Franchise Update Magazine Issue II, 2013 - Page 37

laborative effort that includes key stakeholders from finance, IT, merchandising, and our field teams who represent our owner base. It flows through a series of cross-functional meetings for annual planning, key seasons, and a regular biweekly meeting that addresses short-term (within 90 days) tactical implementation. How do you work with other internal departments, and how does technology help? Very closely. Our field leadership engages our franchisees surrounding our marketing events. Our merchant team builds offers and ads in close coordination with my creative team. We also work very closely with our operations team to ensure all of our promotions execute as planned when a customer is at the register. Technology plays a role in each of these relationships. How do you manage costs and budgets for the marketing department? We develop annual marketing budgets for each format and that budget is managed on a monthly and quarterly basis. Some portions are planned far in advance, while others may be used to react quickly to market factors. Throughout this process, attention is paid to storelevel investment to ensure that stores are equally supported. How do you measure marketing results and effectiveness? In three major ways. In all cases, it is effectiveness, as measured by a positive ROI on the marketing spend based on incremental profit generated by the efforts. On a large scale, we use complex multivariant models developed specifically for our business based on large amounts of store-level data. These models go well beyond marketing investments to address pricing, weather, macroeconomic factors, and a variety of other variables. This type of analysis takes a great deal of time and effort to complete but helps us answer some of the larger and more strategic questions. For shorter-term testing, we leverage the benefit of more than 1,200 physical locations by running test and control groups to better understand the impact of our actions. We measure every new thing we try. We are also able to leverage this approach with our franchisee base. We’ve run marketing tests in partnership with our franchisees and have been able to aggregate the results to show them the impact we saw nationally—which they would not be able to recognize in a few stores. With our ability to create large test and control groups, we are able to help our franchisees differentiate between response and results. The last type of analysis we do leverages customer-level data, which allows us to understand consumer reactions to various efforts by constructing test and control groups. How have marketing strategies/ tools changed over the past decade, and how have you adapted? The answer could be an entire book in itself. There have been major changes in media consumption and consumer technology in the last five years alone. To adapt, we are constantly testing and evaluating our marketing choices and using data to make decisions. However, the biggest change is that the control of the brand has irreversibly changed from the CMO to the customer. The experience happens at the store level and the customer is going to share that information instantly and permanently online. Customers trust other customers more than they trust the claims of companies. Today you can review a restaurant online before you pay your bill. It used to be believed that people would tell 10 people about a bad experience. Now a bad experience is posted instantly for everyone to see and these reviews are showing up in search. To adapt to this, we are paying close attention to the feedback we receive from our customers, not only through our surveys, but through ratings and reviews on sites like Yelp. How is technology changing the way franchise marketing is done in terms of efficiencies? We are le- veraging different technologies to allow local customization of national marketing assets. One of the largest benefits we saw from a new technology over the last 12 months was the ability for us to improve local discoverability in search for our brick-and-mortar locations. We initially partnered with Yext simply to make sure our basic information was correct on a variety of third-party publishers. It is extremely important to us that this data is correct to maximize local search. With half of consumers having GPSenabled smartphones, the importance of being discovered locally is growing. The concept of people going to your website to find your locations is going to have a shorter life than the Yellow Pages. It may not be sexy digital technology, but with estimates that 50 percent of all listings have an error in name, address, or phone number, it is necessary. This year we are taking that relationship with Yext to the next level with an increased focus on managing online reputation at the store level through a disciplined approach of monitoring customer reviews across a variety of site s. Are you using cloud technology or other tools regularly? How? We use cloud computing to manage the data in “Shop Your Way Rewards,” our loyalty program. We use it to append endless member information together from disparate sources. The more we collectively know about the member and store in the cloud, the better we can contrast and compare it with similar member behavior and identify what and when they want to hear from us. Cloudbased technology allows us to quickly slice and dice the information in many ways, forming meaningful and actionable member segments. This allows us to be more targeted and relevant in our interactions with the customer. How are you assisting your franchisees more quickly and efficiently? The best way for us to quickly react to the needs of our franchisees is to anticipate them. We are in close contact with our franchisees through our field leadership and interact with them directly on a regular basis as needs arise. We provide a wide variety of customizable assets for our franchisees, but we can’t anticipate every need. If a new need arises and is scalable across a sufficient number of our franchisees, we will look to solve it on an institutional level. n Franchiseupdate I ssue I I , 2013  35