Per’s Pearls: How can I market to my clients as a franchisee/branch manager?

As we discuss distributed marketing and how to scale content creation to local teams, a good place to start is the QSR (Quick-Serve Restaurant). A QSR’s primary marketing requirement is to bring people into their locations. In an ideal world, corporate will be able to generate sufficiently successful emails, SMS, TV/Radio ads, and such to drive traffic to the location. However, corporate marketing priorities are not always the same as a local franchisor, and we need to allow the franchisors to communicate directly with their customers. So, let’s look at two use cases to understand the challenge of accomplishing this, and the advantages to both corporate and the local level owners and managers. 

Two Audiences / One Location

First, imagine you’re the owner of a QSR in a town of 50,000 people. You have two high schools and a weekly farmers market between June and October. The schedules of the two local high school football teams and farmers market will become the cornerstone of your local marketing campaigns.  

Corporate marketing does a great job of promoting the Chicken Sandwich, or the Groundhog Day Slider. Where local marketing is most effective, is by promoting the upcoming Friday night game, with a pre-event reminder; and then, after the game, sending a congratulatory email with a themed offer (Blue and Gold Milkshakes, anyone?). To do this effectively you need to have calendaring functionality so that you’re not running the schedules off an excel spreadsheet, reminders on Google Calendar, or post-it notes. A useful calendar will also tie into the corporate marketing campaigns so that you’re able to leverage the national Chicken Sandwich or the Groundhog Day Slider launch.  

Farmers Market patrons, we know from experience, are a geographically dispersed group. Sending them a notification that the local football team has won will, at best, be seen as amusing; and at worst generate an unsubscribe. Farmers Market people want to be notified just prior to coming to town that your QSR is offering special menu items, different opening and closing hours, or a simple “welcome to our town” email which serves as a reminder that you exist. Like the football schedule, you can tie into the Markets schedule, and hit people with emails prior to, and after, a particular event, “Make sure to come down to Franks Diner after getting your fresh vegetables and treat yourself to an Amazing Chicken Sandwich!” 

Also necessary, and discussed in prior blog posts, good list management is the key to success with email and SMS marketing. When collecting names, ask about interests (“which football team do you support”), significant dates (birthdays are smart), and food preferences (vegan, gluten, and allergies) so that you can customize targeting and offers down the road. For the Farmers Market example, one can simply ask, “are you here for the Farmers Market” while collecting the contact information. One can also add a zip code field to sort locals, vs out-of-towners. 

In-Store Events

Next, we’re going to pretend that we own a pet supply store in the same 50,000-person town. We could highlight the football team as a booster and celebrate the school’s bulldog mascot by offering bulldog chew toys. More interesting, however, would be to highlight your store’s participation in an adopt-a-pet event with a local foster program. Chances are, you’re not going to be able to get anyone at corporate excited about a local pet adoption event in your small 50,000-person town, but it sure is going to be important to the success of the event to have people show up at your store.

A Final Thought

From a higher level, corporate marketing is focused on building brand recognition and driving traffic into all locations. Local marketing, on the other hand, is focused on driving people into your store(s) while reinforcing the idea that your location is a part of the community. Whether it’s an in-store adoption event, cooking or yoga class, with local marketing you’re empowering local teams to speak more effectively about the events they’re passionate about, and highlighting their community involvement at the same time.  

Like politics, all marketing is local, so we need to ensure downstream folks (franchisees, regional managers, etc.) follow the rules, both from a general marketing and corporate guidelines perspective. Local marketing builds on the branding that corporate has done, but gives humanity to the local branch, “We’re the Smiths, and our family is proud to serve you at Frank’s Dinner.” But it’s important that the Smiths don’t abuse the people who’ve given permission to market to them, and that they are able to adhere to brand guidelines; to accomplish these two requires a tool purpose-built for local teams, with ease-of-use top of-mind and guardrails to help them stay on brand.  

Schedule some time to discuss how Sageflo can help you accomplish this balancing act.   

Posted by percaroe

Per’s Pearls: How to collect email and SMS addresses

In ten years, every multi-location company, whether it’s a Franchise (who will lead the charge), Branches, or MLM/Network Marketing will be empowering their people to send personalized emails and SMS. If we accept this premise, we must address these five challenges but don’t worry, we’ll offer several solutions to each. 

