Author: Kathy Hartman

The NEW Universal Truths About Local Store Marketing

The NEW Universal Truths About Local Store Marketing

The interesting thing about Local Store Marketing (LSM) is that it’s even more relevant with today’s technological advancements.  Technology is often best used when it’s a complement to a traditional form of marketing.

The emphasis in that last statement is on “complement”.  In today’s world of mobile apps and chatbots, some franchisees feel that they can rely on mobile apps and national advertising to do all of their marketing for them. After all, they are often contributing a significant amount to a national marketing fund!  Why would they need to create an LSM plan?  Other franchisees are responsible for all aspects of creating a marketing plan for their individual locations, from grand openings to awareness building to promotional messaging.  They know that they need LSM, but they are often perplexed as to what tactics should be used to achieve their objectives or how much they should spend to market their locations.

I want to share what I consider to be the NEW Universal Truths about Local Store Marketing.  These are truths that are extremely relevant today, and they are exhibited in large global organizations, in smaller regional chains, and in start-ups alike.

Truth #1:  Everyone Needs LSM

Why?  Because direct customer relationships build loyalty, which results in success.  No matter how much money is spent at the national or regional level, you MUST create true loyalty through direct contact with your customers.  Mobile apps don’t create a relationship—they convey information.  Television ads help to create a national brand image that customers expect to see when they visit their hometown location.  It’s LSM that delivers on those messages.  Customers will go out of their way to patronize businesses that they appreciate.  Only through direct LSM will you and your employees create that bond that will keep your customers coming back again and again.

Truth #2:  LSM is a Balance of 3 Key Things

There are three key components to all successful LSM plans:  Promotion, Experience and Community.

  • Promotion is price and variety related.
  • Experience is a fun, enjoyable environment with genuine interactions.
  • Community is local engagement and presence with potential customers.

Your LSM plans should be a balance of all three components.  Some activities will provide short-term returns, while others will result in mid or long-term returns on investment.  I call this your Customer Investment Portfolio.  To ensure that you have a healthy, robust portfolio, you want to maintain a balance of all three components.

Truth #3:  Marketing is no longer an Art, it’s now a Science

For years marketing was more of a tapestry of tactics, driven through experience and “best guess results”.  Data has changed all of this.  Used appropriately, technology can drive sales at the individual local level.  Artificial Intelligence allows technology to get smarter over time and know exactly what’s needed to drive success at your location.  You can now depend on science and not on doing what has worked for the operator down the street.  You are most likely operating a multi-million-dollar business while wearing a lot of hats — from Equipment Repair, to HR Director, to Groundskeeper.  And, you are most likely not a trained Marketer, so let the science and technology do the work for you. This will free up some of your time to focus on other key areas of your business.

Truth #4:  A Small, Smart Investment Can Have Big Returns

LSM has the power to build your brand, your business, and your sales and transactions.  You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg on LSM, if you take a more targeted and strategic approach you can be much more cost effective and have major impact.  Technology can bring you that smarter, more efficient approach.  Technology can do the “leg-work” for you and with today’s machine learning capabilities, the right system will get smarter and smarter over time—bringing you expertise that grows to support and build your business.

Truth #5 Always Assign a Designated Hitter and Give Them an Awesome Bat to Hit With

You wouldn’t dream of running your business without a Manager, or without someone assigned to ring in your customer’s orders, or without someone assigned to clean your location at close. Likewise, you need to assign someone who will be held accountable for implementing your marketing efforts at your location. It’s important for this person to have the proper tools and resources to effectively implement your marketing plan.  Today’s technology world gives you the “bat” you need to organize, scale, strategically plan, optimize, measure and drive your marketing results with.  Make sure your team is delivering at the point of customer contact, and make sure that you’ve provided your team with the resources needed to properly create and implement your plans.

Where Do You Start with Your LSM Plan?

I’ve spent my entire career working with the local franchise world—helping them to create LSM plans tailored to their locations.  And now, this expertise and strategic thinking is available to all franchisees.

HubKonnect is the world’s first Machine Learning Local Store Marketing platform. HubKonnect creates customized LSM plans, based on key trading area data points that are constantly fed into our continuously learning AI Brain.  You set your objectives and time periods, and the AI creates a marketing plan that is specifically targeted to take advantage of the opportunities that exist in your individual trading area, at that specific point in time.

For more information on how HubKonnect can help shape your Local Store Marketing efforts, visit www.hubkonnect.com

 

The Silver Bullet for Local Store Marketing

The Silver Bullet for Local Store Marketing

When I look back at the years that I’ve spent helping local franchisees build their sales, they all seem to face the same challenges.  They are running multi-million dollar businesses that require intense coordination of many disciplines—hiring, staff management, training, equipment acquisition, equipment maintenance, inventory management, customer service, accounting and of course, customer acquisition and marketing.  While all franchisees have a strong interest in driving sales and transactions, many don’t have the resources, bandwidth or expertise to effectively develop local marketing strategies.  It’s easy to rely upon national marketing initiatives to drive sales at the local level—and often times these efforts simply trickle down to the individual franchise locations.  I believe that these incredible business owners deserve more.  That’s why I have developed HubKonnect, what I consider to be the silver bullet for Local Store Marketing.

It’s clear that local franchisees have hundreds of opportunities within their local trading areas and it’s time for them to have the ability to advance their business within their specific communities.  HubKonnect is a software platform that utilizes AI continuous learning to create customized Local Store Marketing plans.  Franchisees have immediate access to the customer demographics for each of their locations; as well a complete listing of traffic generators, competition and more.  HubKonnect’s AI brain, Kirby, scours the internet gathering thousands of data points, analyzing and determining the optimal LSM plan for a specific location.  Re-Grand Opening or location anniversary?  No problem, HubKonnect provides the guidance for how to market and showcase your location.  Launching a new product, simply ask Kirby to create a plan to support and extend the impact of a new product launch at your specific location.  Facing a new competitor, HubKonnect will not only create a Local Store Marketing plan for you, but it will provide you with an implementation checklist and a communications plan that will help you get the message out to your local customer base.

I’ve very proud of HubKonnect.  It is the culmination of my lifetime of passion for Local Store Marketing and for helping franchisees really bring their local marketing efforts to fruition at each individual location.  To bring this vision to life, we’ve brought together an amazing team of tech experts with experience with companies like Amazon, IBM and Google.  Collectively, we have harnessed LSM expertise and Silicon Valley technology to create leading learning algorithms and solve business problems for the local franchise level.

I invite you to check out our website, HubKonnect.com, to learn more about this great new product.  I’d love to personally tell you more about it and help change your local store marketing world forever.

Are Nielsen Local Markets Dead?

Are Nielsen Local Markets Dead?

CRM, big data and digital/social marketing efforts have begun to blur the lines regarding what a market is or isn’t.  For many years, DMA’s (Designated Marketing Areas) were the only game in town—clearly identifying advertising markets based upon television and radio markets.  But CRM and big data analysis Continue reading “Are Nielsen Local Markets Dead?”

Can You Rely on Corporate Marketing to Drive Sales to Your Local Franchise Location?

Can You Rely on Corporate Marketing to Drive Sales to Your Local Franchise Location?

Every franchise and multi-unit retailer faces this question all the time.  Many franchise organizations require a contribution to a national marketing fund and when Continue reading “Can You Rely on Corporate Marketing to Drive Sales to Your Local Franchise Location?”