Underdog Advantage: Elevating Emerging Brands in a Competitive Arena

all right I think I think we should just uh kick it off I mean we we have a recording of This webinar so everyone who joins a bit later have a chance to uh to catch up later uh doing the recording so I want to welcome everyone of course our esteemed uh panelists and everyone who uh who found time to join uh to join our panel discussion and I want to introduce myself really really short my name is Max piterski I'm a co-founder of prom public one platform for uh one marketing platform for franchise growth I'm also co-founder of Seymour peer talks uh SE more peer talks uh community that um that is in uh that organiz Co organizes uh this event together with Zen forum and uh we all know it's number one uh Community for for Fearless Innovative franchise marketers so our our idea was always not only to help uh to help franchises grow with with the technology with Innovation but also providing a uh a safe space and a friendly space where uh where franchise marketers can share uh freely their uh their their questions and uh their experiences with each other so so the whole process of growing uh growing franchise Brands especially emerging franchise Brands doesn't feel uh so they don't feel themselves so so lonely in in in doing that and of course we uh we want to support each other in those in those challenges and overall franchise space is is a special one we we like to work uh with the real people not between but not just between companies and it's all about relationships and uh and informal connections so we're really happy to have a chance to contribute and to facilitate those amazing discussions and knowledge share among uh among franchise marketers and uh yeah I want to introduce my uh my friend and teammate Alex who will say some uh some words about about the uh about promo Republic and after that we will jump right into the introductions of our esteem esteemed panelists so Alex the stage is yours perfect Max thank you so much for opening that up hello and it's great to see so many familiar faces and new faces joining in today thank you so much for investing some time out of your day to connect for another exciting session of CMO peer talks for those who have yet to personally meet me my name is Alex Harbin off and I'm the local marketing Tech expert here at promo Republic for those who are unfamiliar with promo Republic we are the one marketing platform for your franchise growth ultimately we help Brands grow revenue for each franchisee by increasing their local reach and visibility across search and social while consolidating critical workflows across social media marketing review management local ranking tracking and analytics all within one intuitive platform I will share my LinkedIn in the zoom chat shortly and I look forward to getting acquainted with everyone thank you for your attention I'll be passing the mic back over to our fantastic host Max my personal Mentor CEO and co-founder of promo Republic wow Alex thank you that was the perfect speech thanks a lot for for Hing that yes so that that that was so great thanks for thanks for that that in introduction and setting the level of of uh of yeah speaker performance yeah so um um let me so today we are talking about um everything emerging uh emerging franchise Brands and uh in an extremely competitive Arena and I mean like franchise companies and the ones who who started and franchisees they're all uh they're all of course enterpreneurs and uh being an enterpreneur is a very special role and very special Mission there are not that many people on this planet that are entrepreneurs I think around seven or 10% of the whole population I've seen some studies and why is that because it's super risky I mean there the success ratio of Entrepreneurship is is is pretty low however good news franchising and the model of franchise the risks um entrepreneurship in a in a substantial way uh and also a technology is is is doing that so so our goal here and our mission is to to actually make uh make uh make sure entrepreneurs in in franchise have have have less risk and uh and that's what we are uh we're talking about about uh about today on on on this panel discussion and uh now to the most uh exciting and interesting part so finally uh I give the word to to our co-organizer Eric Myers so please introduce zor Forum thanks a lot for Co organizing this panel discussion and please also introduce yourself well thank you so much Max I really appreciate it uh my name is Eric Mayers I'm the chief marketing officer of zor forum uh zor forum is a collection if you will or a community of Mastermind groups uh peer support groups specifically for emerging franchisors uh we work with the lead leaders of those franchises the uh Founders the co-founders the sea Suite um and help them come together and and navigate through this this what we call the zor path right uh the path that we're all on in franchising so um man I'm so happy to to partner with with you Max and and with the entire team uh to be able to serve emerging franchise or specifically marketers um man we're we're we're so passionate about um this mission that we're on and being in the same business model utilizing this model which is franchising to be able to go to market and to be able to uh make an impact on greater and greater number of of numbers of people that's what this is all about so it it's really awesome to be in the room uh with other marketers uh being able to share some of the insights that we've uh been able to to glean over the years um hardfought wisdom you know uh it doesn't come easy to any of us um so I mean you you have to learn and you have to learn by experience and you have to learn quickly uh or else you you multiply those mistakes so thank you so much uh for for having me here Max and uh I look forward to the discussion today yeah yeah absolutely learning quickly and learning together is the quickest way of of doing it in the Forum style PE groups that that you guys organized thank you very much for this introduction uh Brenda the stage is yours please tell us some words about yourself and uh and Li Bridge Academy so I have been with uh lightbridge Academy for I guess going on 18 years which is an entire lifetime for some I suspect I think I have 18 years of mistakes to share um which in truth you know is some of the most valuable information uh we are we started out as a um an eight8 Center family network of child care centers and we are now up to 80 open with over a 100 additional centers um in some form of development uh so uh we certainly are reaching another Tipping Point and another scale um so thank you for having me today yeah thanks a lot for joining thanks a lot for joining that's exciting uh us please introduce yourself as well sure um I've I've been I come to franchising really from the marketing side I started out as in my first franchise company show homes home staging as as the CMO like as an owner CMO So and I've run agencies but I'm a real franchise junkie I love emerging franchising I'm a franchisor of three brands I've done nine in my career um uh you know and I really like approach my brands from a marketing perspective so marketing is everything we do it's support it's training it's how you acquire customers it's how you build brand like I think if you're going to be in the emerging space and you know we've we're up to 65 units in the first year so it's um open so it's um you know and it's marketing is how we got there you know so um this is a topic I'm all about like I love competition I'm not scared of competition I think that's awesome you know I think that's where you make money in franchising it's going into a competitive space yeah yeah Sims competition drives you indeed because as far as I know like those units that you were you managing were like leading the performance in those FR franchise organizations so yeah there is something you know about about competing uh and and and winning actually and gaining gaining success in there thanks for thanks for joining yeah just not being afraid of don't I mean that's the people are so afraid of competition I think that just this opportunity to scale like a you that just means there's demand for what you're doing and you should take advantage exactly yeah it's a prove that something what what you're doing is is needed right so and sometimes you can even look at competitors as as partners so uh yeah so here's a here's a short overview