Who Do You Love?

Who Do You Love

Pick One

When you get in a personal relationship with someone in real life, you know who you’re getting involved with.

But when you get into an email marketing relationship with a business (aka email newsletter), are you making the deep dive with the right brand?

Brand or Location?

For example, if I sign up for Starbucks emails, am I getting an email from the SBUX giant in Seattle or is my local coffee shop going to reach out to me through email?  The same goes for the multi-location McDonald’s.

How about IKEA?  Am I going to read emails authored by the Scandinavian Marketing Team, the US arm of the Scandinavian giant or one of their multiple locations here in Tampa?

Who Am I Connecting With?

Let’s turn this around now.  Say you manage a multi-location business.  You solicit email subscribers everywhere you can.  Your website, social media even your print materials and in-store collateral.

And you succeed at not failing your customers: Best Buy Email, University of Florida,

Who do your customers want to hear from?  The Corporation?  The Brand? Or do they want to know and learn about their local brand torch bearer?

There is no single answer.  Rather I believe you need to ask tough question about your customers to learn what they want from an email relationship.  Who knows maybe you’ll learn a thing or two.

Ask  The Questions

  • How many of my locations would my customer likely visit in one year?
  • Are my locations close to my customer’s homes or likely visited while traveling?
  • Is there a chance that my customers might like our brand so much that they want to visit other locations?

Asking questions like this of your brand and its customers will help you decide whether you speak to them as a single brand or whether each of your locations has its own brand that needs to have a dedicated and personalized email relationship with them.

Who Do THEY Love?

So it’s not who do YOU love, the right question is Who Do THEY Love?

Answer that and your customers will appreciate your email relationship more.

Are You Torn?

Do you struggle with the problem of how to develop a relationship between multiple locations and your customers?

Speak up in the comments below!

Foursquare 3.0

Foursquare Campaign WizardJust in time for SXSW, Foursquare has rolled out a new release of features and their focus on multi-location businesses sings to me.

For those of you managing multiple venues in your Foursquare account know well how hard it is to kick off a campaign, deploy specials and aggregate your venue’s check-ins.

Foursquare 3.0 addresses each of those needs and then some.

Benefits to Enterprises

Greg Sterling does a great job of analyzing the release, here are some of his highlights:

  • You can now initiate a campaign once and apply to any or all of your claimed venues.
  • You’ll be able to aggregate your stats across venues to see track demographics as well as campaigns analytics.
  • While not new, it’s key to note that all of this data is real-time.  So you can quickly react, deploy, correct and reward based on what you’re seeing happen.

Imagine deploying a Flash, Swarm or Friends Special across all of your sports bars during the heat of the March Madness.  Are you listening Beef ‘O’ Brady’s?

To me this brings Foursquare to the big kids table by courting the enterprise users.  A single point for management and analysis is key if you’re going to think about having large companies and their extensive reach and deep pockets.

Foursquare Analytics

Deaf Ears

Now if only Facebook and Twitter would take notice and provide an enterprise portal so I can manage over 100 online presence through a single tool.

Next Up

Is you’re listening Foursquare I’d like for your analytics and tracking to better integrate with my web analytics packages.  You don’t have to do this directly for each vendor, but at least allow me to better tag my venues with their website sibling.

This will allow me to roll up Foursquare’s role in my customer relationship and compare it to my other initiatives.

Vendors in the Multi-Location Space

When I look around at vendors targeting the space of multi-location online marketing, they are few are far between.

Searching for the organically you find a lot vendors for telecommunications products or restaurant back office software for chains.  But what I consider online marketing for multi-location businesses really focuses on the management of a business or brand that has many brick and mortar locations.

While that seems to be dominated by B2C, there are also many B2B companies out there with this same need.

So I’ve down research lately to identify those vendors who might be able to help those of us managing this unique challenge.


Expion.com

Expionhttp://expion.com/

Expion is a SAAS that allows you to “dashboard” your individual location’s online presences.  From one console you can manage multiple Facebook Pages, Twitter accounts etc. This saves you from having to copy your updates to each portal as well consolidating the monitoring of them.

FishBowl

Fishbowlhttp://www.fishbowl.com/

Fishbowl is really a turnkey solution specifically for the restaurant space.  Not only do they cover the trendy social media aspects of a multi-location business, they also incorporate email guest management with analytics thrown in as well.  Depending on your restaurants’ other operational tools and how Fishbowl integrates with them (and therefore simplifies it for your frontline people), this could be a real silver bullet for you.

Awareness Inc.

Awarenesshttp://awarenessnetworks.com/

Similar to Expion, but really getting into the corporate workflow of auditing, approvals and multi-user involvement in the day-to-day management of a business’ online properties.

Valuevine

Valuevinehttp://valuevine.com/

Valuevine really focuses in on the brand management of a business.  Bringing in sentiment measurement and location-based aspects of monitoring their offering looks great for those who want to look at each location’s reputation and compare against each other.

GramercyOne

GramercyOnehttp://www.gramercyone.com

I included this one here to help contrast one  a different type of approach.  With GramercyOne and its tools you can focus on integrating everything in one place: appointment book, membership & loyalty, point of sale, gift certificates and, oh yes, marketing.  Facebook and Twitter are really a bolt-on to their turnkey solution.  Rather than build around the relationship, monitoring and participation of social media, it approaches them merely as another marketing channel.  Another outlet for your advertising campaign.  Not the way I would approach it.


I’m sure there are more out there that compete with these vendors, but they haven’t hit my radar.

Disclaimer

I am in no way associated with these vendors.  I also have not used any of their products or services (yet!) myself.  So I could be way off in my claims.  If so, let me know and I’ll be glad to update it.

Do You Have This Problem?

I would love to know what the many franchisor/franchisees use to solve these problems.  Likewise there are plenty of corporate-managed retail businesses that have either solved this problem in-house or use a similar product.

If that’s you, I’d love the hear from you.  Share your thoughts in the comments below.