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Let local managers try mobile marketing on their own?

November 10, 2009

Last week, I blogged here about how giant franchises should let their local managers and franchisees experiment with marketing tactics and I suggested mobile marketing (via Ruxter as you might imagine) as a great way to start the experimentation before the mobile marketing wave is already ashore and you find yourself scrambling in catch-up mode. It will be hard to deny mobile marketing given its scale, immediacy, cost-effectiveness, dynamism……

Examples of this approach surface now and then but they are not the norm for sure, however, they should be. When I was at Sprint, frequently the pleas of the field marketers fell on deaf ears when they wanted to alter their price points, featured phones, etc. I recall 2 areas of pushback: 1) this was their excuse for poor selling and execution of the message crafted at HQ and 2) the “if we let them do it then everyone will do it and will be chaos” mentality which seems to me to be more like someone protecting their job.

The most recent successful example of listening to the field is Subway. Much like McDonald’s Quarter Pounder and McRib, the $5 Footlong was an idea born in the local market. Here is the fascinating story from Business Week.

In a nutshell, a local franchisee came up with the idea for the $5 Footlong in response to local market conditions and it took off-big time. Hats off to Subway CMO Jeff Moody for adotpting and spreading the promotion even though he admits “It violated all our normal processes”.

Now, Subway is growing in leaps and bounds and is poised to pass McD’s in worldwide locations. Subway has already passed Wendy’s and Burger King in sales.

How does this pertain to mobile marketing? In the case of Ruxter, local managers could create Ruxter sites for their locations/stores and experiment with the message and the offer content, tactics to get customers to opt-in to their site, the timing and frequency of the messages and on and on. I imagine, and have been told more than once, that all marketing decisions come from a faceless HQ who very likely does not have the same goals as the local manager. Again, from my time at Sprint, marketing people and local managers frequently did not have their goals aligned. Talk to a local manager about brand awareness and share of decision and he’ll tell you about whether he’s making money or not.

This experimentation with Ruxter and mobile marketing in general will reap bountiful rewards in terms of raw data and learning experiences and will no doubt have you very prepared for the coming exponential growth of the mobile internet.

Dale Knoop is the President of Ruxter and an industry-recognized pioneer of mobile data services. In 2005 Dale won an Emmy while serving as the GM for Sprint TV. In August 2009 he launched Ruxter which allows anyone to quickly and easily become part of the rapidly growing mobile internet with a fully optimized mobile website they can share with anyone. You can contact him here. Follow Ruxter on Twitter.

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