of of what uh what specific topics we're going to tackle today during the panel uh panel discussion so so you know what to expect and we're gonna end with a breakout room so we can also discuss into in smaller groups um the learnings and maybe some uh some additional questions together together with the panelists and among each other and uh we're going to kick off with the with the first uh with the first question of course it's it's an elephant in the room okay so we're uh we're merging franchise and and there are those bigger guys which are more known they have uh more more awareness they have more resources they have it seems like they have more of everything they are better in every every single thing but is it actually true so is there is there any leverage that emerging franchises are are having um compared with the bigger ones established ones so uh maybe maybe we'll start with uh with you with you Thomas uh what what do you think how would you answer that I think um emerging brands have significant leverage over bigger Brands and you know the business Axiom is the you know the Pioneers get slaughtered and the settlers the people that come after are the ones that really Prosper I think I found that to be true in my franchise career and I was a franchisee of a company called just love coffee I'm I'm a coffee guy and I love running coffee shops that's my kind of hobby on the side as an entrepreneur and we would always put our coffee shops across the street from Starbucks I literally wanted to be able to see a Starbucks out my front window and people like why would you do that that sounds like really ballsy like who what crazy idea is that and what happens is if you differentiate from Starbucks if you take the time as a marketer to understand what they're doing and what they're not doing and understand the opportunities you can actually take 10% of the Starbucks business which is great operations performance for a typical coffee shop and we just relished in that you know if you're in the line at Starbucks you'd come in my Cafe and it was a nice hangout space with cool music and nice you know a little bit of food and you could have a normal business meeting and we even got Swanky about it and put um Starbucks mugs um in the bathrooms with the toilet brush and the Starbucks mugs just to Bey about it but you know what I think what the nimble what a small brand can do and you mentioned it is a small brand is Nimble yeah like you can start with a a market research and mystery shops and you can literally understand and my up closets brand you know we we compete head-to-head against California closets and closet Factory and closet by Design and tlor you all the big players um and we do very very well in the markets we're in because we do what they don't do it's not that we're disruptor we're just different and so like if there are things that they're weak at we can we can take advantage of those and integrated it into our marketing and for something as simple as targeting an under kind of utilized Market segment you know we go after wire shelf customers on the low end a lot of times you know like the we call it the closet of Shame like the Builder grade house that has like the wire shelves in the closet um and maybe that's A2 to $4,000 closet project that's for cl California Closets is their bottom end job but that's a really profitable job for us so we we just maximize resources on that and I just think you can adapt in in emerging brand so much faster you don't have all the Legacy kind of holding you down and infrastructure and you can just be a lot more Nimble so that that's how I go at it and I just think I look where there's Market penetration like who has business who's doing well and you just like the Starbucks story you can there's always always room for a better operator doing something different and marketing is how you accomplish that for me wow that's that's really interesting and I really like that you emphasize not copying but rather discovering as fast as possible what they're not doing or doing not so good and doing exactly that here's a here's a really good example from today actually like you know we do a lot of paid search like everybody on the planet does and a lot if you read the closet journals for the industry a lot of our customers are targeting Baby Boomers and older Gen X buyers because the perception is that older buyers have more money and spend more on their houses well the bulk of our customers is late 20s to early 40s they're in the totally different demographic and we target them because they're not targeted as much as the other ones not that there's not business in the established part there just is a group of people under 45 that communicate very different you know they don't like to use the phone they don't want to fill out a form they don't want somebody to sell them in their I mean it's just a different customer or the different customer behavior and you you can be different and through marketing Target that customer and be very successful and so I like you know for me as a franchisor we're a little extreme in franchising I think it's fun to take over the universe and do that kind of stuff Even in our industry we all get along we all know each other it's not like I know every closet person in in the you the industry we all kind of joke about it but you know I'm I'm like really like a street marketer I like to go after the the stuff that's lwh hanged nice interesting yeah thanks for those insights Brenda what's your what's your view on that yeah I love what Thomas said I think he's he's right on point you know um agility uh is is certainly something that a an emerging brand brand has um you can seize the opportunity uh with speed and speed is on your side so you can go to market with things so much quicker than than a larger brand so when you see an opportunity you can move on it and you can seize that opportunity um and like uh Thomas was saying uh you know about pioneers and settlers if others have been Pioneers you can come in as the settler and do it better than what uh they had launched into the marketplace so you don't always have to be coming up with the best idea you can just execute it you know I think um I forget who said it but it was something about you know a a poor plan well executed will always outperform uh I mean a a a well-executed plan will always outperform you know a fabulous uh uh plan the execution is key um also uh you know if you have a smaller system you can get systemwide compliance on something so you can leverage it as a brand uh where a larger brand might not be able to roll things out systemwide and might not be able to leverage it on a brand level um you know you can do that when you have a smaller emerging franchise uh an example of that is um when a lot of child care centers got shut down we really use that time during co uh we use that time to say how can we enter the market stronger how can we be the go-to child care Center that parents feel confident and comfortable with and so systemwide we implemented and installed um air purification and filtration systems which were uh in in the HVAC system it wasn't just something that was getting wheeled room to room or sprayed on something it was systemwide and so we were able to leverage that and Market that uh on a on a brand level and that was extremely powerful for us and um you know go where they're sold at out you know often the more mature brands are sold out in certain markets and uh you know we're never afraid of competition to what Thomas said um you know when you're a bold marketer um and in order to be in an emerging brand you have to be bold um and if you can go into those markets where they're sold out uh you know the it's it's lwh hanging fruit so I'm all about that lwh hanging fruit yeah me too no that's uh that's really interesting I really like the point about about the speed so that that advantage that the smaller players have because like bigger guys they just have those processes that are historically there and let's do that as oh my God we never did it that way let's not do it that way so also like in the in the culture uh that that makes it harder to to change quickly and and of course the the emerging ones I really like the point yeah Eric you have it hardest so there are there were a lot of things mentioned already sry about that you know what I I agree with what both Brenda and Thomas said it it's really easier to travel a road that's paved