Author: Maria Topken / Source: Nation's Restaurant News Maria Topken is director of client leadership for Sunrise Advertising in Cincinna
Maria Topken is director of client leadership for Sunrise Advertising in Cincinnati. She has previously served as marketing director at Long John Silver’s, and has worked with Wendy’s and Steak ’n Shake. This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or management of Nation’s Restaurant News.
As a savvy franchise owner, you understand the importance of Local Store Marketing, or LSM.
There have likely been many times when you’ve implemented local marketing plans that were solid hits. But there probably were strikeouts, too.
In today’s world of tight margins, leaner marketing budgets and increased competition, the need to improve your LSM batting average is imperative to overall success. That’s true whether you have one unit or manage a down-trending location in a large national chain.
So, how can you improve your LSM success rate?
First, an LSM program should never interfere with your operations. The last thing
you want is to negatively affect the customer’s experience. When developing ideas and objectives, be sure to get your operations team involved. They are best suited to know if the marketing program could affect speed of service or any other element of customer satisfaction. Also, involving them in the process helps ensure that they will be all in, which is important to success.
Next, establish clear goals and objectives. Are you looking to gain trial? Increase frequency? Fight off new or enhanced competition? The goal will help determine your strategy. For example:
- Gain trial: Consider giving your employees five coupons each for a new product. Ask them to give the coupons to family and friends. Your employees look like heroes, and you have implemented a quick and easy way to get trial.
- Increase frequency: Loyalty-focused plans that reward customers for their business typically result in increased traffic. Just remember that the rewards should be relevant and timely.
- A competitive attack plan: Thwart the new guy’s opening by focusing on your customers’ experience. Invest in a few extra hours of labor a day in the dining room. Put your best face forward and make customers feel special as you refill their drink, take their trash or just ask, “How’s your day going?”
You’ll note that these suggestions are rather simple. This is important: If you can’t explain the program succinctly to your target audience, the chances of success are slim. Life is complicated: Don’t make it hard for me to be your customer.
In addition to being clear and…