1. Hello, I love you, won’t you tell me your name?

Capturing Emails

How do I get my customer/prospective customers’ contact info so I can send them an email/SMS? There is a wealth of ways, but it gets down to fundamentals. A QSR, retail, or service provider, for instance, can just ask them. Either at the point of purchase, online order, or when they walk in. A restaurant client of mine used to add an email line on the receipt so that you could sign up for their loyalty program. The catch was training staff to highlight the line and enter the email into the system properly; in case you haven’t tried to read someone’s handwriting lately, that can be a huge issue to data integrity. A more elegant option is adding a QR code directed to a landing page or providing a kiosk with the sign-in form. 

Service providers are a wealth of data, depending on the food ordering system, you should be able to legitimately acquire their contact information as part of the transaction, the same goes for modern payment systems, where you encourage an email receipt. I’ve received follow-up emails from several businesses after getting an email/SMS receipt and depending on the content, it’s been acceptable. 


Consent – What’s in It for Me?

Why should I give up my name and contact info? This question hits several concepts- consent, questions, and content. Consent is a big, big deal. I’m permitting you to communicate with me regarding this particular item- my receipts, offers, and notifications of birthdays/anniversary- this is not blanket permission to hit me four times a day with non-relevant content. A good rule of thumb, is “when is it relevant or SPAM?” Take the 1964 Jacobellis v. Ohio case regarding obscenity, where Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, said, “I know it when I see it.” For email/SMS we know when something crosses into SPAM, but the best way to avoid confusion is to ask, ask, and then ask again.  

3. Email is Dead, Long Live Email


How, and how often, would you like us to communicate with you? People want to be communicated to via their preferred channel. People either love or hate email, social platforms, text, and messaging apps. Make sure your messages are sent to the appropriate channel. Also, a word on frequency. Ask upfront, and in your preference center, how often (and what content) you want to hear from us. We may do a whole other blog on frequency and content because there’s a lot that goes into it. 

4. Do You Like Broccoli Ice Cream?


Preference Centers are a must-have, this is not a debate; if you don’t have one, go make one, like right now… stop reading… I’m serious. Preference centers are part of a relevance and consent strategy. PCs offer a mechanism to ask what’s important at the beginning, and then throughout the relationship. 

When I started selling to Oxford University Press early in my career, Preference Centers were a hold-over from Mail Order firms. OUP had 54 variable emails for which you could sign up, it was nuts, but their deliverability and engagement numbers were incredibly enviable. Partially this was because we are not static entities, we change jobs, move, get together and separate from people- all of which affects why I may, or may not, want to hear from you. 

Wildcard questions are really interesting, provided you build a mechanism to use them. Think of food types in restaurants. Cracker Barrel recently saw a kerfuffle over adding plant-based breakfast sausage. But what’s the impact if I identify myself as preferring plant-based sausage, kosher, or gluten-free? The location should then send appropriate content based on these preferences. A word of caution, asking things like age, weight/height, race, or gender could be specifically appropriate, or super problematic. Maybe ask a few people who don’t look like you before going live. 

5. Just ’cause I’m leaving doesn’t mean I’m gone.


Regarding the unsubscribe process, Randy Levy recently wrote a short piece on unsubscribing. The piece itself is informative, but the comment section is gold. A universal pet peeve (and arguably illegal under GDPR) is having to sign in, or add one’s contact, info. to unsubscribe.  

As I mention before, we have different needs at different times, so we may decide to take a break, but if that’s not available (see preference center above) I’m going to unsubscribe or report you as SPAM. Make the unsubscribe process easy, offer a pause function, and offer the ability to change frequency and type of send, but make it easy to leave. 

Final Problem – How do I get this bird off the ground?

If I’m a single location QSR, a branch/region manager, or a member of a Network Marketing firm, these all sound super scary and prohibitive. The onus must be on Corporate Marketing/Ops to ensure that the scaffolding is available for you to start creating hyper-localized, relevant content for your customers. Sign-up options and data entry should be simple and focused on avoiding data entry mistakes, and a clear articulation of content and communication types.  

Eventually, everyone will be sending emails/SMS at the location level. The question is how? Via a low-rent email tool with no safeguards from corporate? Everyone using the sophisticated Digital Marketing Platform? We contend a made-to-purpose Distributed Marketing tool, utilizing all the sophistication of a top-tier Digital Marketing Platform, yet easy enough for a non-marketing professional is the ideal solution to this problem. 