than to chop your way through the jungle right so you know being being that uh that settler if you will uh you're able to take a look at uh what the other brands have have done have done successfully uh where they've positioned themselves they've done the market research right they well why spend a bunch of money on Market research when that research has already been done to identify what location what Market works you know you're able to you're able to piggyback off of some of that data that's already there already existing instead of having to create your own and create new um so and I'll take that even digital on the digital thing you you're able to actually use you know software and technology different things like similar web to be able to take a look at what markets they're going after what keywords they're going after how to be able to identify uh again the green space that exists in those market right there's a lot of digital Green Space uh that have not been taken advantage of just yet and now you can insert yourself into that particular place and carve out that market sh share right you're able to carve out and make your name to that particular Market you know things are a lot different than they were uh back in the day like everything was so uh manual right and you know bigger companies could block out the sun um with with putting pouring a bunch of money into major media well now again because the market has changed you can go into those places that they're not the YouTubes and the the Tik Tock and the you know you've got all of these different platforms where you're able to speak to this new market uh and you know even a smaller company can block out the sun right on some of these plat forms utilizing new technology yeah yeah I I I totally agree so being a first mover is so hard I mean you have to discover everything you have to take um test everything everything yourself and here like if you if you're already behind those big guys that did the hard work it's like you know the cyclist that is going after the car you know so there's not so much resistance you have from the air so if you follow but but still identify something that the bigger guys are not doing that makes life uh life easier increases the chances of um of success but if um moving to the next um question so uh uh now more more precise like targeting the the marketing uh process because I mean marketing is is a nice word but it's a universe in itself so a lot of things can be done uh that are part of marketing and and of course being an emerging franchise you don't have all the resources of this world right it's just the opposite so it's all about being laser focus on something that will give you most of the results so what do you think should be number one uh number one uh priority so maybe um maybe let's start with with Brenda this time so would you like to share your your view on on what you would take as a priority given your experience start something now sure so first you know you've got to make sure that you really have a strong brand identity and uh it's something that's you know well built out uh so that you know you you're able to communicate that and replicate that um to each one of your franchises right so if you don't have a clear identity uh that's that's consistent and well communicated um then you're not your franchisees aren't going to be able to follow that replicate that leverage that right so you definitely need to make sure that that Foundation is in place um you know being in a service based business that is a trust-based business Child Care um your reputation and that customer experience is number one um for me you really have to prioritize that that customer experience whether it's uh you know through positive reviews referrals this is a trust-based business so uh you know when you look at 90s some odd percent very high 90s of of families that will go online and read reviews first right um so building that reputation building that uh referral based business is the cheapest form of advertising um and we'll give you some uh some really strong uh momentum um certainly in a market and then you know there's all the being found online um you know your online presence and and everyone knows that if you can't be found online uh you know it's a you're it's a race to the bottom so um I would name those as as three top priorities yeah yeah no that's uh uh that's very interesting because you touch two most important things uh valuable things like a brand I mean that's actually what franchise is is is is selling for both franchisees and for customers so so that that's one of the most valuable assets and online visibility and online kind of yeah it's actually online visibility is also an asset so you have to build it with the time and it doesn't disappear if you pull out the budget right all these positive reviews will stay online and they will uh support your search ranks and they will they will give this basic credibility of course it doesn't seem that it's so important because it doesn't give you immediate conversion into customer but without having those things in place like clear brand clear positioning and and nice uh differentiation clear differentiation yeah exactly yeah yeah so so that that that's also very important and without that it's better until that is nailed don't don't scale right so that's your point yeah that's great Eric do you want to continue absolutely absolutely so I mean this this question it's a tricky question right because um you know as far as the marketing journey is concerned right or really the franchise Journey we're we're all in a different place right so our number one priority may be different based on where we currently are and what we've already uh put in place what we've attempted so you know to be able to say oh here's number one for you um that would be a difficult thing right um I really believe that Marketing in and of itself uh is about relationships right it's relation ship plus value okay and along this this journey we're getting people to know us like us trust us try by repeat and refer right that's the journey that we're taking them on so we need to make it easy for them to find us as Brenda said uh easy for them to like us right and and and get to know us and then easy for them to give us a try and do business with us so across that Journey the question is um you know your number one priority would be okay well what area am I experiencing the most friction inside of this business right have have we been able to identify that do we have all of our tranches in place you know how are how are people getting to know us do we have enough of our ideal client getting to know us is it the right Market that is getting to know us and then from there right do we have the right messaging and I feel like this is the part if I would say any number one priority is the messaging and getting the messaging right you know so whereas Brenda you know was saying you know the brand like I would say your story and many of the brands that I've encountered and I've worked with they build their story around their product they build their story around their you know uh what they want to do but they don't build it around their Market they don't build it around the people that they're serving and ultimately it's their story we're helping them to accomplish something with our product or with our service or with our solution I don't care if we're selling coffee or or installing closets or taking care of kids or you know whatever it is that we're doing we're helping someone else and there is a person on the other side of every transaction that we're helping right so the question is is is our marketing message clear right is the story set up to where we're taking this person on the on the right Journey are we helping them them to accomplish something right helping them to avoid uh danger and accomplish what they want to accomplish right uh it it is the customer's story so have you built that out and is it clear yeah oh that's great uh that's great Insight like more systematic and what what I really liked is that you talked about the whole journey so you can have like a great visibility and great brand but then and everyone who discovers you has the trust immediately and then they try to like I don't know schedule like a test lesson for example or something and nothing works and you you you just lost your customer to your competitor so you need to really think of it until the the