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Feature Story:

Smokin' The Competition: Dickey's Barbecue Pit Preps For Growth With A New CBO »

By Kerry Pipes

Texas-born and bred Dickey's Barbecue Pit is looking to expand. That's partly why executives of the family-owned brand recently created a new position - chief brand officer - and called on a fellow Texan to market that message and help build greater brand awareness nationwide.

Christie Finley brings vision, drive, and creativity to the nation's largest barbecue brand, which has more than 400 locations in 42 states. Finley says she's focused on "the basics done right," and on promoting the brand's core values of heritage, innovation, and craftmasnship.

As chief brand officer, Finley oversees all traditional marketing efforts of the brand, which is well-known in Texas for its big, bright yellow cups and savory, smoky barbecue...

Feature Story:

How Summer-Only Kidcam Camps Targets Customers »

Franchise Update

We asked Melissa Conner, who leads marketing and operations at Kidcam Camps, how she identifies ideal customers - and how she targets them effectively with marketing initiatives. Here's what she had to say.

Kidcam Camp Franchises has 17 company-owned and franchised summer camp locations for children ages 3-13. Although we plan for our summer business year-round, we market heavily to our prospective customers for only about 5 months. Each location is treated a little differently, but there are few initiatives we have found effective regardless of the location.

Even though our business is all children, it's the parents making the decisions, and we know our customers choose us based primarily on location: How close are we to their home or work? In our off-season we look at a lot of reports telling us where our campers attend school, where they live, and how they found out about us...

Feature Story:

SEO Refresher: 6 Experts Offer Advice »

By Eddy Goldberg

"SEO, SEO, SEO" has become the online equivalent of "location, location, location." So many articles, so many years of expert advice, and so many case studies, success stories, best practices... Perhaps it's time to take a step back from rearranging the keywords, worrying about your rankings, and trying to decipher the latest tweaks to Google's algorithms, and take fresh look at what your brand is been doing with SEO.

There's lots of "expert" help out there, and more every day. Here's another, an ebook from HubSpot called "Learning SEO from the Experts." Okay, more experts, advice, and how-to's. But these six authors provide a healthy overview of SEO, along with practical how-to tips and additional references to help your brand tune up and make sense of what you're doing with SEO to attract customers...

Feature Story:

Social Media Roundup: July 22, 2014 »

By Daniel Lieberman

Online Search Ads: Worth It or Worthless?
It turns out online advertising suffers the same problems as other kinds of advertising: reliably separating correlation from causation, as in, Would that purchase have happened anyway, or did our online ad trigger the behavior? A 2013 study by a group of economists working with eBay's internal research lab concluded that, at least for large, well-known brands, search ads are probably not worth the money. It may be that search ads for smaller company's products and services are more effective. A problem for them, of course, is that their ads normally don't rank as high as those from major brands with massive PPC budgets, so they won't be seen nearly as often. Jordan Weissman, writing on Slate, puts the study in perspective...

Feature Story:

Schlotzsky's: How Marketing Supports Franchisee Recruitment »

By Kerry Pipes

As CMO at Austin-based Schlotzsky's since January 2014, Mark Mears oversees the direction of the brand's marketing division, including the strategic management of its marketing and creative services departments, along with directing brand promotions, advertising, creative design, menu tests, and other initiatives. With nearly three decades of experience in QSR, fast casual, casual, and premium casual, he has a track record of building system value and driving innovation at high-profile brands. Schlotzsky's now has more than 350 locations worldwide, with plans for aggressive growth this year and beyond.

Describe your role as CMO. I am the steward of the Schlotzsky's brand, a passionate advocate for the brand in relation to everything that touches our guests - including high-level strategic thought leadership, marketing calendar development/execution, culinary/menu research and development, mass/micro media, digital/social media and web/mobile interactivity, publicity/corporate communication, franchise and guest relations, and local restaurant/field marketing activities...

Feature Story:

Targeting Customers Effectively At Liberty Tax Service »

Franchise Update

We asked Martha O'Gorman, Chief Marketing Officer at Liberty Tax Service, how she identifies Liberty's ideal customers - and how she targets them effectively with marketing initiatives. Here's what she had to say.

The one thing I have learned through my years of experience in marketing is that the ideal customer is identified best by modeling them after a real person. I spend a lot of time watching and listening to our customers in person and through social media channels to get a sense of who they are and what they are looking for in a tax preparer. In many ways, that expectation is all over the board, but there is one constant that rings true throughout our customer base: they want to be treated with respect by a friendly person who makes them feel good about their experience with us...

Feature Story:

IT Speaks: Building Technology Solutions That Marketers Love »

By Johnny Cheng

Note: This article originally appeared on the Marketo Marketing Blog.