Contact Per with any questions or comments:

Posted by percaroe

How to Improve NPS 

“I personally believe we developed language because of our deep inner need to complain.”

Jane Wagner, The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe

People love to complain and are loath to praise. Take ten minutes and read up on your favorite taco truck on Yelp and you’ll wonder what the heck happened, that’s not the business you know and crave fortnightly. When we consider client satisfaction on an enterprise level, we need a different set of tools for the task, which is where we find NPS. 

Here’s how NPS works.

NPS stands for Net Promoter Score®, and is an industry-adopted measurement of customer satisfaction/ experience and a good predictor of future growth. The score ranges from 1–6 as a Detractor, 7 & 8 are Passive, while 9 & 10 are Promoters.  If one subtracts the percentage of Detractors from the percentage of Promoters, one has your NPS; which can range from -100 to +100. 

Why is NPS important? The goal of NPS is to take a single survey question asking respondents to say, “rate the likelihood that they would recommend a company, product, or service to a friend or colleague”; and have what Fred Reichheld titled his 2002 Harvard Business Review article, The One Number You Need To Grow. Executives have jumped aboard the NPS train, and it now carries a great many bonuses and promotions. So, how do we increase our NPS, so we look good to our bosses and them to theirs?  

Some stats about why Customer Experience (CX) will affect that golden single NPS and how customer experience drives business growth: 

  1. 67% of clients churn if there’s no First Call Resolution (FCR)
  1. 84% of consumers are frustrated when the agent does not have information. 
  1. The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60–70%. The probability of selling to a new prospect is 5–20%.  
  1. It costs 6–7 times more to acquire a new customer than retain an existing one.  
  1. A dissatisfied customer will tell between 9–15 people about their experience. Around 13% of dissatisfied customers tell more than 20 people. Happy customers who get their issue resolved tell about 4–6 people about their experience.  
  1. A 5% increase in customer retention increases profits by 25–95%. 

How does one increase FCR and improve NPS? Be knowledgeable. 

Before Sageflo Archiver is implemented, our clients generally aren’t tracking how many requests for resending an email occur in a day, the status of a client’s subscription permission, or how much time is spent fulfilling auditing requests. After implementation, the contact center team typically uses Archiver to lookup emails, SMS, and print collateral between 3,000 to 10,000 times a week! This is because Customer Care is generally incentivized by the number of “resolved” calls an hour, and Archiver makes it incredibly easy to address these types of inquiries swiftly.  

On the flip side, if a call requires access to an individual’s email — which is usually not readily available to the contact center without a solution like Archiver — they send a request to the people with the emails: Marketing. If it takes Marketing five minutes to look up and send an email, SMS, or print piece back to Customer Care (or directly to the client) it can take days, or weeks, to resolve the issue because they have so many other priorities to attend to. If you’re sitting in an airport trying desperately to find an email with your flight information, that is an unacceptable amount of time. Aside from the unhappy client’s impact on your NPS and future revenue, this little exercise, at scale for a given enterprise business, costs $800K–$1.9M in people hours (or 9–21 X ROI) each year. 

If we’re honest, most of these difficult-to-support issues fall by the wayside as customer care is struggling to keep up with the volume of inquiries. This results in all the above: unhappy customers, who are very likely to switch vendors in hopes of a more satisfactory customer experience in the future. So, one simple major step to improving your Net Promoter Score is to empower front-line Customer Care/ Retail employees to access one-to-one communication so they solve issues during the initial call in just a few minutes, and not days.  

With the right tools to easily address these issues, your teams will be significantly more productive — and happier! — and your customers will reward you with greater loyalty and repeat business. It’s a win-win for everyone. 

Learn more about Sageflo Archiver.

Contact Per with any questions or comments:

Posted by percaroe

Culver’s Empowers Local Messaging with MessageGears + Sageflo

Case study originally written and posted by MessageGears.

How do you enable high-ROI local messaging campaigns while maintaining control of your brand?

The Culver’s marketing team wanted to empower their local marketers to use their own customer data and help drive personalized email marketing, but it was impossible to do so with other tools. To bridge the gap and deliver superior marketing experiences, MessageGears teamed up with Sageflo — leaders in empowering marketing at the local level while maintaining brand control from corporate — and created the perfect solution to utilize all of their data while putting their local operators in a place to own a part of the message.

