Q&A with “Change Agent” Lisa Dimson, CMO at Your Pie Pizza, Part 2

Editor’s Note: To read Part 1, click here.

Describe your marketing team and the role each plays. Over the past few years, the marketing team has evolved in all areas to allow us to anchor ourselves in our go-to-market approach. Key areas of growth were achieved in innovation, digital strategy and enablement, CRM and loyalty platforms, offsite services and third party partners, etc. Additionally, we have expanded our team through business partners to expand our knowledge, productivity, and efficiency. Finally, our teams thrive when they can engage in more purposeful work, when they feel they are having a positive impact. Exposing our team members to new opportunities or asking them to think differently to accelerate our business means putting renewed energy into growth and manifesting strong initiatives to accelerate growth.

Why is it so important for the marketing department to have a personal touch when it comes to helping the brand connect with franchise prospects? Every franchise prospect is looking for the right business that matches their values, interests and goals. Our ability to tell our story and share how we, the franchisor, can partner with them to achieve their goals is of the utmost importance. Prospects want to know what to expect and how our experience and knowledge will help them pursue their personal vision for their restaurant business and their communities. We personalize every step of the journey because our business and our success together is personal.

How does this help your sales and franchise development efforts? The brand narrative is woven throughout the prospect’s journey. Each interaction answers the prospect’s questions and reveals important aspects of our business to inform their decision. Lead generation and targeting are developed with the goal of generating quality leads and ultimately leads who share our vision. To generate quality leads and prospects, we continuously optimize channels to create a streamlined yet informative sales process.

What means/tools do you rely on to do so? Many of our franchisees were originally fans of the brand. We find that our restaurants are the single most important source of development, as our owners inspire and create great experiences that prospects are drawn to. As we look for ways to expand into new communities, awareness is being sparked through our digital channels. These include paid CRM, search, website, social and digital strategies.

Do today’s prospects expect more from franchise marketing? What and how do you provide it? One of the big benefits for an owner entering a franchise system is having access to things like brand properties, logos and signage, marketing programs, and name recognition. In today’s crowded landscape, franchisees are looking to use these marketing programs to give them an edge over their competition. Our dedicated teams guide prospects through an in-depth process to learn more about the company before they invest, from what to expect through finance, development, operations, training, technology and marketing.

How does today’s consumer and marketing data help you refine your marketing initiatives? The data we use is based on consumer interactions on our platforms and in our restaurants. Whether through experiential reviews and feedback sources or via various social channels and third-party platforms, we digest this data to prescribe and improve experiences in our restaurants and digital platforms. We can also build brand awareness and messaging by using digital marketing datasets to A/B test various creative executions to engage and optimize efforts with intelligent intent. Examining the data allows us to target a qualified audience and their preferred buying behavior to influence conversion. A push for first-party data collection in our restaurants and digitally is essential. However, we leverage third-party data for retargeting capabilities, allowing us to embed our brand into a larger universe of consumers at different stages of the customer journey.

Describe the changing role of social media in your brand’s marketing efforts. Incorporating our brand into the lifestyle of consumers in an authentic and authentic approach allows us to bring added value to their needs. Where we’ve found the most engagement is through user-generated content. Our fans’ experiences, images and recommendations trump our best creations. Additionally, creating a positive disruption in consumer flows (causing them to think of delicious pizza when considering meal options) creates engagement and potential conversions. Using the right creative at the right time to capture attention influences future buying behavior.

How do you work with other internal departments and does technology help you? The pandemic has forced us to work remotely and compelled us to be more efficient with communications by leveraging virtual channels to stay connected. We used existing platforms, including Teams and Zoom.

Do you consider suppliers as business partners? Why why not? Yes, our business partners are essential relationships. Each supplier is vetted to ensure they fit the business and culture before any engagement. They are valued as an extension of our team, allowing greater access to knowledge and resources to optimize processes and programs to inform decision-making and strengthen our business.

How have marketing strategies/tools changed over the past decade? How did you adapt? Although there have been many changes over the last decade, the biggest change has actually happened in the last 2 years. The advance of digital transformation in the restaurant industry has created new levels of accessibility and convenience for consumers. To be resilient, restaurants have had to compete by quickly adapting to new consumer buying behaviors by adopting new technologies and fundamentally changing the way they operate. Although we have adapted over the past few years, the personal relationships in our restaurants and the experiences they provide our customers every day continue to be vital. The way for our business to continue to transcend is to humanize our digital channels to a level that reflects the personal experiences of customers using those channels.

What advice would you give to aspiring CMO executives? I like to think of the role of the CMO as the connection hub of the business. Your relationships with your customers, franchisees, teams and business partners are essential to thrive. To be successful, your ability to connect with others is key to getting results. Personally, connecting together is how we can make a difference for our customers. After all, we serve the best food ever, pizza! Pizza makes everything better!

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