actual like customer success or so like the point where where they not only discovered your product but also experienced it and uh and got the the essence of of the value from the product or from the service and that's important to have at least basic good enough uh um good enough experience through throughout the experience good good enough everything yeah for sure if you're not measuring this stuff right if if you don't have a a system of measurement in place then you're doing it wrong because if you can't measure it you can't manage it if you can't manage it you can't maximize it or minimize it so whatever in all of these specific aspects of your business are you measuring it right and do you have a system in place for you to get the real stats the real data because ultimately if you're not marketing utilizing this data um again you're at a severe disadvantage you know in in in again being more agile and approaching the business in a way that is streamlined as an emerging brand you don't have a war chest that can match up to your competitors for the most part right so you have to be so precise well the only way to be precise is to actually measure all of the the method the methods that you use right and then from there you don't just measure them right you have to manage them from there wisely so in that yeah I I do feel like it'll put us in a position where we can be again a lot more effective than our counterparts that may be at a company with a larger budget yeah yeah so bad news for franchise marketers in of the emerging franchise you have to have everything in place at a at a good enough level so it's not enough to to focus on only one thing it's it's the system that you need to have in place and uh yeah how to make it work Thomas what's your take on on the priorities what's your probably come out a little differently it is I think the number one priority if it when it comes to marketing an emerging and an emerging system by definition isn't going to have the brand Equity it's not going to have the brand awareness you're not going to start on day one in most markets you're just new to get into a system with 10 units like you have some really heavy lifting so for me the number one priority is how do I build momentum for a franchisee through um tactics and strategies that generate leads that are trackable that we can say you need to spend 18 to 25% of your projected revenue on a marketing Playbook and here's our dashboard and this is what the predictable outcome is and we just have to make sure that every dollar is accounted for and we can track that back to a customer and we have to have leads and strategies and tactics and playbooks that allow us to um not just emulate the big competitors that we have because we can't just copy what a competitor does they have like a major Head Start like that's a waste of resources you have to be creative and come to Market with strategies that are different that Target different customers that do things that are underutilized by your competitors to find pockets of opportunity where you can get a measurable return and create that momentum because you live and die off of momentum at the emerging level like if you don't have people that have outperforming marketing and and a lot of ways you have to be a better marketer at emerging than a mature brand mature brand can get away the lot of Slough and sloppiness that at emerging brand you'll lose owners just flat out like you so me it's all about momentum and proving out the model on the marketing side and making sure you have measurements and transparency to data and you know our field support people are half marketing people like you like there's really no difference in coaching and marketing anymore it's all unified and we use data box for dashboards to your point like I'm a big data person and I think you guys and we use data to explain things we try not to have anecdotal emotional conversations about what because you know a franchisee will say well I spent too much on Facebook and I didn't get anything and they're thinking about the last two conversations they had with a you know they make it a global asserson but you just have to kind of keep it real with what the data is really saying and make sure you have transparency to Performance across all the units so you can see as an owner what's going on but you know that again of gets back to the same thing with being different like you know we use tactics and strategies our brands that are distinctly different now my dry vent brand I compete against the neighborly brand as my top competitor in most markets and we run circles around them but we don't come across the same customers they have a more of a legacy integrated digital marketing approach with paid search and SEO and the normal stuff we do some of that but for the most part 80% of our marketing is differentiated from there so we just get into different customer groups and we do well because of that so I think we got to get that momentum going like if you can't get traction right off the bat you're going to lose people and in an emerging system you have to Larger than Life and louder than that you know you just have to make a name for yourself on the marketing front so that's the what I think about it at least no that's great I really love your systematic approach and of course yeah you have to put a system in place but you don't know whether it's the best one when you started right so you and you cannot improve something that you don't measure so you have to measure everything and then you you start improving and differentiating your marketing channels from from the guys and then it starts to work right yeah one just quick kind of related point to that is um I don't think you should experiment with franchisee money if you're an emerging like don't say hey here's a new vendor try this guys like don't do that like says a franchise or in the emerging and chalk it up to your operating but have a budget for pilot marketing money and try it out and pay for it for the franchisees I found that when I do that um that's where we get our best results and if I'm paying for it I can have full control over and make sure it's not implemented incorrectly um and then or I sometimes ask for volunteers like I'm going to try this I'm going to subsidize a portion of it who wants to jump in this pilot group and try it that way you're inviting people in they're signing up for something that has potential knowing that it's not proven and I think when you do that you earn a lot more respect and Trust in your franchise system because they don't all work out you know Marketing in the Home Services space is is tough that's not an easy space to Market in there's a lot of competition for dollars there's a lot of tactics and strategies and you got to be really aggressive so um just making sure that you can build measurable documented momentum and that your clear data like you know if you have momentum you'll grow in a even in a crowded space you'll grow if you can fill a truck schedule or get enough consultations for closets or whatever it is you're doing um you know get enough signups for a gym or get enough students for for um Education Center or sell enough coffee you know you'll win you'll win the day even in a competitive market but you can't do it without momentum got to have momentum yeah I feel like there's a lot of experience behind behind this advice yeah so and uh yeah many many things learned learned the hard way and uh yeah and we've talked about a lot a lot of things and and um and of course uh like as you as you scale as you grow it becomes uh more and more uh challenging to uh to stream streamline marketing effort so what what what are your tips on how to make it work for for emerging franchises with limited efforts so Eric maybe we'll start uh we'll start addressing this question with you so you know I I guess I'll I'll start off um like i' I've been a fractional CMO for for several different brands uh the last one uh was a brand called kiddo kinetics and um when I when I got into Kido kinetics the first thing I did is kind of audit all of the systems audit you know all of our uh franchisees um take a look at you know the whole and what we had was what I would call like that Frankenstein system right we would Cobble together all of these different Technologies and try to put them together to serve our market and how can I put this in the most simple way uh complexity doesn't scale it's it's it's it's