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Feature Story:

We're All In The Customer Service Business! »

By John Tschohl

After 40 years focused solely on customer service I continue to devote my time and energy to helping businesses create a service culture. The point I try to get across to everyone is: you are in the service business. Most companies think they're in manufacturing or retail. It's a paradigm switch.

Amazon is successful because it understands it's a customer service company that just happens to be the largest Internet-based retailer in the world. Does it pay off to be focused solely on customer service? Amazon's net sales increased 20% in 2014 to $88.99 billion, compared with $74.45 billion in 2013. Answer: Yes, it does... they celebrate excellent customer experiences.

Here are the six steps to creating a service culture...

Feature Story:

Social Media Roundup: March 24, 2015 »

By Daniel Lieberman

How To Use Pinterest Guided Search
Pinterest beefed up its search capabilities for mobile devices with the launch of Pinterest Guided Search a year ago in April. "Essentially, 'guides' are filters. When you click on a guide it will narrow your search results in an effort to give you more of what you are looking for," writes Vanessa Williams on Ignite Social Media. According to Pinterest, she writes, guided search has been effective. "Pinterest says that, on average, a Pinner clicks on 3.6 guides per day when searching. The more a user searches, the better the results are. Pinterest adapts your search preferences for future personalization." Here's how to use it to your brand's best advantage, says Williams:

Feature Story:

Auntie Anne's CMO Heather Neary »

By Philip St. Jacques

Leading and innovating the marketing strategy for a 1,300-location franchise concept in a highly competitive industry and retail environment is a monumental challenge. For almost 10 years, Auntie Anne's CMO Heather Neary and her team continue to lead the brand to new levels of growth year over year. As part of Focus Brands International, owned by Roark Capital, how does a simple product concept evolve into a ubiquitous brand that becomes a category leader and, more important, what are the keys to her success?

In the following interview with CMO Outlook (CMOO), Neary shares insights into her unique perspective on her marketing approach, and the relationship between national marketing strategies and how thousands of franchisees unify to execute locally against a single goal...

Feature Story:

Social Media Roundup: March 10, 2015 »

By Daniel Lieberman

Twitter and Instagram: Fakes Out!
Time for some Twitter and Instagram housekeeping. "Fake followers on social media accounts clutter your stream, reduce your engagement, expose you (and your legitimate followers) to phishing or spam, and put you at risk for having your account deleted. And fake followers can't buy your product or service!" writes Lisa Karl on Social Media Examiner. "The only purpose for fake accounts is spamming or, in the case of fake accounts that were bought, pumping up someone's reputation," adds Karl, a partner and founder at Savvy Digital Business, a social media strategy firm focusing on small-businesses. At Twitter, fake accounts can even lead to account deletion, in extreme cases. Here are four tools to help you find and get rid of the fakes...

Feature Story:

Pinterest Isn't Working For Marketers - Yet »

By Gavin O'Malley

While Pinterest's ad strategy is taking shape, analysts remain on the fence about the pin-based social network, and its near-term marketing potential.

"Many marketers just can't seem to find success on Pinterest," Forrester analyst Nate Elliott writes in a new report. "Barely one-half of top brands maintain branded Pinterest boards - and those that do are unsure what to post, collect few followers, and see little user interaction."

Coca-Cola, for example, has fewer than 5,000 Pinterest followers, while its last 50 pins have been repinned an average of just 11 times each.

After eight months in beta, Pinterest officially launched its Promoted Pins program, at the beginning of the year.

Yet the new program doesn't give marketers enough web-based targeting criteria, according to Elliott...

Feature Story:

Social Media Roundup: Feb 24, 2015 »

By Daniel Lieberman

Local Search Marketing Tips for Franchisees
Search marketing poses particular challenges for franchise businesses, who need to find ways to differentiate themselves from other franchisees online, as well as from the national brand, which can swamp their listings in local search rankings. Creative use of search engine marketing makes all the difference, but the best approach involves collaboration and coordination between all local franchise owners, and good support from the national brand. Rachel Lindteigen, senior director, SEO for PM Digital, writes on Search Engine Land, "Several years ago, I worked in the marketing department of a children's franchise organization, and we ran into several challenges. All of our franchise owners were essentially targeting the keyword have a presence there (58% of U...

Feature Story:

CMO Q&A: Diana Hovey, Corner Bakery Cafe, Part 2 »

By Kerry Pipes

Note: Part 1 appeared in December's FCMR.

Why is it so important for the marketing department to have a "personal touch" when it comes to helping the brand connect with franchise prospects? We are bringing in a record number of prospective franchise partners each month for discovery days to learn more about the brand. Many of these individuals are coming from other segments of the industry, including casual dining, QSR, and family dining. By the time we are sitting down with them, they have visited us in multiple markets, have seen the brand in the media and in our advertising, and begun to see our many points of differentiation. From our innovative, made-to-order menu offerings to our segment-leading catering business, it's important to all of us that those first impressions are reflective of the commitment we have to protecting and evolving the brand...

