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GALE Partners Named Ad-Age Data & Analytics Agency of the Year

By Jack Neff, Ad Age

While many marketers slashed spending in 2020, Gale’s clients spent more, or at least re-routed it where it worked. One of those places was Gale. The MDC Partners “creative media consultancy” saw revenue spike 79%.

That’s a lot of cheese. Thank the Chipotle Queso Propensity Model for a chunk of it.

Gale put its analysts to work analyzing just how likely each Chipotle customer is to pony up an additional $1.25 to $5.25 (depending on city and size of the queso bowl) to add queso to an order. The model uses the Chipotle Rewards program and app to align offers to upsell the queso leaners without cannibalizing sales from people more likely add guacamole or something else.

Behind all this is Gale’s Ask Gale survey platform and proprietary customer data platform Alchemy, which joins disparate parts of client marketing strategy. Gale staff is 40% technologists, who cull insights used by the other 60%—media planners, creatives and public relations people—to create campaigns.

Clearly, the data and insights are working for clients, starting with Chipotle, which saw revenue rise 7.1% to $6 billion last year, driven by a 1.8% increase in comparable restaurant sales but a much faster 174% increase in digital sales. Now nearly half of Chipotle’s purchases are made digitally, with the Gale-managed customer relationship management program key to closing sales, and, of course, selling more queso. Chipotle Rewards is among the fastest growing loyalty programs in fast-food history, more than doubling from 8 million to 18 million members in a year.

“The team at Gale is made of thought leaders and brand builders who have been an integral part of Chipotle’s CRM success,” says a spokeswoman for the chain. “They are masterful storytellers who deeply understand how to leverage data to create a personalized relationship with our Chipotle Rewards members.”

For Pella, Gale helped a replacement window marketer whose marketing was largely shut down by the pandemic shift to virtual visits and fittings. “They really moved very quickly to using tools like Zoom,” says Gale Founder-CEO Brad Simms. “What we realized quickly is that we needed to nurture every lead, much more than before, because leads were going down but we wanted to keep conversions up.”

Pella had boosted marketing spend 15% a year before with little to show. But Gale started to turn things around with surveys and Pella’s own customer data piled into Alchemy to develop custom marketing plans in 40 U.S. markets. Gale identified “high propensity” audiences that convert to sales at seven times the prior average.

This story originally appeared in Ad Age.