Back when I was in IT, my biggest fear was implementing a solution that no one liked -or worse, that they didn't end up using. Being at a startup tech company, my IT budget was minuscule. This meant that aligning with other "well-funded" departments in my company, such as the marketing team, was always a challenge.

If I'd had an unlimited budget, I would have always implemented complete turnkey solutions (for those not in IT, these are "off the shelf," ready-to-go solutions), with 1,000 professional services hours and 24/7 live support. I wouldn't have worried about learning the solution or onboarding my users. Crazy, I know... but everybody has to dream...

Feature Story:

5 Reasons To Use Cartoon Animation In Online Marketing »

By Toonimo

The past few years have seen an increased use of animated cartoon by sponsors at Franchise Update Media conferences. Whether aimed at franchisees, franchisees, or marketers, these presentations are not only a departure from "standard" promotional and marketing videos, but judging by audience reaction, they also seem to draw more eyeballs (as well as a few smiles) - despite clearly being marketing pieces pitched to sales and marketing pros. Toonimo, a company that produces animated cartoons, presents their top five reasons to consider incorporating moving pictures into your brand's online marketing mix. Below are some edited excerpts.

From the intro
Cartoon animations can be a powerful marketing tool for online marketers...

Feature Story:

Social Media Roundup: July 8, 2014 »

By Daniel Lieberman

Mary Meeker's 2014 Internet Trends
Kleiner Perkins venture capitalist Mary Meeker gives out a valuable presentation about Internet trends every spring. It's widely considered a sort of "State of the Internet" address. Here are the data-packed slides from her 2014 presentation. Key insight: The Internet is still growing fast worldwide and mobile is growing even faster.

Twitter Interactive Guide for Small Businesses
Want to get started with Twitter and don't know how or where? Or maybe you're already using Twitter and want to take your activity to the next level. The popular social media giant (255 million monthly active users) has put together an interactive guide to help your business reach its goals, whatever your experience level...

Feature Story:

Customer Service: Empower Employees To Go Beyond The Rules »

By John Tschohl

There are rules for a reason: they work for most people most of the time. Often, scientific evidence backs them up. But as with almost any other endeavor in society that doesn't involve criminal activity, rules can sometime be broken - or at least bent - without the world coming to an end.

This is especially true in business. Company owners and top executives give a lot of thought to winning and keeping customers, and they spend a lot of time and money on things like PR, leadership training, social media campaigns etc. But the real front lines of building a business are in the daily interactions employees have with customers.

One of the major roadblocks to customer service excellence are the policies and procedures most companies have in place to make sure that 1 percent of their customers don't take advantage of them...

Feature Story:

Store Analytics: Franchise Networks Should Act More Like Chains »

By Mark Ryski

The benefits of tracking traffic and measuring conversion rates in retail stores have long been established and are now widely considered fundamental in retailing. Not only have retailers been doing it for decades, but the retailers who leverage the insights effectively have an "insight edge," and consequently a competitive advantage over retailers who do not.

Over the course of the last 10 years, I have worked with a multitude of franchise and dealer networks including those in wireless, general merchandise, electronics, home improvement, and automotive segments. Regardless of the type of franchise network, I see a consistent disconnect between franchisors and franchisees when it comes to analytics, especially store traffic and conversion analytics...

Feature Story:

Buyer Personas: Do You Know Who Your Customers Are? »

By Eddy Goldberg

Every marketer thinks about their ideal customer - where they live, what they like, what they buy, where they buy it, and why. Creating a picture of that perfect customer goes a long way in helping consumer marketers determine where to spend their own money. A free, customizable template from HubSpot, "How To Create Buyer Personas for Your Business," provides a way to answer those critical questions about your ideal customer.

The report is divided into five sections, including a set of blank PowerPoint templates to create three customized buyer personas for your business. Here's an overview of what's inside, with excerpts from the report:

1) What are buyer personas?
"Buyer personas are fictional, generalized representations of your ideal customers...

Feature Story:

Social Media Roundup: June 24, 2014 »

By Daniel Lieberman

Is That Why it Says "Ad" On it?
Research shows that 36% of people tested still don't realize that Google's Adwords ads are actually advertisements (down from 41% in 2013). In fact, the study found, one in four tested don't know that Google has ads at all! In 2013, 91% percent of Google's revenue was attributed to advertising. It must be nice to be a company whose customers don't know that they're the product you're selling.

Don't Trust Google? Try DuckDuckGo
DuckDuckGo, the small search engine that distinguishes itself from Google and the other large search engines by its guarantee of user privacy, has added a number of new features to make itself more attractive. Now DuckDuckGo users get auto-suggested searches, maps (using OpenStreetMap) and local search, and weather, image, and recipe search...

Feature Story:

What's Trending In Social Media This Summer »

By Margaret Murphy

In her blog on Didit.com, Margaret Murphy, social media coordinator at the digital marketing firm, takes a look at 10 social media trends she expects to continue growing this summer. Here's an abbreviated version of her list. For the full version, click here.

