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 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 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?
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