Tag: Local Store Marketing

5 Key Ways to Win with Local Customer Engagement:  Differentiating Yourself from the Competition

5 Key Ways to Win with Local Customer Engagement: Differentiating Yourself from the Competition

It’s a hard, competitive marketplace and the social media world hasn’t made it any easier.  You used to be able to offer your customers an incredible LSM value and it might take a week for the competition to learn about it, much less match it.  But today, social media makes your offer known in a matter of minutes.  Obviously, this can help your business, but it also makes it really easy for your competition to take the wind out of your Local Store Marketing sails and “better the offer”.

In order to brunt competitive pressures, you are going to have to rely on Local Customer Engagement that truly connects with your customers.  Something that makes a difference to your customers personally.  Here are five key ways to win on the competitive front.

Amputee earns his wings

#1  Put Your Best Foot Forward and Keep It!

Your employees are your best product ambassadors.  They represent your brand in the local community.  Train them.  Teach them your “business story”.  Motivate them.  Offer them discounts and free items.  And make sure you pay your best employees more than what the competition is offering.  If you don’t, you might soon see them working at the competitor’s location.

#2  Have Fun!

Show that you love what you do and that you enjoy coming to work.  Encourage your managers to do the same.  Have some fun and let your employees put a smile on their customers’ faces.  I remember managing a team during a particularly stressful period—we were incredibly busy and it was tough to have fun enjoying what we did.  We decided to lighten up the mood a bit with a “Crazy Hat Day”.  Well, the hats that appeared rivalled the Kentucky Derby… on its worst day—-they were hilarious!  Everyone had fun and it helped make our business the most fun place to work.  Our customers loved it too—some even came back with friends, just to see the crazy hats.

#3 Use Loyalty Offers

Give your customers a reason to come back to you again and again.  It might be a loyalty offer on your mobile app, a punch card that tracks purchases or Buy a Certain Number and Get One Free—whatever you can think of that will keep your customers coming back. When you are facing tough competition, you’ll want to encourage customer loyalty and rewarding customers for that loyalty is key.

be kind

#4 Empower Random Acts of Kindness

A few weeks ago, I heard a story about a McDonald’s drive-thru that maintained a “Pay it forward” chain of good deeds for 167 cars.  At one point, one of the customers was going to break the chain, so the employees chipped in to pay for the next order and kept the chain going.  These random acts of kindness motivated the employees and I’m sure the customers felt that McDonald’s was just a little more special because their customers and their employees are obviously special if they are going to do something like that.   Empower your managers to convey random acts of kindness, when the opportunity presents itself.  Whether it’s to start a “Pay it Forward” chain of good deeds.  Buy flowers to give your customers. Or help a customer to their car when they have a child and a full shopping cart.  These acts will help your business stand out to your customers.

#5 Support Your Community

It takes a village….and your business is part of that village.  Show your support of the community by offering your meeting room as a place that organizations can meet.  Sponsor the local little team.  Host a fundraiser for the local elementary school computer lab.  Let the high school cheerleaders hold a car wash in your parking lot.  Pay your employees to volunteer during the local clean-up the environment event.  Make sure that your customers know that this is your community, as well as theirs, and that you are proud to be a part of it.

Interested in learning more about creating LSM plans for your franchise or multi-unit business?  Check out Steps to Creating a Local Store Marketing Plan.  #LSM #LocalCustomerEngagement #SalesBuildingIdeas



The Million Dollar Question:  How Much Should You Spend on Local Customer Engagement?

The Million Dollar Question: How Much Should You Spend on Local Customer Engagement?

One of the questions that I am often asked is what is the right amount to spend on Local Customer Engagement (LCE), which is the new digital-world terminology for what many of us have known for years as Local Store Marketing.  Now, if I told you that “if you spend a million dollars on local marketing and you’ll reap two million in return” —I imagine you’d think the right answer to the question is a million dollars.  Continue reading “The Million Dollar Question: How Much Should You Spend on Local Customer Engagement?”

5 Reasons Why Local Customer Engagement is Critical to Your Business

5 Reasons Why Local Customer Engagement is Critical to Your Business

Do you ever find yourself a little freaked out by the ads and products that are being suggested to you when you open a mobile shopping app or look at a product suggested via email?  How did they know you were considering that backpack for your upcoming camping trip? Continue reading “5 Reasons Why Local Customer Engagement is Critical to Your Business”

Why It’s Important to Deliver on Your Marketing Promises

Why It’s Important to Deliver on Your Marketing Promises

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been talking about the Steps to Creating a Local Store Marketing Plan.  These are the steps that I’ve trained thousands of local franchise marketers to take when they are developing a customer focused marketing plan targeted at building sales for their specific location.  There’s an easy acronym for this process:  G.A.M.E.  Gather, Analyze, Make a Plan and Execute.  Today I want to talk a bit about the last step:  Execute.

