Meet Ted Asbury, Location3's Executive VP of Strategy. Ted came to Location3 with a wealth of experience in franchise marketing. He joins this episode of Digital Shoptalk to share franchise marketing advice and 2021 learnings as we close out the year.
Josh Allen 0:00
Welcome back to digital Shop Talk. The podcasts are third episode. We're coming up on Thanksgiving here. And we decided as we head into the end of the year in the holiday season, we're going to switch it up. So today I'm pleased to bring on location three's Executive Vice President and my colleague, Ted Asbury. Ted's been with location three for some time now. But the real reason I wanted to sit down and talk to Ted today is because obviously, Ted has a wealth of experience on the brand side prior to location three. So without further ado, Ted, tell us a little bit about yourself, your time at location three, and maybe a little bit about your backstory in franchise marketing.
Ted Asbury 0:49
That sounds good. Thanks, Josh. Looking forward to the conversation as well. As you know, in in franchising space for 2525 plus years, both on the agency side, as well as on the on the brand side. Worked with brands like Arby's, corporate back in the day, ran marketing, Head of Marketing for honeybee Tam. For years. That's where I met and started working with a team from location three back in 2012, late 2012 2013. From there, he moved over and worked for a private equity team that own multiple brands called inclined equity at the time, they own two brands, jam Pro, commercial cleaning and disinfecting and made right which was the residential cleaning brand. And after gosh, maybe the first year we sold made right to premium service brands out in Charlottesville, Virginia and purchased Intelligent Office which is out of Boulder, Colorado. So currently located in Atlanta, which is a hotspot of course, for the franchise industry and you know, kind of franchise systems are unique. And I just have really enjoyed working on the the industry and within some of these some of these key brands over the years. And now, just recently, this past year, I've moved over, started doing some consulting work for location three on the strategy for several clients and have moved over as the VP of strategy recently. So
Josh Allen 2:42
the deal, just a little bit of franchise experience to say the least. I know just a little bit we quick shout out to Honey Baked Ham too, you might be able to get a ham last minute, if you need a Thanksgiving meal plan and haven't you're a little behind the curve or a procrastinator. Find out HoneyBaked Ham can't recommend it enough or even for Christmas, you know, get yourself a Christmas ham, big shout out. We love those folks, we love those hams. Having said that, I want to kind of kick this off by talking about you know, obviously, as I said, we're coming into the end of the year, I think it's easy to a lot of the kind of content, you know, conversation, etc. That's happening right now is very pandemic focused. But I think, you know, when we think about maybe some some other things in 2021, we're what are your takeaways? You know, in marketing, particularly in franchising, you know, some related to the pandemic, maybe some some that aren't and how can we kind of take a look forward to 2022 when it comes to franchise marketing in general?
Ted Asbury 3:48
Yeah, I think coming out of out of the pandemic, things are certainly going to shift a bit financial landscape is has changed and franchisors and organizations need to be aware of that, obviously, you know, marketing, you know, as we say, and we we've talked about this recently, you know, as typically one of the the first thing that's cut when things are tight, right reality is is that, you know, you should be frankly, you know, doubling down and reinvesting in marketing during these tough times. And I know that's hard to do with a lot of organizations, especially smaller to midsize businesses, but marketing is going to be, you know, one of those things that drives your turnaround going into, you know, tough times and many businesses are facing that in 2022. I do believe that in franchise space, local is going to be as important as ever, if not more important, and so really getting that right mix between brand and local It's going to be key and getting the right budgets in place. And, you know, really being smart with with your dollars, what dollars you do have available, making sure that they're working as hard for you as that as they possibly can. And in many cases, you know, that may mean that you're consolidating, obviously, we're, we're an agency, and we're looking for new clients, you know, that that's, that's part of what we do. But you know, the smart, the smart folks, you know, moving into 2022, are going to be really stretching their marketing dollars as far as they can. And one way to do that is to kind of streamline your agency roster, use, you know, single source or fewer sources, so that you're putting in, you know, more dollars in an investment to a particular partner. And typically, you're going to get some, you know, better pricing and better rates out of that. So, so that's one thing, I think you still have to invest in brand and driving brand awareness, but the bulk of your activities, and really kind of traffic driving, you know, transaction driving activities should be at the should be at the local level.