Feature Story:

Social Media Roundup: Feb. 10, 2015 »

By Daniel Lieberman

On the Web? Try Yelp Instead
Instead of focusing search marketing resources and attention on Google, consider paying more attention to Yelp. It's often the first thing people see on a search engine results page, and many are used to turning to Yelp as their source for local searches. Your best strategy for success on Yelp is to get great reviews. First, every business should claim its Yelp listing, customize it, and keep an eye on what's going on there. Make it obvious to your customers that you have a presence on Yelp, and would appreciate their feedback online. Ask for reviews from people who have expressed particularly favorable opinions of your products and services. "Once you have a cadre of good Yelp reviews, you're bound to do better on a Google SERP...

Feature Story:

EWallets Can Spell Big Bucks For Franchise Brands »

By Bradley Wilkes

Apple, Google, Softcard, PayPal, Visa, and many others are together spending billions of dollars on digital wallet technology. The emergence of these eWallets is getting a lot of media attention as well, but what's in it for you?

What can you expect from a digital wallet?
An eWallet can hold the same items as a traditional wallet. These include ID cards (e.g., a digital driver's license), coupons, national currencies, and payment cards (bank cards, both debit and credit, gift cards, loyalty cards, and rewards cards). The purpose of an eWallet is not only to create an electronic storage location to hold these types of items, but to also to add intelligence to them that will simplify our lives. For example, an advanced eWallet will know when you are making a payment at a specific merchant location and can prompt you to redeem the value on a gift card - no more worry about forgetting your gift cards...

Feature Story:

Social Media Roundup: Jan 27, 2015 »

By Daniel Lieberman

Local Search Adoption Slowed by Confusion, Complexity
Some smaller businesses still think that local search means hometown newspaper advertising, or confuse it with pay per-click (PPC) marketing. "Despite the available weight of evidence, some multi-location brands and marketers still profess confusion or, more commonly, struggle to operationalize 'local search' marketing," according to Greg Sterling in his blog on Search Engine Land. Despite plenty of well-documented results for brands that are taking advantage of local search strategy and tactics, many businesses continue to struggle to "operationalize" them; and opt to dedicate either in-house resources or hire paid ones to keep them at the top of the search results in their local markets...

Feature Story:

Correcting 3 Marketing Misperceptions »

By Philip St. Jacques

I've known Jason Silfies, vice president of marketing and technology at Coldwell Banker Real Estate for more than 10 years and find him to be one of the most rational, engaged marketing executives in the franchise and commercial real estate industries. We wanted to include him and the Coldwell Banker Commercial (CBC) brand point of view in this installment of CMO Outlook because of his tenure and leadership at the helm of a brand that has successfully weathered tumultuous industry undulations. Now, as the commercial real estate outlook heats up, how does he lead the brand to new levels of competitiveness and help the CBC affiliates thrive?

We asked him about the top three misperceptions of local marketing that derail success for CBC affiliates - and what they do to correct them...

Feature Story:

Social Media Roundup: Jan 13, 2015 »

By Daniel Lieberman

Snapchat?? Wait, We're Still Mastering Facebook!
Small businesses continue to wrestle with social media. You know you have to be there, but where is "there"? Does every business need to be on every social media channel? How can you afford to pay somebody to take care of all those feeds, or find the time to do it yourself? There's only one golden rule for choosing your platforms: are your customers there? If not, move on. Treat the question about hiring a dedicated social media person the same way you would think about hiring somebody to answer the telephone - and while you don't need to handle Twitter or Facebook the same way you do a phone call (right now), you do need to respond to posts and comments quickly. Above all, don't think about social media as a numbers game...

Feature Story:

CMO Q&A: Diana Hovey, Corner Bakery Cafe, Part 1 »

By Kerry Pipes

Diana Hovey says she came to know and love Corner Bakery Cafe over a cup of coffee at a unit in her neighborhood. In October 2006, when the opportunity to be a part of the corporate team came along, she jumped at the chance. She's been chief marketing officer for the Dallas-based brand for 8 years now, at the forefront of shaping the branding and messaging strategy for the bakery-cafe pioneer that she says is the "ultimate neighborhood gathering spot."

Hovey says connecting with guests and giving back to the community are paramount to what the brand believes in and stands for. In fact, understanding the hearts and minds of the consumer has always been the focus of her career, first in public relations and marketing with TGI Fridays and later with Brinker International as vice president of marketing for its Mexican Concepts Division and Romano's Macaroni Grill...

Feature Story:

3 Customer Insights From Top Franchise Execs »

By Jack Mackey

Service Management Group (SMG) recently conducted interviews with top franchise executives. We asked them, "How do you go beyond platitudes about customer service to systems that engage customers and deliver marketing impact through a superior customer experience?" During these conversations, executives critiqued their customer experience management programs and shared what's next. Three key business insights emerged from our study.