Importance of Executional Excellence

The easiest way to discuss the importance of execution is by example.  A large well-known franchise company rushed to launch its mobile app with promotional tactics, which included a free item with download of the app.  Here’s what happened.  Some of the locations didn’t have the equipment to redeem the app offers.  Some had the equipment, but their staff wasn’t trained in using the equipment.  Some had the equipment and had trained their staff—but, they didn’t train the staff in what to do if the equipment didn’t work.  Some had the equipment, had trained their staff, knew what to do if the equipment didn’t work, but didn’t know what the offers on the app were or what customers needed to do in order to get the app.  Some locations had the equipment and had trained their staff well, but had failed to download the POS keys needed for the offers.  You can imagine the impression that customers had at each of those locations when they tried to use the app.

There were of course, some locations that had paid attention to executional details.  Their locations were successful and customers had a great experience.  BUT, because the other locations had dropped the ball, the initial launch definitely left a lot of bad customer impressions that unfortunately outweighed the positives.  Those negative impressions bled across the system and all locations were tainted by the bad customer and staff experiences.  The initial app launch was scoffed at by the digital world and customers were left unimpressed.

But, all was not lost…all locations evaluated their efforts.  They took note of what had worked and what didn’t.  They spoke with their staff about how to improve on implementation when the next “push” for the mobile app came.   They ordered the equipment they needed to get.  They talked about what training was necessary and who would be responsible for each step of the program.

And, the corporate offices of the franchise company took a step back and decided they too could improve on their support of mobile app efforts.  Corporate realized that they could have provided more training and support for their franchise locations.  They realized that they needed more tests of the app before the next national push.  In short, everyone took a deep breath and said, “let’s try this again in a few months”.  And they did.  Today, that mobile app is gaining in popularity and is contributing to the company becoming a leader in the use of app technology at their locations.  But, they learned the hard way.  You don’t need to learn from bad experience.  Ensure the success of your marketing efforts and follow these steps to executional excellence.

keys to success

Keys to Executional Excellence

The key to impactful execution is attention to detail.  From having enough packaging, to scheduling an extra employee or two, it’s working out the nuts and bolts of each plan and following through on execution that determines your plan’s success.

Here are the things to consider when planning precise execution of your local store marketing plan:

  • Look carefully at your executional needs (staffing, supplies, packaging, flyers, etc.) and assign someone to be in charge of each detail.
  • Acquire special equipment that might be needed for your plan and test the equipment in advance of starting the program.
  • Conduct training so that employees know exactly how to implement any necessary procedures. Cover “what if” scenarios to ensure that you have a Plan B in place, in the event that something doesn’t work as planned.
  • Make a plan for communicating your marketing plan. Be sure to start communications early enough to allow enough time to reach your customers and build awareness of your programs.
  • Remember to communicate your plan to your employees, so that they are prepared to answer any questions regarding the plan.
  • Make certain that you have requested and deployed any necessary POS changes to manage your tactics.
  • While your plan is in progress, regularly check to see that everything is functioning smoothly. Make adjustments when and where necessary.

Evaluating Your Success

Evaluating the success of your LSM plans can be complicated, as many different variables can impact sales and transactions for your location (i.e. national advertising, weather, competition, etc.).  It’s best to look at a number of different indicators and weigh them together to determine if the plan has met your measurable goals.

Here are a few indicators to review when evaluating your plan:

  • Did you achieve the measurable goals that you set? (increase in units sold per week, increase in average check, increase in comp sales, etc.)
  • If this plan involved coupons, how was the redemption rate?
  • Did the plan break-even or achieve your projected return on investment?
  • Does this plan have the potential to generate repeat business?
  • Did this plan help build relationships within your community by showing your support for the community?
  • Did this plan improve your customers’ perceptions of your business?
  • Is your location a more desirable place to work because of this plan?
  • Did this effort help to improve customer awareness of your products, events or sponsorships?

key learning

Key Learnings for the Future

Once you’ve reviewed the results of your plan, you can identify its strengths and weaknesses, and use these learnings as you develop and execute future plans.  Make notes on the plan for future reference and file the notes and plans so that you can easily find them.  Ask yourself the following:

  • What would have made your plan run more smoothly?
  • Were there any unexpected obstacles to its success?
  • Were there any operational issues?
  • Were employees informed and enthusiastic? Why? Why not?
  • Was the timing of this plan successful? Should you consider a different time of year or different daypart?
  • Were the communications and merchandising methods you used successful in creating awareness for the program?
  • Is there any customer or employee feedback that could help you for the future?

Moving Forward

Remember, smart marketing is a long-term process.  And by completing this G.A.M.E. process, you’ve gotten yourself off to a great start. You’ve defined an area of opportunity and a goal, picked a target, developed tactics and made a plan.  You’ve implemented the plan with executional excellence and you’ve finished by evaluating the plan’s performance.  By going through these steps, you’ve covered everything that can help ensure your plan’s success. And this preparation is the best way to get the most from your local marketing investment.

Want to learn more about the G.A.M.E. method?  Check out Getting Deeper into the G.A.M.E.; Don’t Start and the End and Move Backwards.  Always Move Forwards! and Step 3:  It’s Time to Make a Plan