Josh Allen 6:11
Right. It's a good good points, I think, you know, as we've talked about previously, and while it's, you know, 2021, still coming out of the pandemic, the franchise model is projecting growth in 2021. I'll be interested to see the International Franchise Association, their annual economic report that usually comes out the beginning of the year, what what that looks like, for 2022. But but the economics, as you mentioned, you know, are still impacting franchise businesses, depending on category, depending on overall business model. You know, I think, obviously, inflation continues to go up, we're seeing increased operating and payroll costs. So you know, consumers are probably going to be a little bit tighter with those dollars after this holiday season. And it's going to be harder to compete for those consumers. So when we think about, you know, franchise systems, what to your point, you still have to invest in brands, but really making that impact on a local level and making those dollars go as far as possible, I agree with you, I think it's going to be incredibly important. In your minds, you know, where can franchisors kind of create harmony in marketing with franchisees to make sure that, you know, if marketing budgets are a little bit tighter, at least for the first half of 2022, that they're still maximizing those dollars and getting the most ROI?
Ted Asbury 7:37
Yeah, I think there's a couple of things to, to, that we can pull out of that to, to discuss here. One is, of course, yet, you know, things are tight, obviously, economic landscape, landscape, again, is, you know, is what it is we've got inflation, you know, that's, that's stressing a lot of businesses, right now, you've got supply chain issues that we see within a number of different verticals that that we're working in, and, you know, product is product is limited. You know, a lot of folks or a lot of brands are having to take price, you know, because of those supply chain issues, or the increase in raw materials. Labor is, you know, if you have, you have staff, a lot of restaurants, you know, right, I'm talking to folks every day, I mean, you know, if they have a drive thru good business, the business is going through the drive thru intentionally and proactively because they're having a hard time keeping folks, staff to run, you know, kitchens and in dining areas. And so, just, you know, creativity, just like it was last year is going to be key, especially in retail, in the retail environment, but I think, you know, keeping your you know, your eye on the angle, making sure that you're adjusting as you need to, you know, is going to be key moving forward and being flexible and creative in your solutions is going to be key moving forward. But I think, you know, for the most part, if you keep your eye on, you know, why you're in business and what you're, you know, who you're serving, so make the, you know, customer your, your your focal point, you know, moving forward to make sure that you're keeping them in mind and providing good product, good service, they, you know, they understand that it's a different environment, and they're very forgiving. And so I think investing in customer appreciation programs and really acknowledging your customers even in the social space organic base, and just acknowledging your customers and what they mean to you and, and having that that that good relationship with them and building that relationship with them, I think is is going to be key moving forward. The other piece of it, that I'd like to I'd like to mention is just you know, activating from a franchisor perspective activating your You know, your your franchise army, so to speak, you know, how do you get your franchisees to, you know, to participate and participate at levels that maybe you're, you know, haven't been able to get them to participate in, in the past. And when I say that, I mean, obviously franchisors and the ad fund typically are laying, you know, kind of a foundation and groundwork, you know, doing the blocking and tackling on brand awareness and, and, you know, driving promotional awareness and new product news and things like that. But typically, franchisees are required to spend locally and right, we've given them a good reason to do that in a clear plan, and you know, how that syncs up with, with what the corporate program is, and making sure that those dollars are working incrementally to the dollars that are being sprint spent at the, at the brand level, you know, are key. And in some cases, you know, making sure that you've got systems in place to monitor the local span to make sure that all the franchisees are investing and working, you know, alongside you to make sure that you guys are putting, you know, a system is putting their best foot forward, because those add add fun dollars are one thing. And then like I said, they lay that foundation, they do a lot of blocking and tackling. But where the where the big impact, I think it's going to come from, you know, moving forward, especially in 2022 and beyond is is activating those local dollars, and they can make sure they're being spent smart. They're being spent to certainly drive local businesses and increased profits for the franchisees, but all boats rise when those dollars are increased across the system. And I think that's going to be important before.