really difficult and from a franchise perspective everything that we do has to be has to pass the scale test yes everything that we do has to otherwise you are scaling problems so we can come in and what what worked when we were uh you know a a single business right uh that served a local Marketplace may not necessarily be as effective as you begin to scale and you have to be honest with yourself and you know you also have to make sure that you have you know regular checkpoints inside of your business where you you say well is the technology that we're using today the systems that we're using today the processes that we're using today are they still effective after we've moved past this particular inflection point we've gotten to this particular number of franchises does it still work right and you know often it's really difficult while you are inside of the business working inside of the business to work on the business and you have to take a little time to do that right to pull yourself out and be able to look at it from a top- down perspective and say well is this working are these processes still effective uh are these systems still effective are they scalable when we get to a 100 units will this still work um with that said um you know the answer to that in many cases are is no it it won't still work um so you have to begin to put a plan in place and I I'll tell you change change management it you know in a corporation it's difficult in a franchise you know you know that difficulty seems to to uh accelerate astronomically so you have to put a change management plan in place and think about all of the different stakeholders that you are going to to work with making sure they're all in the loop making sure that they understand making sure as Thomas said before you have a a group of franchisees or even you know your local stores that you're testing this on before you implement it and roll it out to everyone else um change management is is is difficult but it is necessary and you know I do feel like from a marketing uh function if you will um it often falls on our shoulders to create a communication plan right to communicate to all of our stakeholders and making sure that they're aware of the changes that we're making to streamline and to be more effective um you want to make sure that again your your um your coaches are fully aware right of how to utilize the software and the technology right how to be able to communicate that to the franchisees and to their staff right there I I think that this particular um you know streamlining marketing processes and whatnot you know it it is really dependent on making sure that you get the right systems out of the gate and then from there right as you are making those transitions you are communicating effectively got you does technology help to streamline stuff so what's your take on uh on auto ating some of the things that work is it part of your scalability uh test and approach I mean for sure I mean again we we when when you're creating your marketing plan you know all of the things that you want to make happen right and now you go out and I I don't know if have have you all seen like this big um there's a map that shows all of the marketing technology that's out there oh yeah I know that it it just shows all of these things and it's like what are you knew when you were a marketer and you're trying to figure out your way around this and identify what the right right technology to put in place um it's really great if you have that experience if you've worked with other brands uh if you've worked with technology that you know gets the job done um you know again this particular uh issue is a Styles make fights type of thing you know not every technology fits every company you have to evaluate it you have to test it out and then you have to make sure that it's going to work for you and for this particular brand in the long term yeah yeah so you need to figure out your your perfect tax stack for that specific business totally agree uh Tom what do you think how what what are your practical tips because it seems like your advice is really practical yeah because I'm down in the trenches dealing with yes yes you know I think I have five tips that are all kind of related number one is start by mapping out your customer Journey now for an emerging person for for a mature brand you've already got this typically you would already have some of this work done but take a minute and map the customer Journey out and map every function that might happen at every step because you what you'll find if you're using a modern CRM we use work use as our kind of platform but any good CRM has it today is there's all this opportunity for sales automation which is my step number two is automate the heck out of anything you can automate like customer reviews follow-ups like you like sales automation is so common place today and it's it's Baseline technology stack stuff and you don't have to have a huge budget to do it worky is got the most amazing sales automation tools I've ever seen like we automate a ridiculous amount of stuff in our business you know if you could take a franchisee and automate 80% of the manual stuff that they forget to do 100% of the time you're going to win most of the time you know just by using sales so that's my number two number three is communication I think you know we use um we we used Gmail for our corporate Gmail we kind of adopted the the Google Chat and Google spaces tools which I had never used their slack Alternatives if you're a slack person we were using Facebook groups and the integrated Google Chat is just really effective it sends push notifications and so we talk about I got two notifications while I've been on this podcast about up closets people that did networking wins and got some big closet deals we just we try to celebrate wins and be vocal when we have wins and point back to what they did to get to the in and so this constant communication of positive reinforcement of the marketing plans and the playbooks and those kinds of things um you know I I think that having a Playbook and um and making sure that people have processes to follow and that it's both in writing that you have videos that you have marketing plans and that you're meeting with them on a regular basis you know my we have a marketing meeting we go over your dashboard and your marketing plan we look at your results we try to help you understand your own data like that's it's not given that a franchisee can look at a marketing data dashboard and a data report and a marketing plan they don't they just don't know and they bought a franchise because they were looking for that kind of help and support um for sure and then the LA the last one is just you know I brought it up earlier is just having people who are um experienced and interested in marketing get them in a group and do quarterly or twice a year Summits where it's like okay look that's just all look at our data and brainstorm for a day what we see any patterns is there anything missing we need not just like the fancy stuff that I want but like hey look you know and I'll give you an example we were doing paid search for our Dy Min business which also does a little bit of light residential duck cleaning HVAC or duck cleaning in homes mostly and one of the kind of word groups and the paid search campaigns that really jumped out to me was um the word air conditioner cleaning which is not a normal word for duck cleaning like that's not something in the industry we don't talk about air conditioner cleaning but a significant amount of customers that's human language and we realized that if we shifted a big part of our budget to that ad group it performed five times as much as the normal stuff and was way less competitive so you just have to have groups that kind of analyze that stuff and involve the franchisees and give them a seat at the table they love that stuff and they learn about it and it's part of their professional development plan for them is to help them become marketers themselves so those are my five steps I don't know if that answers the question but I'm all about it does it does in five in five different ways and complimentary ways so that was really great and especially I love the part with how do you centralize your and streamline your marketing when like franchisees are not really marketers so they they're entrepreneurs but often wise they're not they're not pros and the marketing competence is