Susan Boresow, CMO at Massage Envy, Discusses Franchisee Buy-In

As chief marketing officer for Massage Envy, Susan Boresow understands that engaging and supporting franchisees is imperative in getting them to buy in and play an active role in the brand's overall marketing efforts. Before joining Massage Envy, Boresow was vice president of marketing at Pump It Up and held marketing and leadership roles at Cold Stone Creamery, Godfather's Pizza, Mr. Goodcents Subs and Pastas, and McDonald's.

We asked Boresow about Massage Envy's strategy for building franchisee interest in marketing, the programs and support offered, and what techniques work for getting franchisees on board for the brand's marketing initiatives.

How important is local-level and grassroots marketing to Massage Envy's growth and development strategy?
Local store marketing is very important in our growth strategy. We provide our franchise partners the tools and resources they need to implement a local-level campaign that will attract new clients, drive membership enrollment, establish a strong referral network, and encourage member retention. Community involvement also is key to ensuring that people are aware of our services.

How do you get franchisees to truly, wholeheartedly buy in to the importance of local-level marketing?
Franchisees must be on board from the very beginning. We also must get their input along the way. This will ensure we are not only providing the resources and guidance they need, but also get a sense of their comfort level in implementing local store marketing strategies. The easier it is for the franchisees to implement, the more they are willing to use the tools we provide. We also have to demonstrate how these marketing strategies will grow their business, so they see the benefits of their effort.

Does the FAC offer a platform for engaging, encouraging, and supporting franchisees to get more involved?
Absolutely, our franchisee advisory council is a key sounding board for us and provides invaluable advice to fellow franchisees. They know better than anyone what the barriers might be and can help problem-solve. They are always willing to provide solid recommendations on how marketing at the local level can be made easier and what resources are necessary to facilitate the process.

How do you establish franchisor and franchisee roles when it comes to marketing and getting franchisees on board?
As the franchisor, our role is to provide the tools, resources, and education to help support our regional developers and franchisees. The franchisees play a role in that they pay a percentage of their revenues to support their co-op and marketing efforts nationally and locally. Nationally, 1 percent is spent on national advertising, marketing, public relations, and social media to drive and promote the brand; locally, the franchisees spend their dollars on co-op advertising and local store marketing.

Discuss the importance of creating programs that are easy to implement.
We have tried to provide as many educational and marketing materials as possible, with step-by-step instruction for implementing the various programs. Our strategy is to offer a comprehensive selection of materials for our franchisees. In addition, we've increased the frequency of webinars and online tutorials, as well as opportunities to share best practices. Some franchisees may not need this level of support, but for those who do we want to make it readily and easily accessible. We want to provide tools and resources that the franchisee will use consistently and are continually fine-tuning our programs to ensure the greatest ROI for our franchisees, their guests, and the brand.

The complete interview, which appeared in the third quarter issue of Franchise Update magazine, is available online.

Published: November 16th, 2011

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