1) How customer experience metrics predict financial results is not widely understood. Executives ask, "What's the impact of customer satisfaction on the bottom line?" and are looking to their customer experience measurement model to provide the answer. To senior leaders, it's not about measurement of satisfaction, it's about revenue-driven management of the customer experience...

Feature Story:

Social Media Roundup: December 23, 2014 »

By Daniel Lieberman

Snapchat for Beginners (It's Time)
Snapchat users were sending 700 million photos and videos a day in May 2014, according to the company. Users take photos and videos, add text and drawings, and send them to their personal recipient list. The key feature is that the "Snaps" have a user-set time limit for how long their messages can be viewed by their friends, ranging from one to 10 seconds, after which they are no longer visible, and are deleted from Snapchat's servers (supposedly, but that's another story). Amanda Grinevich, blogging for PR agency Shift Communications writes, "Snapchat, the app we all love to hate, introduced us to the world of temporary sharing; it's no longer just a shiny toy that has yet to be figured out. Brands are diving in and taking advantage of the different experience that Snapchat offers...

Feature Story:

5 Mistakes Brands Make In Local Marketing - And How To Fix Them »

By Lori Alba

If your local marketing efforts have fallen flat, chances are that your franchisees aren't happy, and neither are you. It's not uncommon for brands to run into problems engaging with their franchisees and directing them toward a common marketing vision. The good news is that there are solutions to these challenges. Understanding some of the common mistakes brands make in local marketing can help revitalize a sagging program and re-engage disconnected franchisees. Here are some of the most common local marketing mistakes brands make - and tips on how to fix them.

1) Providing marketing funds to franchisees with too many or too few restrictions
Investing in the local marketing efforts of your franchisees can go a long way in strengthening your relationship and encouraging winning behavior...

Feature Story:

The Future Of Digital Marketing: 15 Predictions For 2015 »

By Eddy Goldberg

A new e-book from automated digital marketing firm Acquisio gathers the thoughts and predictions from 15 digital marketing and PPC experts for what's ahead in the coming year. What follows are brief excerpts of those predictions, which focus mainly on PPC and the changes ahead for digital marketing in general. Click here for a free download of the e-book, "The Future of Digital Marketing: 15 Expert Predictions for 2015."

1. More mobile clicks
David Szetela, Owner and CEO, FMB Media
In 2014, many advertisers saw huge increases in impressions and clicks from smartphones. This trend will continue through 2015. Mobile clicks will often represent the majority of clicks available to advertisers.

2. Mobile PPC goes mainstream
Founder and SEM/PPC Strategy Consultant, Big Click Co...

Feature Story:

Improve Your Franchise Marketing System-Wide: 5 Tips »

By Corey O'Donnell

Franchises are different. They are not like the monolithic enterprise businesses with centralized decision-making and abundant resources, nor are they a series of related small businesses. In a franchise business, the decisions, financing, and implementation of business decisions are shared or distributed between the members of the network. To function effectively, franchisors and franchisees must collaborate, but facilitating this communication between franchisors and franchisees presents a major challenge. It's the space between the franchisor and franchisees - the communication, data, and decision-making gap - that must be overcome for a franchise to succeed.

When it comes to marketing, this is further complicated by the addition of dozens of new channels, technologies, and tactics...

Feature Story:

Social Media Roundup: December 9, 2014 »

By Daniel Lieberman

social media, franchising, social media marketing, online marketing, consumer marketing, digital marketing, social media tools, holiday marketing, Experian, video marketing, social video, online pricing, Twitter for Business, Pinterest, marketing to men,
Daniel Lieberman, Daniel Lieberman Digital

TEASE: Social media marketing news you can use. This week: holiday marketing trends and predictions, leveraging social video, online price variations, Twitter for Business, and guys on Pinterest.


Social Media Roundup: December 9, 2014

By Daniel Lieberman

2014 Holiday Marketing Trends and Predictions
A study by Experian Marketing Services examines some of the marketing trends for the 2014 holiday shopping season...

Feature Story:

10 Must-Read Books For Leaders, Part 2 »

By Paul Jun

In the previous issue, we ran the first five of these "must-read" business books. Here are the next five, whose authors include Cyrus the Great (2500 years ago) on leadership and war, a present-day neuroscientist on lying, and business contrarian Stanley Fish on writing a sentence - and reading one.

6. Lying by Sam Harris
The moment teammates feel compelled to lie, however small or large, it's a sign that the very foundation that builds morale, understanding, empathy, and belonging are in danger. Trust is fragile but immensely powerful, and one small lie after another can sabotage the foundation that creates thriving organizations.

"To lie is to intentionally mislead others when they expect honest communication...


Learn More

Powerhouse Women    

Franchise Update Magazine »

Issue I, 2015


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