Con concentrated at the franchisor level so it's in the franchisor hands to automate it for them I mean and there is of course technology out there all the all the prom republics and other guys that are kind of with the tag they're turning actually non-m marketers to marketers so you if you have a technology that automates uh enough of it enough of the local marketing and I think with the Gen it's more and more with every with every month uh I mean because like local marketing I mean in a franchise like marketing efforts on the local level are pretty much repe repetitive stuff stuff so repetitive stuff stuff that you just have to do like a numbers game and I think a lot of going to be a good example would be like a in our the way we do Google reviews so we send out automated text and email marketing at the end of when he close the ticket out the customer just gets a series of lead nurturing things the email the text or email comes with a picture of the franchisee and it's Dynamic it has the name of the customer on the wall but the franchise it's an automated thing it says Jane at the top Jane Smith and it says hey Jane you know thanks for choosing up closets we're really you know that's a competitive space we're glad you chose us we're thankful you had us in your house and you know when we get five star reviews we donate to harvest America to feed the Homeless and you know here's the link yeah we get like a ridiculous amount of reviews and then I have a vendor that comes back and answers the reviews and creates infographics with the review content posted on Facebook and then Google you know we just all that's automated like for sure a could ask him but if you really want to create momentum in a small emerging brand create um review velocity on your GMP and you you'll like you'll kill your competition you'll get in the three stack really quickly but the average franchisee can't do that it's not realistic to expect them to do that like just that that technolog is out there it's not expensive just for god sakes like make think about those things yeah as much as we would love them to you know love to say teaching them to be marketers I think it's much better to automate as much of the marketing as you can because a lot of them don't want to be marketers they really want you to do it for them right they got into the business that they got into either because they're technicians and by the way I hired someone to clean my air conditioning unit outside my house so that might have been me Googling you um but um but I definitely think that you know that automation certainly is key uh you know what Eric said about complexity doesn't scale is is absolutely true so whatever autom automation you can put in place uh with all those best practices um is going to increase your CH chance of getting that uh momentum anything that you are asking them to do once you should do it yourself as a franchise or you should do it for them if you're asking them to do it repeatedly then you need to have training and support all around that right but sometimes you spend too much time training them on something that they have to do once during the launch period and that should be taken right off their plate um so I think that that's that's key because sometimes they're struggling with things that they don't need to struggle with and you know we we created a data Lake um the longer you're around the more complexity that can seep into your business and so um you know we're constantly on a yearly basis reviewing all of our technology all of our technology stack and saying you know is this scaling you know do they have plans to scale and can they continue to scale with us or do we need to change things up and getting all that uh data to flow into a lb so that we can use our bi tool and slice and dice it and that the onus isn't on necessarily every individual vendor but that we have the data that we need to be able to look at uh and and to be able to to grow you know so uh you know everything everybody had said about plans and support and we have quarterly marketing huddles that were sharing best practices we're highlighting franchisee successes um it's it it's all important y yeah thanks a lot thanks a lot these are these are great uh great insights and yeah so I mean I I always have this vision of how to make it how to auto automate almost like 100% of it for for franchisees that and and even have enough data on the performance of the automated marketing platform that you can even promise them some amount of customers um just based on the data of the performance of your digital um like of your of your marketing software that you are using that that automates some of the stuff so that could be kind of an additional value proposition uh when we're talking franchise uh franchise development and U and uh yeah we already like started the topic of franchise development that's another part so not only you have to Market to to get more customers you also need to get more franchises on board right so it's like uh double double challenge for for franchise marketers and of course there is franchise development as a separate uh team and and uh um and separate process but of course marketing influences the success of franchise development a lot so what what do you think what are the innovative ways that can be can be used to make sure the emerging franchises emerges as fast as possible so so that the amount of the uh of the frises joining grow exponentially yeah that so may yeah maybe brand you can start sorry I jumped right in there um your referrals from your existing franchisees are key you know uh we have worked very hard to establish strong uh relationships with our franchisees uh you know we recently won a a franchisee satisfaction award um 40% of our our our leads were coming through from our franchisees referring other people to our business so um you're not going to validate and you're not going to sell if your existing franchisees aren't saying great things about you and about the everything that you provide so um certainly I would always I always start with the quality of what you're offering um the as far as innovative ways I mean we have a dedicated marketer for our friend Dev uh efforts they are integrated within our franchise team but I think that having somebody that is uh really um solely dedicated to franchise development efforts is important because it's very different and some of the strategies are very different and you see in a lot of uh franchise systems that that it's just the marketing team and and everything's kind of fragmented and it's hard to get momentum that way I think um so I I definitely would advocate for somebody that's that's dedicated uh to that um and you know it sounds rudimentary but in uh the franchise development space and agency space really having goal set for what outcomes and expectations uh you're you're expecting to receive from that agency relationship or from whatever effort that you're putting forth um and I think that that is uh extremely important and often um they we don't start with the end in mind so I think we have to hold everybody to to the same um bar that we're held to with our boards or whomever you report to um and getting their partnership is key yeah thanks a lot uh Tom do you want to add to to franchise develop challenges and how to solve them yeah I would agree I've spent a lot of time in thean Dev kind of Universe um franchise marketing for for recruiting franchises is much harder than consumer marketing and that I would agree right off the bat like please get some outside help for that that is a highly specialized Endeavor it it is very counterintuitive from normal consumer marketing if you're a consumer marketer and that's how you view the world you're going to I've just seen you know 90% fail rates on those when internal teams just don't see that work very often my advice for emerging people would be a couple of things one is start with understand that there's more than one way to recruit franchisees and I I have my development bucket into divided into three distinct strategies one is organic non broker which is stuff through the website I do a lot of um user generated video I'm a video guys so I do a lot of videos every day you know I sold a franchise off of Tik Tok I've done one off of Instagram this year I've um done them off of LinkedIn you know I got I'm I'm out there every day with content talking about my Brands and what I do and I get leads that way