Friday, January 18, 2013
Sunday, January 6, 2013
There is a natural love-hate relationship between Corporate and franchisees because of conflicting objectives and priorities. The objective of any successful chain is to eradicate tension between corporate and franchisees but this is not an easy task.
Today I will share a bird’s-eye view of the priorities of both parties. More importantly, I will share with you foolproof ways to create a love-love relationship with your franchisees.
I consulted a few of QSR and franchising experts to help me with this blog, and many of them wanted to remain anonymous. However, my friend and owner of Ignite Franchise group, Michael LaRue, summed it up best:
“Happy franchisees equals happy franchise.” Michael LaRue
While each party has unique priorities, they both share the same ultimate goal: to be successful. Regional managers are the liaisons and must ensure that franchisees share the same vision as the chain. It is also important for the regional manager to validate the franchisees’ thoughts and concerns. Regional managers must reinforce strategies, objectives, and how they benefit the franchisee. A unified vision has both parties marching towards the same goal.
Communication - Communication - Communication
Both parties can benefit from the other’s insights. Franchisees are on the front lines communicating with hundreds of customers every day. They understand the pulse of what is happening and how customers are responding to a new product or an LTO. While Corporate may be more knowledgeable about consumer trends and marketing strategies that will benefit the franchisee. Mutual respect is key to a love-love relationship.
Create an advisory board, a chat room, or some method of open forum communication to offer timely communication. Encourage exchange between corporate and the franchisee. The more open the communication, the better the relationship. Technology has streamlined communication, but nothing trumps a face-to-face meeting of the minds.
Ability to Localize Marketing
Many chains recognize the importance of local marketing. Create a platform that allows franchisees to create localized marketing that adheres to your brand standards. Boundaries and policies need to be established, but franchisees will appreciate the ability to stake a claim in driving their local marketing campaigns.
Aligned Goals & Bonuses
Financial incentives should be tied together so both parties have the same goals and objectives. That way, each party is motivated to make sure that their counterpart succeeds. With everyone on the same page, it eliminates the necessity for everything to be exclusively sales-driven. Consider elements like cleanliness standards, drive-thru time, and accuracy goals.
Tools & Resources
Provide all the tools and resources your franchisees need to be successful. Offer training workshops and mini online courses to empower and educate. Consider categories such as: customer experiences, improving drive-thru times, streamlining processes, and decreasing employee turnover. Franchisees are swamped with the day-to-day responsibilities of running their operation—make sure you keep this in mind when creating training programs.
This video from National Restaurant News highlights Firehouse Subs and the importance behind their crew rallies.
This is a blog, not a book, so I could not include every great idea for creating a love-love relationship with your franchisees.
Please share your franchising relationship wisdom.
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Pinterest is primarily a website where you will find images of pretty table settings, food and desserts, flower arrangements, hair designs, and cute outfits. Some items are available for sale, but not many.
In my opinion, Pinterest has not done a good job monetizing their site, unlike these sites that are giving Pinterest a run for your money.
Target Demo Women 16+
Brands that Use Pinterest
Retailers like Payless ShoeSource, Pier 1® Imports, and JCPenney are leveraging Pinterest to showcase fashion looks and design ideas for your home. Grocers and restaurants like Whole Foods Market, Sonic®, and Quiznos® feature menu items, recipes, and fun marketing images to better connect with customers.
Pinning (verb) means to pin items that you like and add them to your own ‘pin boards.’
What is it Wanelo?
Wanelo is a retailer’s paradise which hosts images of their products and includes a link back to their website so browsers can become customers. Wanelo is very millennial-esque and shares some similarities to Pinterest, but instead of pinning, users "tag" the images of products they like. The images with the most tags are showcased on the site as the hottest trending products. In true millennial fashion, the trending products featured on Wanelo.com are displayed on the top of the page, preceded by a # hashtag so users can tweet about those products.
Target Demographic Women Shoppers 15-40
Brands that are Cashing in on Wanelo
Retailers like Forever21, Foot Locker, Victoria’s Secret,
Pottery Barn Teen, Amazon and too many others to mention.
Fun Fact Wanelo means Want - Need - Love.
What is it Fab.com
Fab.com has been around awhile. It is a site that curates hip and unique items that are primarily design driven. When Fab first launched, I was really impressed because they leveraged the basic principles of economics by creating demand for access to the site, but limited ability/access to members. After applying for a membership, I had to wait nearly a week before I was granted access.
Target Demographic Upscale Urban Hipster
Tribute to the Small Guys
Retailers are not mainstream, but, rather, individual artists, galleries, and small manufacturers.
Fun Fact If you call yourself a hipster, you are not hip.
What is it TheFancy.com?
The Fancy is a one off of fab.com that features unique items
that redirects you to a buying website. It is very simplistic and definitely showcases higher end items. While fancy does feature items under $100 the majority of their products cost $500 or more. I have a feeling this website will not be a huge money maker like wanelo.com or fab.com as it is priced itself out of the category.
Target Demographic $$$$$ Urban Hipster 25+
Tribute to the Small Guys
The site features boutique retailers, manufacturers and galleries.
Fun Fact You can earn cash by inviting your friends.