Key Outcomes

Quick Migration

Migration to the platform only took 8 weeks

Higher Overall Audience Engagement

Because the messaging was more relevant, audience engagement increased

Micro-Segmented Messaging

Dramatic increase in the number of individual campaigns sent through the brand

Adoption at Scale

100% of operators that have logged in to Radiate have sent a campaign within the first 3 months

The Opportunity: Empowering local operators to create hyper-segmented messaging while maintaining brand control

Any marketer who’s worked with a large corporate umbrella over many locally managed subsidiaries (restaurant chains, professional sports leagues, and direct sales organizations are a few examples) can likely relate to the problem of wanting to combine the hyper-relevance of locally based messaging with the consistency and data management of a sophisticated corporate marketing operation.

For many large, national brands, broad corporate-led campaigns with selected elements of personalization work well because the customer experience doesn’t differ significantly from location to location. But for brands with close customer touchpoints at the local level — and who often have franchisees wanting to engage in a direct way with the community they know best — it’s important to be able to provide a level of local autonomy while maintaining brand standards and selective data access in order to generate the campaign relevance you want.

This was the position Culver’s was in when they found MessageGears, whose direct data connection looked like the perfect fit for how they wanted to expand their local marketing programs.

“Once conversations with Culver’s began, we knew it would be a great fit since they could use their live data with our open API architecture,” Taylor Jones, SVP Customer Success at MessageGears said. “That was the key to being able to give their franchisees the tools they needed to send campaigns to their customers, using the unique local knowledge that only they had.”

That included all sorts of information that was highly relevant to people in their area but practically invisible to the marketers building campaigns from corporate. If there’s a big basketball game at the local high school down the road, inviting customers to a pep rally before the game — or victory celebration afterward — is a highly effective way to increase engagement. Combined with a steady, consistent cadence of announcements and offers from the larger brand, and Culver’s knew they had the recipe for a successful email strategy.

What they wanted was essentially the best of both worlds:

  • Allow local restaurant owner-operators to have the freedom to send relevant emails on the local level so the messages were more personal for customers

But also:

  • Own the messaging and brand framework from a corporate standpoint to have approval over every message going out

If they could get to that point, it would allow them to empower local store owners to build their own email campaigns using their unique knowledge of the area and their customers, enabling them to perform highly relevant targeting of small groups at each restaurant. During this process, it was also important for their corporate team to be able to keep local messaging and design on brand while still allowing the local marketing leaders some level of autonomy.

“Sending any sort of locally based campaigns had always been a huge challenge for us, but it was something we’d discussed as a goal many times,” said Liz Haferkorn, Senior Marketing Manager for Culver’s. “Our franchisees always told us they wanted that flexibility, but we never could find the right solution to give us the comfort level we needed to execute it.”

Importantly, though, Culver’s still wanted their corporate marketers to control the overall message being sent nationally, so the overall message customers received wasn’t disjointed from a brand and language standpoint. For corporate marketers who have many senders distributed in many places, scaling marketing can be extremely time consuming without the right tools.

Finding no solutions that allow marketers to resonate with local consumers, the Culver’s team turned to MessageGears and Sageflo to deliver one.

The Solution: MessageGears + Sageflo combine to deliver a best-of-breed solution

Sageflo Radiate™ seamlessly and directly integrates with MessageGears Accelerator™ creating Sageflo Radiate™ powered by MessageGears™, giving users the ability to create and send a message within minutes — even if the user has little to no experience in the marketing world. And once implementation began it seemed like Sageflo and MessageGears were made for each other. But don’t take our word for it; here’s what Aaron Smith, CEO of Sageflo, had to say about the partnership:

“While Sageflo Radiate™ empowered Culver’s local store owner/operators to create and send hyper-personalized messages, it was really the power of MessageGears Accelerator™ direct data access and open API design that made our implementation so fast and give such power to these local marketers.”

“As we were working together, we knew how important it was to not only have a good story to tell around corporate marketing and our distributed-marketing tool, but to make it easy for anyone to use,” says Nick Ziech-Lopez, Director of Product Marketing at MessageGears. “In many cases, these are not people with lots of marketing training who have their fingers on the keys. So making it user-friendly from the UI to the data access was a huge win for the team.”

