Technology Puts Focus Back into Marketing

June 10, 2008 // Franchising.com // - If you had asked Andy Howard of Wingstop just two years ago if he could have all marketing materials and programs in one centralized place and at the fingertips of franchise managers across the Wingstop system, he would have said "no way."

Wingstop marketing couldn't keep up with the requests coming in and Brand Partners (franchisees) were beginning to go to third party companies, costing the company money and compromising the Wingstop brand. On top of that, the creative team was being used for changing phone numbers and location addresses, not designing new creative. "The process was cumbersome and paper-heavy," Andy Howard, executive vice president of marketing, purchasing and research development for Wingstop Restaurants, said. "Requests were tracked and fulfilled using faxes, emails and phone calls. And we were losing creativity fast."

"In 2007, we embarked on a project to streamline how we communicated and delivered our marketing programs," Andy said. Now, in early 2008, Brand Partners order their marketing tactics 24/7 and Wingstop inventory is managed separately so that the marketing team spends less time on the administrative functions and more time thinking creatively.

A customized solution

As Wingstop's senior director of marketing , Marcia Harris-Daniel began to search for a solution using web portal technology, she realized they needed something customized, not a "canned" solution that most web portal firms offered. Their needs were simple: timely information to Brand Partners, and more time for the creative team to think creatively.

"We found that Century Marketing Solutions (CMS) offered an approach that met both needs and more," Marcia said. Because CMS offered a wide range of services, Wingstop could consolidate and streamline all marketing materials in one central place. As an added bonus, the portal provided reporting functionality – real-time reports and archives of current and past projects. "Solving the first two issues was paramount, but adding this functionality was a huge benefit," Marcia said.

"We look at a project from a total customer perspective, a totally customized package," Jeff Albritton, CMS vice president of sales and marketing, said. "We have found that more and more customers are looking for a total solution so that marketing execs can focus on their marketing priorities, and not the time-consuming tasks associated with facilitating marketing programs to multiple locations."

Wingstop implemented a web portal throughout their system of 350 store locations. This places all marketing tactics in one centralized location, and at their fingertips. Brand Partners can make requests anytime, day or night, and CMS handles the fulfillment and distribution to those markets.

Technology with a face

Because CMS is a full-service marketing company, its portal can facilitate everything from TV spots to refrigerator magnets and everything in-between. The result is a closed loop solution, or technology with a face. "It combines people and technology," Jeff said. "The outcome is the flexibility Wingstop needed." Brand Partners not only can order whenever and wherever they want, but they also have access to a real person to answer their questions and fulfill their marketing requests.

Maintaining the integrity of the brand

In the world of corporate marketing, if materials aren't available to field offices, those offices many times "make do" or improvise. While this is helpful in the moment, it also comes with a price: compromise of the company's brand.

"Because our information is now readily available through the web portal, collateral materials used in the field are consistent with the company brand and image," Marcia said. Brand partners and third party vendors don't have to waste precious time waiting on a call back from corporate marketing. And corporate marketing doesn't have to make the call to get the ball rolling on marketing materials.

"One-stop shopping has worked well for us," Andy said. "It's been a win-win – being responsive to our brand partners and allowing our marketing team to focus on marketing. And the added benefit is that our customers and communities see a more consistent image of Wingstop."

About Wingstop

Wingstop has more than 600 restaurants either open or under development in 28 states and consistently tops industry growth rankings. Wingstop is 125th on Entrepreneur's 2008 Franchise 500 list. The chain was also chosen Wing King at the 2006 National Buffalo Wing Festival. Troy Aikman, three-time Super Bowl champion and Hall of Fame quarterback, has served as the chain's national spokesman since 2003. Aikman extended his contract in 2006 for three years, as Wingstop has posted 19 consecutive quarters of comp store sales increases since the partnership.

About Century Marketing Solutions

Century Marketing Solutions is a full-service marketing company specializing in providing nationwide marketing support to companies with multiple points of presence, locations and franchises. CMS focuses on helping clients streamline and coordinate daily marketing tasks and communications between the corporate marketing teams and their locations/franchises. CMS offers advertising, production and interactive services allowing clients the flexibility to only use the services that best fit their needs. Visit us at www.centurymarketingsolutions.com.

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