Retailers Bottom Line
As a retailer, gallery owner or artist, there are a lot of emerging sites that allow you to feature and sell your products. It is important that you determine the following . . .
1. What is your objective?
2. What are the pros and cons of the platform?
3. Does the demographic match your brand?
4. What is your exit strategy if it does not work?
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Customer experience is the heartbeat of your brand. Wow,
what a powerful statement—but, boy, is it true! It is in my
nature to be attentive to marketing that surrounds me. It’s fun
to share my marketing intelligence. Hopefully, my insight can
help you. Today, I highlight two QSR's that are hitting high
marks with customer experience at the drive-thru.
The next time you pull up to a McDonald’s drive-thru, pay
close attention to how you are greeted. This is what I expect
you will hear: "Welcome to McDonalds. What can I make for
you today?" It does not seem like much, but that statement rings
a lot of bells. It says that at McDonalds your food is cooked for
you and that it is freshly made. Perception is reality, and how
your employees speak to customers plays an important role in
I will bet big money that the person who greets you at the
Starbucks window is not an "order taker" nor "a cashier" I bet
you their job title is "1 friend maker"—and that their kindness
is winning over the hearts of customers, one car at a time.
As a loyal Starbucks customer, I drive away happy to have the
cup in my hand, but, more importantly, the guy or gal I just
chatted with for the past 60 seconds made me feel great! They
put a smile on my face and seemed to legitimately care about me.
Wisdom From A Friend
I make a habit of surrounding myself with people who are
smarter and more successful than me. I was recently visiting
with Jim Paglia, who is definitely in this category. Jim had
shared something with me that I thought was profound and
true. I'm paraphrasing, but this is the gist:
"A brand is everything the customer experiences from start to
finish. Everyone within the company must embrace the culture
and be fully committed."
What can you do to improve your customer experience?
Stay On Top Of Your Marketing Game & Sign Up For My Blog!
Monday, November 19, 2012
In this 1:40 second video blog, I quickly sum up what you can expect to see from this Black Friday and from retailers this holiday shopping season.
Click Link To Tweet This Quote
Showrooming Will Impact Bricks & Mortar To The Tune Of $1.7B
Monday, November 12, 2012
As a marketing aficionado, I sign up for every possible loyalty program. I want to experience first-hand how retailers market to their customers.
This past weekend was my birthday. I do not have over-the-top expectations for my birthday, however, this year was my worst ever. My husband was out of town, so there was no cake, no cards, and no presents. This is okay, because my husband is now back in town and we will be celebrating my birthday this week.
Retailers That Celebrated Me
A handful of retailers honored my birthday, and sent me a personalized
e-mail card. Today, I showcase two retailers that truly understand the emotional importance of recognizing a customer’s birthday: Sonic and Papa Murphy's. Both of these retailers really blew my candles out with these emails and free birthday gifts.
They Won Me Over
These brands made me feel like they really care about me. They gave me a small token of affection, and are baiting me to visit their location again. When I do go in to redeem my free cookie dough from Papa Murphy's or my free drink from Sonic, I'm sure I will feel really great about these retailers and become even more loyal.
I'm not too proud to ask you to send me a belated birthday wish—even better, post a smart comment about great loyalty marketing.
Monday, November 5, 2012
I'm annoyed by the ridiculous hype surrounding some so-called marketing buzz words. As marketers, we want to sound smarter than the next agency guy, but, too often, we are swept away because some ad guru has repackaged old strategies with fancy synonyms and re-branded these so-called ‘buzz’ words:
It is amazing how many times a day I hear or see the word content. Maybe the whole content craze is due to the rise of blogging and the ability to amplify word of mouth through the Internet. Content is just another word for information. Since the invention of advertising in the early 1920's, brands and retailers have been using information (content) to persuade customers to buy their products or services. The appearance and depth of that information may have changed over the years as consumers have become more savvy, but it’s still the most common, and impactful way to
Engagement is not a fancy re-purposed word designed by advertising gurus. It is however, a strategy that brands and retailers have always executed. Engagement is simply how a retailer or a brand communicates with their customers or potential customers. I know the rules of engagement have changed (due, in large part, to smart phones and social media platforms) but what's the big deal? Instead of sending direct mail or newspaper advertising, you’re now engaging with your customers via Pinterest and mobile ads—same message, different delivery method.
Voice of Customer is a little newer on the buzz word scene, and seems to be cropping up more and more. This term annoys me to no end—if brands have not been speaking to the voice of their customers, then who-the-heck have they been speaking to? VOC is just a dumb acronym to make people feel smarter than the next agency: "We specialize in voice of customer." Really?
Brands and retailers have been crunching numbers and analyzing data for decades. Now we add the word big and all of a sudden it is buzz worthy? Come on, people, get a grip. It is not any more or less important because people are calling it Big Data as opposed to just data. The bottom line is that you need to extrapolate your data to do a better job getting current customers to spend more money with you and to steal more customers away from your competitors.
The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, you need to out-smart your competition, sell more widgets, and make your customers loyal…with or without buzz words!
Please post a smart comment about what so-called marketing buzz annoy you and why.