feel like that kind of works for me and I think that's a big heavy part but organic you need a separate recruiting website you need to tell your story you need to answer common questions it needs to be medy enough that somebody can read for half an hour and understand what you're all about and see videos um that's things like paid search Facebook social commerce some portals just the normal organic kind of swath of stuff budget for that is anywhere from four to 10 grand a month like if you can't budget that much you're just not going to hit any reasonable num so just know that on the organic side there is a cost to get into that and you have to do it for a long time it's not a start and stop Endeavor like you got to create visibility people are in orbit around buying a franchise for sometimes two years and you just got to got to get in Orbit with them you know and be visible the the second bucket and there are really 30 3030 there are third buckets the second bucket is just the traditional broker Network trying to get some kind of foothold into the broker Community if if you're an emerging particularly service brand that's a hot concept for the and that's really hard so finding some picking one broker group I wouldn't go more than one and trying to go deep with some individual bro try to get three or four brokers who believe in you fly them in to see you go see them call them every week you know like build a deep relationship with a very small number of franchise Brokers and try to get deals done with them those are nice because you don't have as much ongoing cost and but how much higher cost per deal but no outl of cash and then the Third Way is just creative Talent recruiting like I recruit students from um entrepreneurship schools and I look for people that are converting the like I love um Jin franchisees like a 30% of my franchises are under 28 and they make up 60% of my top performers and I'll take everyone I can get if you don't want them send them to me like I got a whole system for those guys and I just they're fearless and I love recruiting them but you know I have special incentives for them like I you know sometimes I wave a big chunk of the franchise fee because I got somebody with skills and passion um you know just don't think that but just looking for people who are in the space in the closet space I look for home organizers people who have an existing home organizing business and a market I want to expand to and we have a conversion deal for them or somebody who's got an HVAC business and wants to get into the dryer vent cleaning or a event cleaning business for hoods and kitchens or something related that this is a bolt on you know just you got to think in those three buckets Talent recruiting the broker strategy and organic and they're um and you just going to have to learn how to sell franchises and I don't think sales is a bad word I'm in that small group of I think you just got to get over yourself like we're all in sales we all sell stuff that's what marketing is we sell things like just not a dirty word like just get over that and and just find the right people but like learning how to recruit franchises properly is the definite learning curve that takes a while it's not um for the faint of heart you know that's a particularly difficult thing to learn sometimes and so you know like don't you know like get some education around it you know work with an outsourced person who's experienced you know go to conferences there's all kind of coaches for that kind of stuff you like don't just try to do it all yourself like you there's so many moving parts to the development into this business and it's so much harder than consumer marketing like it's just there's so many ways you can go south and just your lack of experience just undermined you so try to get some help um I like the emerging franchise conference that IFA does that's a fabulous conference if you want to learn some of these things you'll find a lot of people like me who like really want to help people not hit the wall because there's no reason for you to hit the wall you just accept it there's a learning curve in this business so I I I think that's interesting Thomas you know like our businesses are very different I mean the the um the investment levels are are are are very different um for both for both of us but I do think you know we don't use we rarely use Brokers at all so I do think that where you are in your and and the cost of uh entry uh is is very dependent and the speed to open um is is very dependent on on some of the strategies you know I found early early on um going to franchise shows and listening to everyone's pitches just walk in the floor and get pitched and learn what everyone is saying and doing and how they're representing themselves just walk in the Floor of those franchise shows you really learn a lot yeah I I my I hired a COO and he might even work for you now Matt Kelton I don't know if he's on your team now or not but he went to work for one of the education franchises as a development guy recently and he and I 20 years ago would walk shows and we would ask people that we looked up to like what's working for you what's not working what are your three pieces of advice we'd ask a bunch of people the same three or four questions and compare notes at the end of the day have takeaway conversations at the end of the conference and if I send to a conference from my team I say look I'm going to ask you for your takeaways you're going to have to give a presentation abut back I'm pay for you to go I want to get some I'm G to get my money's worth out of it you know like come back and tell me what you learned and like what do you think we should be doing different and what were your three big aha moments that you kind of make you think different and I think the franchise industry is great about that like we do compare notes you know that like I direct competitors um you know Marcy kind of does tailored closets like we like we're all connected like we're not trying to steal each other's business we all just it's really us against Corporate America or mom and pop businesses like kind of the way we're all on the same team so I like it yeah yeah it's like we're organically moved to this uh to this last question about the importance of peer groups for learning running your but of course friend Innovation uh opinion from you Eric is also very important before we jump into the next one yeah before before we jump I did want to add something like I man I I really value both of your viewpoints uh Brenda and Thomas I think you you really had some real strong points uh number one Thomas I I feel like to your first point a lot of people want to emulate what you're doing by building their own brand right virtually utilizing video not everybody has that skill set right and I think it's an amazing skill set to have um so if you have it flaunt it use it get out there right um you know you may you may be uh the marketer it may not have the best personality to to do something of that nature right or uh one one Innovative strategy that you can utilize is um other influencers and understanding like and I I feel like this is an underutilized strategy in franchising as a whole uh one of the franchise brands that I've I've work with uh we exclusively use used influencer marketing no Brokers or anything to be able to develop um I mean hundreds of leads uh with our ideal client and I do feel like that is one of the areas where if you're talking about uh the future of franchise development I think that this one area that's underutilized and under uh tapped into if you if you will so um take a look at that in in your strategy and in the another one that I would say is collaboration um with non-competitive Brands uh developing events uh with non-competitive Brands and bring people again it could be offline it could be online events that you're putting together um but put together smaller events where you're not in a pool of you know a h you know hundreds of different brands trying to sell a franchise right it could just be you know 5 to 10 of you right or two to three of you if you will um but you put together those events and now you are working with smaller pool of um you know you may have a smaller pool of leads but those leads are much stronger and you'll be able to work through them uh a little bit better so I think that those are two good strategies to try no these are uh these are the great great great ones and