The integration allows corporate marketing teams to create multiple templates, while the local level chooses an approved template and can send messages in minutes. This feature makes the message feel personalized while conforming with overall company brand guidelines. MessageGears’ on-premises installation and lack of defined data schema plugged directly into the Culver’s data, making setup easy and quick.

One of the most used features of the tool is the flexible audience creator, allowing local users to easily select from various options to define their intended set of recipients, making segmenting easy. Better yet, though, this feature only took weeks to migrate and apply in the brand’s environment because Sageflo can create a single audience during the migration that can be flexibly changed in MessageGears’ back-end APIs to apply to any store. This allows corporate marketers to create globally defined segments like “Frequent diner” while local marketers can use that to target recipients close to them.

“Flexibility is one of the biggest keys to making Radiate such a useful tool for both corporate and local marketers,” Bernice Fung, Head of Growth at Sageflo said. “It is what provides the corporate team with the control they need while still giving individual stores that opportunity to tailor audiences to their particular market needs.”

The Benefit: Better alignment between brand and local creators, raising engagement and delivering ROI

The quick eight-week migration saved the Culver’s significant time and resources, in addition to allowing them to begin the training and onboarding process at the local level far sooner than they had anticipated as they were looking to set up this program.

Once the rollout had completed, A/B testing at the local level allowed the Culver’s to quickly learn what types of campaigns worked for the various restaurants and which ones didn’t, gradually honing in on the best combination of content and messaging to increase relevance to the customers receiving the messages and, as a result, new customers, engagement, and ROI for the brand.

“Seeing this strategy in action was actually better than we even expected it to be,” Aaron Smith said. “The results came quickly and really validated the partnership we had with MessageGears in the first place. Everyone got on board and made it a big success.”

Better alignment between the corporate and local teams also enabled more collaboration, and gave everyone from the top down comfort and confidence in their strategic approach. Marketers at the corporate level had more visibility into what was effective on a micro level, and they were able to help use those learnings to gently steer campaigns in the right direction while franchisees enjoyed the flexibility to be able to send messages that made their customers feel like the valued and understood regulars they were.

Case study originally written and posted by MessageGears.

Posted by MessageGears

Per’s Pearls: Personalization vs. Individualization 

“Don’t be creepy. Over-communicate where your data comes from and make it available to be edited, so consumers feel empowered, not trapped.”

Complaints from the 1%… Boo-hoo I’m a Giant

One of the more irritating things about being taller and wider than the norm is clothing. For dress clothes, I’ve been lucky to find a tailor from Bangkok who comes through the Bay Area a couple of times a year, takes my measurements, shows me the materials and I get a FedEx package a month later with a suit or dress shirts; all at a rate comparable to Nordstrom’s off the rack. For everyday wear, there are a few brands I rely on that have a good rate on big and tall for polos and jeans. As a thrifty consumer, I tend to wait until their Cyber Monday sale and buy a year’s worth of replacements for my wardrobe.  

Here’s my personalization information- 

  1. Wears 2 or 3XL Tall tops/ 46-inch waist 
  1. 54-year-old Male 
  1. Lives in Northern California 
  1. Likes polo shirts and V-neck sweaters for three months of the year 
  1. Buys exclusively during sale periods 
  1. Buys exclusively dark colors- black or dark blue 
  1. Does not buy dress shirts, or sport coats 

Now, imagine my surprise when I get an email advertising women’s sun dresses. This is a failure in personalization- let alone individualization, which is marketers’ white whale, but still very challenging to do on a basic level for the bigs.

It’s all Different Sized Buckets

Let’s take a step back and understand the difference between Personalization vs Individualization. There are a host of competing terms and definitions, each author trying to be clever- and probably sell something by making things confusing. Personalization is best described as a relative bucket (two or three items on the personalized list above) and individualization is me, a unique sunflower (all the variables listed above, plus some I haven’t imagined).  From a marketing perspective, both are super relevant, just for different things, but the base trend is headed toward Individualization. Marketers should always try and understand what and why they’re sending content to customers.  

Let’s take our theoretical clothing client and me. A personalized email campaign may be, “we need to sell 14,000 cargo shorts, as summer is wasting away and we don’t want to discount them too much in October”. As I live in Northern California (plus or minus fifteen degrees off an average daytime high of 65 F year-round), am a 54-year-old male, and I like Polo shirts, it’s a pretty safe assumption that I’ll buy the cargo shorts with some discount.  

