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The Town Centre Management – ‘Bergen Sentrum AS’ – recently invited all their database profiles (‘loyalty members’) to an event named Bergen Eats Out. For the first time they were running an entire campaign exclusively through the app. The result: The app was the 3rd most downloaded app in Norway even before the official launch.

The City of Bergen has approximately 300.000 inhabitants in their closest surroundings – and the Town Center Management company ‘Bergen Sentrum AS’ defines their catchment area to be 230.000 people within the age group 15-80 years. Recently they invited all their database profiles (‘loyalty members’) to an event named Bergen Eats Out.

The CMO at Bergen Sentrum AS, Thomas Ottesen, had some concerns about whether or not running the entire campaign exclusively through the app would be too exclusive. He did not need to worry as it exceeded his expectations – indeed, the app was the 3rd most downloaded app in Norway even before the official launch, and was downloaded more than Microsoft Authenticator or ChatGPT!

“The Bergen Eats Out festival aims to contribute to brand-building for individual businesses in the city center. It demonstrates that customer influx is possible during what’s considered a slow period with creative thinking and collaboration”, Ottesen says.

Value proposition + tech + people = success

“To be fair, technology can only take you so far”, Ottesen says. “I believe the secret behind this success is threefold; the restaurants/retailers content, which is important. Secondly; the technical rig from Placewise is very consumer-friendly and easy to use. It also gives us a lot of valuable data. Last but not least, we have a very strong team in the performance management services from Placewise helping us execute the campaign in a strategic and tactical way”, explains Ottesen.

Bergen Eats Out succeeded in many ways, and Morten Mørken, the European Commercial Director at Placewise, agrees: “The campaign demonstrated a perfect synergy between channels, content, shoppers, and retailers/restaurants”. “The success was attributed to a strong and understandable value proposition for the end user”, says Mørken.

Digital reach at 45% of the total catchment area

Bergen Sentrum already had over 70.000 rich profiles in their database, and the recent campaign took the total number almost above 100.000! That’s an impressive 43% reach within the defined catchment area.

In total, 482,896 Bergen Eats Out- messages were sent via SMS, push notifications, and email through the “byVENN” customer club. The Bergen Eats Out campaign also had over 2 million views from local newspapers online, along with over 200,000 influencer views on TikTok.

Each new member represents significant value, converting physical visitors into long-term digital profiles. The estimated value of 20,000 new members is substantial. Considering the cost per engagement from other platforms, like Meta (Facebook/Instagram) or Google, for engaging 20,000 interested individuals, the value is considerable.

The company behind the technology, Placewise, works with both B2C and B2B communication in the retail real estate market, and was impressed by the results from Bergen Sentrum AS: “The rapid increase from an already high level was incredibly impressive”, says Mørken.

Data data data

The transparency in the campaign was crucial. All statistics were available in real-time for the restaurants, allowing them to follow user statistics from the app, and Bergen Sentrum AS and the participating restaurants could also see how many people viewed the coupons, where they used them, and what they purchased.

“Imagine how valuable it is to a brand or a shopping destination to know and understand the behavior of 25.000 visitors like this. We can communicate smarter, better and more cost[1]efficiently with these people later. What’s even more important, the shoppers will experience that Bergen Sentrum AS understands and “sees” them when we target them next time based on preferences, segmentation and previous behavior”, Mørken says.

The success has led to the conclusion that this is a start of a new tradition, and there will be a such “restaurant weeks” twice a year. The next Bergen Eats Out will be during the autumn break in October. Registration is already open!

Thomas Ottesen

Thomas Ottesen is the CMO at Bergen Sentrum AS, the Town Center Management in the City of Bergen, Norway. (credit: Bergen Sentrum AS).


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