Q&A with "Change Agent" Lisa Dimson, CMO at Your Pie Pizza, Part 2
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Q&A with "Change Agent" Lisa Dimson, CMO at Your Pie Pizza, Part 2

Q&A with

Editor’s note: To read part 1, click here.

Describe your marketing team and the role each plays. Over the last few years, the marketing team has evolved in all areas to allow us to anchor in our go-to-market approach. Key areas of growth have been made in innovation, digital strategy and activation, CRM and loyalty platforms, off-premise services and third-party partners, etc. In addition, we have expanded our team through business partners to extend our knowledge, productivity, and effectiveness. Finally, our teams thrive when they can engage in more purposeful work, when they feel they are making a positive impact. Exposing our team members to new opportunities or asking them to think differently to accelerate our business is putting renewed energy into growth and manifesting strong initiatives to accelerate growth.

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? Each franchise prospect is seeking the right business that aligns with their values, interests, and goals. Our ability to tell our story and share how we, the franchisor, can partner with them to reach their goals is of utmost importance. Prospects want to know what to expect and how our experience and knowledge will support them as they pursue their personal vision for their restaurant business and their communities. We make every step of the journey personal because our business and our success together is personal.

How does this help your franchise sales and development effort? Brand storytelling is woven throughout the prospect journey. Every interaction answers the prospect’s questions and reveals important aspects of our business to inform their decision. Lead generation and targeting are developed with the intent to generate quality leads and, ultimately, prospects who share our vision. To generate quality leads and prospects, we are continuously optimizing channels to create a streamlined but informative sales process.

What ways/tools do you rely on to do this? Many of our franchisees were originally brand fans. We find that our restaurants are the strongest source of development, as our owners inspire and create great experiences prospects are drawn to. As we seek ways to expand into new communities, awareness is ignited by our digital channels. These include CRM, search, website, social, and paid digital strategies. 

Do today’s prospects expect more from the franchise marketing department? What, and how do you provide it? One of the great benefits for an owner entering into a franchise system is to gain access to things such as brand properties, logos and signage, marketing programs, and name recognition. In today’s crowded landscape, franchisees look to use these marketing programs to give them an advantage over their competition. Our dedicated teams guide prospects through an extensive process to learn about the company before they invest—everything from what to expect through business financials, development, operations, training, technology, and marketing.

How is today’s consumer and marketing data helping you fine-tune your marketing initiatives? The data we leverage is based on consumer interactions on our platforms and in our restaurants. Whether it’s through experiential reviews and feedback sources or through various social channels and third-party platforms, we digest this data to prescribe and enhance experiences in our restaurants and digital platforms. We also can strengthen brand awareness and messaging by using digital marketing’s data sets to A/B test various creative executions to engage and optimize efforts with smart intention. Reviewing the data allows us to target a qualified audience and their preferred purchase behavior to influence conversion. A push for first-party data collection in our restaurants and digitally is key. However, we leverage third-party data for retargeting capabilities, which allows us to incorporate our brand into a greater universe of consumers at various stages of the customer journey.

Describe the evolving role of social media in your brand’s marketing efforts. Incorporating our brand in consumers’ lifestyles in a genuine and authentic approach allows us to add value to their needs. Where we have found the most engagement is through user-generated content. The experiences, imagery, and recommendations from our fans outweigh our best creative. Also, creating positive disruption in consumers’ feeds (leading them to think about delicious pizza when they are considering meal options) creates engagement and potential conversions. Using the right creative at the right time to capture attention influences future purchase behaviors.

How do you work with other internal departments and does technology help? The pandemic caused us to work remotely and forced us to be more efficient with communications by leveraging virtual channels to stay connected. We used existing platforms, including Teams and Zoom.

Do you see vendors as business partners? Why/why not? Yes, our business partners are critical relationships. Every vendor is vetted to ensure they are a business and cultural fit before any engagement. They are valued as an extension of our team, which allows greater access to knowledge and resources to optimize processes and programs to inform decision-making and strengthen our business.

How have marketing strategies/tools changed over the past decade? How have you adapted? While there have been many changes during the past decade, the greatest change has really happened in the last 2 years. The advance of digital transformation throughout the restaurant industry has created new levels of accessibility and convenience for consumers. To be resilient, restaurants had to compete by quickly adapting to new consumer purchase behaviors by embracing new technology and profoundly shifting how they operate. While we adapted over the last few years, the personal connections in our restaurants and the experiences they serve every day with our guests continues to be vital. The way for our business to continue to transcend is to humanize our digital channels to a level mirroring personal experiences for the guests using those channels.

What advice would you offer to aspiring CMO executives? I like to think of the role of the CMO as the connection hub of the business. Your relationships with your customers, your franchisees, your teams, and your business partners are essential to thrive. To be successful, your ability to connect with others is core to fueling results. Personally, connecting together is how we can make a difference for our guests. After all, we serve the greatest food ever, pizza! Pizza makes everything better!

Published: April 12th, 2022

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