Here’s where we cross into Individualization, because of my waist size, the system should be integrated into the inventory system, to ensure that they have a reasonable number of XL- XXL (depending on fit) shorts in dark blue/ black available. Further, looking at my past buying pattern the system notices that I bought a similar pair of shorts five years ago, which is the lifetime of the standard cargo short (totally made that statistic up, but it sounds good). Individualization requires more data integration but will have a much higher success rate as it’s targeted to an audience of one. 

Tales From the Creep

Despite Oxford Analytic and Zuck’s Folly, a McKinsey study from the end of 2021 shows 71% of customers expect personalization, while 76% indicated frustration at not being spoken to as an individual. Simultaneously, 55-60% of Americans are in favor of the American Data Privacy and Protection Act (ADPPA). A federal law expanding on GDPR and CCPA. What does this mean for marketers? Don’t be creepy. Over-communicate where your data comes from and make it available to be edited, so consumers feel empowered, not trapped.

A Word from our Sponsor

Ironically, perhaps, but at Sageflo, we originally designed our Archiver tool to capture every personalized email for call center, marketing, and compliance uses. However, we are proud to announce the upcoming release of our Persona view, which will allow the customization of aggregate customer segment buckets (gold membership members, Vegans, or Northern California Sasquatches). This will allow an overview by marketing to easily understand what a group of people has received from the brand in an easy-to-view customer journey format. 

The CRO/CMO/COO Fever Dream

We all want a more personalized user experience. I want my daily purchase to feel more like the experience I get when my tailor meets me to measure, suggest, and ask about my wife and kids. I get irritated when Instagram shows me an ad for a cool shirt, only to find they don’t do 2 or 3 XL Tall. On the flip side, I’ve set my iPhone to the lowest data collection, because I don’t trust the industry will self-govern where to draw the line on buying and selling my data.  

This is what keeps retailers up at night- how much is too much and where can I find out just a smidge more to intersect with customers’ lives and be more relevant. The answer is faster and bigger. Real-time data updates pulling to campaigns into ever more complex data segmentation. At some point, it’ll be AI, ‘cause everything’s gonna be AI; but for today, it’s massive integrated data systems. But more importantly, will be how rules get implemented to ensure a customer focus on data privacy and whether that comes from the industry or from the government. What are your thoughts? 

Contact Per with any questions or comments:

Posted by percaroe

Per’s Pearls: When does the QSR version of American Graffiti come out? 

It was an amazing sight. Lots of kids with red wagons with bunting, random pets walking, and waiving; cowboys riding lovingly groomed horses; minor dignitaries, and car dealership owners, riding in antique cars soaking up the crowd’s cheers- it was lovely.” 

Pure Americana

My cousin and her family left the Bay Area, just before covid made this a fashionable trend, for the wilds of Michigan. We spoke recently and were discussing the differences, primarily the cost of living, natural beauty, and weather. She said, “you get 8 weeks of summer, not like the Bay Area where spring and fall shoulder summer to stretch it out for most of the year; but the upside is it’s a real summer, hot and humid; and full of Americana.”  This got me thinking of the America of Norman Rockwell, Coke memorabilia, and the place of retail in this collective nostalgia. 

Searching for Americana

When I was a college intern for CBS This Morning, my boss sent me to Fort Dodge, Iowa to interview Fred Grandy, who was the Congressman for Iowa, but better known as Gopher from the Love Boat TV show.  I met Congressman Grandy the night before at the Holiday Inn, where we were both staying, by chance, and spent the evening drinking beers and discussing Single-Payer Healthcare. I was pro and he con, but it was a fun, respectful conversation.  

The next day we met for the interview, where he was the Grand Marshall for the town parade, which I spent the hour before I left for my flight observing. It was an amazing sight. Lots of kids with red wagons with bunting, random pets walking, and waiving; cowboys riding lovingly groomed horses; minor dignitaries, and car dealership owners, riding in antique cars soaking up the crowd’s cheers- it was lovely. 

I jumped on a plane and got back to NYC in time to view Macy’s fireworks show, which was splashy, loud, and also, very American.  