Josh Allen 11:54
Yeah, I agree. All great points. And I think, you know, you hit the nail on the head, how can you, you know, as you put it from a blocking and tackling perspective, use a percentage of those brand dollars to, to maximize awareness. And I think, you know, we obviously talked about how everything is local at location three a lot. We're seeing more partners, which makes sense, even though it's a, from a media perspective, on the surface, it seems like brand awareness, there's a lot of channels connected TV being one, that we're seeing a lot of growth in where, you know, the consumer experience and the call to action. And the response is very locally focused. And so that's, that's one way I agree to how do we make those kind of what we think are brand media and brand dollars, still have a local component where applicable, and then obviously supported by the franchisees, with with local marketing spend, that's probably more lower funnel and in direct response focused is, is where that efficiency happens. But don't you bring up a good point, right, a lot of I'm still amazed, although I guess, the more time I spent in this industry, it shouldn't be the case is that there's not a lot of, there's still a huge gap in terms of the point you made when it comes to monitoring local spend, whether that's making sure franchisees are living up to their commitment or giving them the systems Converse easily that allow them to spend those dollars efficiently. And I think technology is a big piece of this. And there's a lot of fragmentation in franchising around different systems. What are your What are your thoughts on that as we go forward? What What can the franchisor do to create, you know, again, as I said, at the top, more harmony, but also just more consistency, more scalability, in terms of the marketing programs that they're undertaking in 2022?
Ted Asbury 13:40
Yeah, I think that's a that's a great, great topic, too. And we could spend, you know, 30 minutes to an hour on on just that on that one. But, you know, the, you know, the long and short of it is that, you know, I think providing franchise system as a franchisor. With the right solutions, both people and technology is important. It's one of the things that book, location three does do and it's one of the things that I think make makes us different than a lot of folks out there. It's people plus platform. And so we do offer that and we bring the ability for franchisors to put the right team in place. I think as we move forward again, we could have another discussion just about in this environment, making sure you got the right staff you got the right team, both internally and externally. Some of them an external perspective, making sure you got that right agency partner in place. I think it's key. Streamlining that I think is going to be key moving forward to maximize your dollars and then coupling that with a platform like local act. From location three is another.
Josh Allen 14:55
Sorry. Okay, Grace.
Ted Asbury 14:58
Sorry. coupling that with, with with, you know, a platform like local lag that can provide you with the the ability to report on those activities and have some visibility to what the individual franchisees are doing what they're what they're spending and tie that back to, in many cases are required spins, but that are not being enforced by the franchisor. Because they don't have any visibility or wasted to track that. So, you know, kind of kill TOS for two birds with one stone there. Yeah,
Josh Allen 15:36
I agree. And I agree with you as well, I think we could spend a lengthy amount of time just talking about, you know, the operational piece, and the technology piece of it as well. But alas, maybe we'll have to set that up for a future episode. Before we go. What's your word? Prediction season? Right? We're looking at head. One. What's your big prediction for franchising as an industry? It doesn't have to be marketing related. Just what do you see on the horizon over the next 12 months for this business?
Ted Asbury 16:06
Yeah, it's interesting. I, and you touched on it earlier, be interesting to see some of the some of the numbers coming out of IFA, but I think we're gonna see an explosion of franchise, you know, entrepreneurs getting in the franchise space, you know, coming out of last year, and with, you know, as many people as you know, were displaced. You know, I think you're going to see a lot of a lot of folks that want to, you know, go into business for themselves and kind of, you know, own their own destiny, so to speak. And I just, I see the numbers exploding over the next year to two years.
Josh Allen 16:48
Yeah, I agree. I think a lot of a lot of folks are going to move into franchising, they're gonna find it fits, they're gonna enjoy the idea of being in business for themselves. So I say take that one to the bank. Ted. Yeah. Thank you so much for joining today. We'll absolutely have to do this. Again. There's a lot we could talk about. And I think your experience lends a pretty unique perspective, having seen it, both on the brand and the agency side. So appreciate you joining us for everybody listening. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, and we will see you back here on digital shop talk in early December. Thanks, Dad. Thank you. We'll see you next time.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai