total Targeted Impressions = 4,920,000
  • Digital: Total Gross Impressions = 83,640,000
  • Outdoor: Total Gross Impressions = 910,707,500
  • Television: GRP = 503

Classes of Media, Seasonality, & Scheduling

  • All vehicles of media will be used in the IMC campaign over the South to Southeast census region of America. Overall, emphasis should be given to the holiday season when people are traveling the most, which suggested is the months of March, May, June, July, November, and December. This would be more receptive to the psychographic of our target market shown through the high index for being frequent travelers.  Scheduling should ideally concurrent with each other, especially between radio & outdoor medium, ranging over 3pm to 7pm over country stations during weekdays for radio as most of our main audience uses the radio to acquire information. TV commercials appeal more to our secondary audience, therefore less frequency is needed, and mostly is during local late evening news programs on weekdays (Mon-Fri). Outdoor media will be heavily seeded in near the large concentration of Cracker Barrel establishments mostly located in Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Florida, Missouri, North Carolina, and Indiana. Newspaper advertisements will run in various major DMA’s in the formerly mentioned states on a flighting schedule during the holiday seasons of March, May, June, July, and November, as the high volume of travelers during these times could result in more exposures. Magazines advertisements will be focused on consumers that subscribe to periodicals based on regional location on alternating monthly schedules, excluding specific hobbies magazines for families with RVs & Campers, which will run on a monthly schedule. Digital Media will majorly involve banners ads on travel websites over the course of a year, preferably during the second & fourth quarter of the year. All mediums will be focusing on conveying a message to the trailblazing elderly and families that have are inclined to have country/rural mentality. 

Media Mix

  • Radio
    • Atlanta, GA
      • WBTR-FM 92.1. Format: Country. Primary Demo: Persons 25-49
      • WKKPAM 1410: Format: Country Classics. Primary Demo 35+
      • WYYZ-AM 1490: Formats: Rock, Country, Religious. Primary Demo: Persons 35-64.
    • Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill, NC-SC
      • WAME-AM 550. Format: Classic Country Favorites. Primary Demo: Persons 35+.
    • Dallas-Fort Worth, TX
      • KBEC-AM 1390. Format: Country. Primary Demo: Persons 35+
    • Indianapolis, IN
      • WCBK-FM 102.3. Format: Country. Primary Demo: Persons 25-54.
      • WKKG-FM 101.5. Format: Country. Primary Demo: Persons 25-54.
    • Nashville, TN
      • WAKM-AM 950. Format: Country. Primary Demo: Women 30-70.
      • WSM-AM 650: Format: Country. Primary Demo: Persons 35+.
    • St. Louis, MO
      • KRAP-AM 1350. Format: True Country. Primary Demo: Persons 35-64
      • KWRE-AM 730. Format: Traditional Country. Primary Demo: Persons 35+. 
      • WIL-FM 92.3. Format: Country. Primary Demo: Persons 25-54.

  • Newspaper
Projected Newspaper Advertisement
  • Based on proximity of newspapers to selected DMAs, it was determined that daily local weekday papers would be the most appropriate variant of the Newspaper medium. Those chosen were:
    • Advantage News: St. Louis, MO. Circulation (Audited): 38,930. Page Rate: n/s.
    • The Telegraph: St. Louis, MO. Circulation (Audited): 13,149. Page Rate: $5,108.
    • The Charlotte Observer: Charlotte, NC. Circulation (Audited): 131,254. Page Rate: $48,735.
    • The Daily News Journal: Nashville, TN. Circulation (Audited): 11,442. Page Rate: n/s.
    • The Fort Worth Star-Telegram: Dallas-Fort Worth, TX. Circulation (Audited): 124,877. Page Rate: $57,330.
    • The Indianapolis Star: Indianapolis, IN. Circulation (Audited, Group): 185,258. Page Rate: $39,729.
    • The Tribune: Louisville, KY. Circulation (Sworn): 7,912. Page Rate: $2,545.
    • Dallas Morning News: Dallas-Fort Worth, TX (Audited) Weekday: 263,715. Page Rate: $81,700.

  • Magazine

The use of Family Motor Coaching shows to be helpful as it is a monthly consumer magazine that appeals to people who own RVs, Campers, or Motor Homes and like to use them exclusively for leisure. Total Circulation is sworn at 86,073 and page rate for a four-color advertisement run an average of $10,440. Southern Living is a monthly magazine that strictly covers the South and highlights the food, travel, homes, and gardens of the area. It runs as a print & digital publication with an audited circulation of 2,804,454 at a page rate (4C) of $223,300. Similarly, Country Living is a periodical that addresses topics important to country-minded readers such as cooking, pets, home decorating, and travel. It has a frequency of 10 issues/year, in print and digitally, and reaches an audited audience of 1,614,883 at a rate of $188,155. Finally, Texas Monthly is another regional magazine that appeals to people in Texas and covers subject matter from politics to music to restaurants. It reaches roughly 300,000 people and runs a page rage of $35,985 for a 4C advertisement. For one month of circulation, the CPM would come to $95,292.

  • Digital
Projected Banner Ads

Tripadvisor.com and Expedia.com will be used for their criteria of being a travel website that is a well-known option to consumers, and with a combined amount of approximately 38 million views monthly with a demographic of 68% over the age of 35, makes for 25,840,000 targeted impressions across both websites.

Outdoor

Projected Billboard Advertisements

A billboard campaign over the southern and eastern regions of the United States will be used, specifically targeted within the metro areas of: San Antonio, Houston, Dallas, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Orlando, Jacksonville, Nashville, Memphis, Chicago, Atlanta, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, Louisville, and Birmingham. Total Gross Impressions for a 20 week run is 53,441,500 individuals.

Television

The emphasis given to home-minded consumers has resulted in the use of Home & Garden TV and Home Shopping Network, which has an average of 63% viewers that are in between the ages of 35 and 64. Additionally, the use of news networks such as MSNBC and HLN would be useful as it has roughly 62% of an audience over the age of 35 in the cities of Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas/Fort Worth, Indianapolis, Nashville, and St. Louis.

Television Commercial Storyboard


Sales Promotion Plan

Sales Promotion Objectives

  • Increase frequency of purchase among established customer base by 5%.
  • Increase brand recognition towards Cracker Barrel to both new & established consumers by 10%.

Sales Promotion Strategy

  • A customer loyalty program ran throughout the year used as a consumer franchise-building promotion to add brand loyalty to Cracker Barrel Old Country Store.
  • As a non-consumer franchise-building promotion, children eat for free with the purchase of an entrée on Sundays from the hours between 11am-1pm to promote Cracker Barrels all-day breakfast, while reinforcing the Cracker Barrel brand as a family-oriented business. This strategy will be ran to coincide with the target markets likelihood for getting out of church and be with their family members.

Sales Promotion Tactics

  • Customer Loyal Program: Named the Cracker Country Club, this program will be offered to consumers, both new and familiar with the Cracker Barrel brand, in the effort to maintain repeat sales among familiar customers and give incentive to new customers to purchase again. Execution will be done through offering a cracker-shaped coated stock ‘membership’ card to customers in their billfolds upon final sale. The card, alongside instruction from informed wait-staff, will be hole-punched upon arrival and entail that when the customer purchases their sixth meal at Cracker Barrel, they will receive a comp of one of their entrées and an additional coupon for 10 percent off their next meal or any product in the retail section of Cracker Barrel. This program will be beneficial in that it will hopefully reinforce brand image among current customers while bringing in potential customers.
  • Weekly Special Program: To coincide with our media plan of offering all-day breakfast, presenting parents with the option of free breakfast for their children with the purchase of an entrée throughout the general hours of Sunday Brunch, will spur the entire family to choose Cracker Barrel over other restaurants. Focused on our psychographic, who are more religious, go to church on Sundays, and generally are married with children, will be more susceptible to this program due the convenient timing on their commute from church to home. This will be in an effort to accelerate sales and reinforce a positive perspective of Cracker Barrel while trying to pull market share from established breakfast restaurants such as Denny’s & IHOP.

Sales Promotion Budget

Estimated off of our original media plan, it was decided that 42% of budget be dedicated to sales promotion, as no sponsorships were established, which roughly comes to $17.7 million. The estimate was established based off the Full-Service Restaurant industry having very low involvement and a marginal gain on individual products, resulting in a lessened percentage needed for a relatively impulsive market. Additionally, with very little needed to give consumers incentive to eat food, it is not as necessary to use as much promotions in Cracker Barrel’s strategy.

Public Relations Plan

Public Relations Objectives

  • To increase consumer attitudes by 5% of Cracker Barrel as a full-service restaurant that appeals to families and older couples.

Public Relations Strategies and Rationale

  • Host an in-house, semi-annual checkers tournament to raise money and awareness for the Alzheimer’s association. This event holds true to the values and reputation Cracker Barrel wants to uphold while incorporating the accessible activity that is offered to customers as they wait to be seated.

Public Relations Tactics, Rationale, and Examples

  • The checkers tournament will be held twice a year at Cracker Barrel Old Country Store. Once during the summer in mid-July, and once during the winter in mid-January. There will be advertisements placed in the menus starting in June for the summer event and starting in December for the winter event. These advertising flyers will supply our customers with the event description, the date & time, the entry fee, the prizes, and most importantly information about the organization that Cracker Barrel will be contributing to. The checkers tournament will cost $10 to enter, with all proceeds going toward the Alzheimer’s Association. There will also be a donation barrel for additional donations. The first place winner will win a rocking chair, a $50 gift card to Cracker Barrel, and some candy from the Country Store, and their picture hanging somewhere in the restaurant. Second and third place will win other small consolation prizes of candy and a dinner coupon. 
  • Hosting an in-house event and having the checker tournament flyers in the menus will boost awareness for the event and give the customers reason to revisit on a different occasion. Even customers who are unaware of the tournament who come to eat on the event days will see the effort and planning and be encouraged to participate or just donate if they feel obliged. Customers will be more likely to attend and donate to an event that is already taking place in the location that they are at.

Public Relations

  • Based on merchandise allotments for over 600 individual Cracker Barrel Stores at $200 per event, done semiannually in January & July, it was estimated that $240,000, or .6%, be budgeted for our Public Relations Campaign.

Total Proposed Budget

Rationale

As determined from our media mix & IMC flowchart, a total budget of $60.1 million was necessary for the combined Media Plan, Sales Promotions, and PR campaign to be executed. Heavy use between the combined mediums of Radio & Outdoor advertising throughout general vacation seasons has resulted in it taking up over 22.1 million, or 52%, of the planned media budget. Reason behind this being the high-indexed psychographic for liking to travel & having heavy reliance on the radio for information. 

Also within our media budget, newspaper advertising used $9.4 million, a 22% share, and was greatly seeded in the summer months with periodic runs in both March & November. It execution will follow suit, to a lesser extent, in the same cities of our Radio & Outdoor advertisements. Using both local & regional newspapers caused in a variable increase in cost between the two mediums, resulting in a higher total cost.

Digital advertisements will be used on the Expedia and Tripadvisor.com websites, who have an older clientele, to maintain presence on the internet, although a substantial amount has been delegated elsewhere in the media plan. With only 4% share of the budget, our banner ads will be run through heavy traffic months when consumers are buying plane tickets or renting hotels online.

Regional Magazines that were highly indexed for restaurant-goers by MRI+ including Texas Monthly, Country Living, & Southern Living had a higher page rate and therefore incurred more cost than specific hobby magazines like Family Motor Country, which could be run all year and still be cost less than one run in Country Living. Using the amount of roughly $2.3 million, or 5%, of the media plan, these specific & regional magazines will give added exposure to our target market.

Television advertisements were tallied to $6.4 million, a 15% share of the media plan, of the budget. Designated to appeal to the home-minded consumer over the six specific DMA’s of Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas/Fort Worth, Indianapolis, Nashville, and St. Louis. Channels being used were MSNBC, HLN, HGTV, & HSN, for this reason and their general viewers being over the age of 35.

As for our Public Relations plan, which takes only a small portion of the budget, will be mostly the allotment of store merchandise to charity participants across the span of all Cracker Barrel establishments. By generating the good will expected from these charitable events will hopefully result in more brand equity and a better company image. 

As mentioned earlier, sales promotion was proposed to be 42% of what was used for our media plan, resulting in an estimated $17.7 million, which comes to nearly 30% of the total proposed budget. Mostly being used on absolving cost incurred from giving product away as seen in both executions of the campaign, with an amount going towards printing the customer loyalty cards.

Appendix

Maps of Psychographic Distribution of Primary & Secondary Markets

Alzheimer’s Charity Flyer

Overall Integrated Marketing Communication Schedule


All information provided is concluded from Payton Weigel and Leslie Roach. This is not an actual reflection of Cracker Barrel, but a mock insight of what could be done for their company based off of current company records and predictions of the company stated. For further questions, please refer to me directly here.

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