before we jump into the last question about the importance of uh of sharing sharing the experience and uh and learnings and trying your experience of trying out Innovative things so I I just wanted to announce that we are we're having those insightful replies and we are um we don't have enough time for for breakout room so we want to switch it to Q&A so for for the audience please come up with a couple of questions to our uh to our panelist and just type them in in chat and if you want you will have a chance to uh to ask a question in in in person but if you do please turn on the um video and uh and audio and uh yeah so please think about your questions if you have some some burning ones and now let's please um continue with the with the importance of the p p groups Eric you want to start addressing that one for sure I mean this is what it is that we do at zor forum is we put together groups uh specifically for emerging franchisors not not specifically marketers but um you know leaders of of emerging franchise Brands and you know for anybody who has not gotten a peer group just yet you know I would highly advise you find one uh as Thomas suggested earlier you don't have to be in this thing by yourself and I feel like um the most successful marketers in the world they don't operate in silos um they work with others right to be able to see uh the things that we don't know right there are things that we know there are things that we don't know there are things that we don't know that we don't know right uh when you're involved in peer groups you're able to kind of see um you know all the way around yourself you're able to see into those blind spots because you've got other people that are looking from a different angle and able to see what you may not have experienced to see um we're able to tap into um you know all of the wisdom the collective wisdom that we have and accept accelerate much faster so uh what we've seen in zor Forum our our initial zor Forum group began uh over 10 years ago and uh all of those franchise brands that began with the first initial group this is uh shelf Genie and 101 mobility and welcome mat services and um um soccer shots and um you know we have a few more uh College Hunks hauling junk all of these the leaders of these organizations got together put together a group and you know they were emerging franchisors at the time now 10 years later those particular brands that I mentioned many of them are household Brands many of them have gotten you know hundred million do plus exits um you know and they didn't do it in a silo they did it together they worked together they they began started off sh sharing best practices and then moved on to uh going deeper into a forum style meeting where now they were going into what we would call that 5% uh the 5% of things that you don't share with your your um your mentors you may not share with your coach uh but again you you need to share with a private group of people who see things the way you see things who've been through some of the things that you've been through or going through it currently so that's what peer group and and the power of peer groups allows you to be able to do uh there are a lot of peer groups that are out here I highly recommend that you find one uh to find the support that you need to be able to continue to grow um if you are a part of the SE Suite if you're a part owner in one of these emerging Brands feel free to check out zor Forum we're here specifically for emerging franchisors um but I do feel like you know no matter what position you are in um you know in that marketing whether you're a director whether you're um you know whether you're a CMO find a group find a group of your peers work with them uh if you can't find one that works for you create one um but I I guarantee that it'll help you to accelerate um your success for sure yeah thanks a lot so what what's your experience with with B groups Brenda if if any yeah it's so it's so so important you know um being a a female in franchising um I think you know there's there's a lot of uh there's a lot of different groups I I've tended to work uh you know more on a one-on-one basis reaching out uh to people and establishing uh one-on-one relationships um and um just being a a again a female in franchising I have found that uh some of the other uh female entrepreneurs have been extremely uh open and welcoming and embracing and and and getting those Mentor relationships and reciprocating and also you know looking for those that could use um could use a use your support often um you know they're in a different place uh than you are um and they can bring real energy and Innovation into what you're doing uh having been with the company for as long as I've I've been in the company reaching out to to others that uh that you hear might need help or that um that and being a resource for them can be as valuable uh to you as it is to them so I really enjoy uh mentoring but um uh you know I think being part of a group is is just mandatory if you're going to stay relevant if you're going to stay Forward Thinking um it's just mandatory yeah thanks a lot Thomas what what do you think I'm a big fan of peer groups I have a mastermind group of emerging franchise Wars it's um like Dan from Voda and Aaron Harper from Rolling SIDS and a couple other folks there's maybe five of us in this group and we've been meeting since we all started a year and a half ago and you know we we've been able to build on each other's successes and share information I think peer groups are important especally when you're a leader of a brand it's kind of lonely you know you don't can't who do you who do you get you know I have problems with my you know my CMO like what do I do you know it's nice to have somebody else at another organization to give you some it's also good to share best practices and learn um from what's happened I think um peer groups for franchise marketers are really important um you know I think if you just anytime you can cross-pollinate with people who are in other brands doing this same thing you're going to learn it's just like what we talked about at franchise conferences and so you got to put yourself physically in the position where you're going to learn yeah yeah yeah yeah thanks a lot and now like my team is is letting me know that we even don't have enough time to address the questions from the from the audience so please make sure if if you have questions send them to me at Max at prom republic.com and I'll forward that uh to speakers but wow that was an amazing conversation I mean there's so many insights there's so much to execute and and and I loved so many of these I loved the one uh the one about setting up some of the basics like the brand positioning and differentiation so having the initial Frameworks and then looking at the whole customer Journey when doing things uh and you cannot prioritize only one step in the customer Journey you have to look at the whole thing and of course you like resources but you can automate stuff so that was very it's very important to see what what can you actually automate and creating momentums and not doing it alone never never doing it alone getting as much feedback as possible from customers from franchisees from from peer groups and and uh and joining those uh those groups just to stay I know Saye and and and also to to do the right stuff and get uh and and get get real and not not repeat all these mistakes uh that that have been already uh already done and don't fear the big guys so they are doing a lot of things wrong and they're they're so high that they don't see many things happening down there and you as a small emerging franchise you you do see those things so I mean special shout out to all our esteemed panelists to Eric Branda and Thomas thank you so much for sharing those incredible insights I don't know how many years of experience have been put just to come up with those clear and wise advices thank you so much for joining we'll definitely share the recording with everyone and also like the insights from from the from the panel delivered to your mailbox so please stay tuned and um and and uh and of course uh and of course join and recommend both peer talks Simo peer talks community and zor forum and stay tuned for our next events thank you so much for joining and for being such an Engaged audience thank you thank you appreciate it thanks everyone

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