1. Vine
Vine has slowly but surely crept its way into the social media world. When Instagram introduced video, it looked like Vine wasn't going to last very long. Instead, the wittiness of the 6-second videos brought users back to the app again and again. Brands such as Dunkin' Donuts caught on and started to produce quick, entertaining video ads using the app.

2. Emerging technology
Inventions like Google Glass, Oculus Rift, the Samsung Smart Watch, and the Nod Bluetooth Ring seem like Jetson-esque products unlikely to be consumed in our lifetimes...

Feature Story:

Is Beer The Missing Ingredient For Engaging With Millennial Men? »

By Jeff Fromm

Brands have a new love affair with Millennial men. Who is the Millennial Man, you might ask? He is a hard worker who is typically happier with his current career and making more money than his female counterparts. He also values social media and loves staying up to date with his favorite sports team and entertainment news. Millennial men are also considered to be gadget gurus and are constantly connected through their multiple devices, including their smartphone, laptop, and video streaming software.

Aside from his various devices, there are a few things a Millennial Man cannot live without. One of those things is his favorite beer chilling in the fridge for a night out with the guys or to drink while watching the game on Sunday night...

Feature Story:

User-Generated Social Content Can Build Your Brand - And Boost Sales »

By Laurens Bianchi

Writing on viralblog.com, Laurens Bianchi explains the benefits of integrating user-generated content into your marketing mix - as well as how to do it.

Today's consumers are constantly creating, sharing, and consuming social content. The big question is: how can brands benefit from it? Many brands will understand that this social content is popular, but they don't always realize how influential it also is.

More and more, consumers turn to social content when making buying decisions. Before clicking "add to cart," they seek a stamp of approval from peers and friends.

This trend creates a huge opportunity for brands to drive revenue. But the path from selfie to sale doesn't always seem straightforward...

Feature Story:

Social Media Roundup: June 10, 2014 »

By Daniel Lieberman

European Union: Google Ordered To Remove Personal Online Data If Asked
The European Court of Justice dealt a defeat to Google and a victory for privacy advocates when it ruled that people in the EU have the right to have data about them deleted from online databases. A Spanish man brought the case, arguing that Google impinged on his privacy. Google called the decision "disappointing." EU officials say it's a victory for the protection of Europeans' personal data. Money quote: interference with personal rights "cannot... be justified by merely the economic interest which the operator of the engine has in the data processing."

Content Marketing Works Says New Survey
It's time to get that company blog into shape and working for you! Almost half (46%) of U...

Feature Story:

CMO Profile: Mark Mears, Schlotzsky's »

By Kerry Pipes

As CMO at Austin-based Schlotzsky's, Mark Mears oversees the direction of the brand's marketing division, including the strategic management of its marketing and creative services departments, along with directing brand promotions, advertising, creative design, menu tests, and other initiatives.

Mears came on board as CMO in January 2014. With nearly three decades of experience in QSR, fast casual, casual, and premium casual, he is a visionary business leader with a track record of building system value and driving innovation at high-profile brands.

He came to Schlotzsky's from Mimi's Cafe where, as president and chief concept officer, he led the brand through a repositioning strategy, related menu optimization, and new concept development...

Feature Story:

Using Technology To Reach Customers At Valvoline »

By Rob Stravitz

We asked Rob Stravitz, vice president of marketing at Valvoline Instant Oil change, to discuss how the brand uses technology in its marketing efforts to target and reach customers more effectively. Here's what he had to say.

Valvoline Instant Oil Change relies on two principles in developing our marketing programs: 1) leverage our extensive customer database to gain insights and target our activities; and 2) can we clearly measure the impact so we are confident that we are delivering long-term value to the business?

The reality is that we operate a business that handles a chore consumers have to do, but don't want to do (a lot like the dentist, my apologies to the dental profession). As such, there is a very limited window when a consumer will be in the market for an oil change...

Feature Story:

Breaking Through The Clutter: Reach Local Customers More Effectively »

By William Rodriguez

There's a lot of competition out there. And, as the economy continues to show signs of improvement, new franchises are entering the marketplace while existing brands open new stores or add new service providers.

While this growth is certainly positive, many of us are noting an almost opposite trend in our customers. We may be giving them more options, but their waning attention spans and "get-it-now" mentalities make it even more challenging for us to actually get their business.

How to break through the competitive clutter with your advertising message? Reach your customers where they are - and inspire them to move to where you'd like them to be.

Location, location, location
Successful businesses use geotargeting to deliver promotional messages that resonate with their unique demographic niches...


Learn More

Using Technology to Enhance Franchise Sales and System Performance    

Franchise Update Magazine »

Issue II, 2014


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