As American as a Baked Apple Pie Lava Pockets

Over thirty years later, what stuck with me is the idea that small towns represent the American psyche. Rockwell’s artwork was full of the idealism of America’s small towns. Fort Dodge’s population of 24,168, which is half of my town, but a fraction of my greater metro area which has 7.75 million inhabitants (to be fair Iowa is half that at 3.15M). I’m asking myself what place do QSRs (Quick Serve Restaurants) represent in these small towns, and therefore in their culture vs mine? 

Outside of Agriculture, QSR’s are one of the most common first employers in rural communities. Culver’s, a Midwestern burger and Fresh Frozen Custard franchise, with 800 restaurants in 25 states have provided 3,000 scholarships worth $5M to their employees. Culver’s also extols its training and advancement opportunities for employees.  

In towns like Fort Dodge, the local Culver’s is also a focal point for teens and young people. Googling things to do in Fort Dodge includes the normal array of sporting activities, an Art Museum, and Fort Dodge Grain Silo Mural. Given these options, I’m guessing Culver’s is hopping on any given Friday night. And I imagine most know one another on either side of the counter. 

In my immediate community, we look forward to the Twin Cities (Corte Madera and Larkspur) Parade, which has the same mix as the Fort Dodge parade of decades gone by, and the Marin County Fair. The parade and fair generate a lot of business as folks come in to enjoy the spectacle. But from a local business stand, it’s hard to stand out. Local messaging is key to success in this saturated market. 

A&W, which has more than 900 locations, with more than 550 in the U.S., and at over 100 years old is America’s oldest franchise restaurant chain. This was my childhood local hamburger joint and is around the corner from the County Fair. Unlike Fort Dodge Culver’s, it competes with a host of youth activities, and first-time jobs; and does a poor job at self-promotion.  

Putting on my promotion hat, I’d be sending out email blasts before the events to promote A&W’s wonderful root beer floats after a hot day of overpriced fairground food. I’ve never seen them, or any QSRs, participate in the 4th of July parade or have a booth at the fair. This could be intentional by the organizers, but why wouldn’t you remind residents that you are a part of your community and not just a location of an international restaurant chain? 

Nouveau Americanism

QSRs make up 50% of the American restaurant industry. There are 204,555 QSRs in the US as of 2022, up 1.3% from 2021. 83% of American families eat at fast-food restaurants at least once a week and the average family spends 10% of their annual income on fast food. The local Culver’s, Pizza Hut, or A&W is an engine for growth and provides a consistent level of food whether you’re in Springfield California, Illinois, or Florida.  

The next big marketing wave for these local franchises is to access sophisticated marketing tools that their HQ use, but in a simplified form, to help solidify their position in their communities. Celebrate the High School team’s victory, the Farmer’s market in the mall, the Fair and Parades that make up our annual lifecycles- but most importantly celebrate and promote your place as an organizer or participant! Perhaps the next Americana artist will wax nostalgic for the local QSR location, their hyper-local marketing, and how that evokes nostalgia for the newest iteration of American identity- aka Americana? 

Contact Per with any questions or comments:

Posted by percaroe

Per’s Pearls: On Dude and Y’all

“We can smell when language is used as an affectation, when it’s not genuine… I may not be able to work a y’all but I can work the hell out of Dude.”

My Father, the King of Italy, Ladies and Gentlemen

I remember a vacation in Mexico, where my Argentinian raised father insisted on speaking Spanish. He was excited to be able to show off, as my mom, sister and I only spoke English and Danish. What we soon learned, was the staff was convinced he was speaking Italian (and proceeded to call him El Rey de Italia). They understood our English and 7th grade Spanish better than my fluent Dad. Why? Because language is local. Or as George Bernard Shaw said: “England and America are two countries separated by a common language.” My father’s Spanish was specific to Argentina, had we been in the high Mexican mountains, he would have had even greater difficulty as Mexico is broken into four to ten dialects, depending on who you ask.

In the olden days of email (2003), we were excited when we first added “Universal” Spanish and French to our UI and UTF-8, so our clients could use the tools in their native language and send emails that would render properly. As SaaS has matured, we now routinely see software updates say, “We’ve added Finnish!” That’s awesome for the 5.5 million Finns- 70% of whom speak excellent English. But that’s not where localization of language should be anymore, we shouldn’t just be playing clean-up, should we?

When Pet Supplies Plus started using Sageflo, over the first 12 months, franchisees sent over 2,000 campaigns. Franchisees saw their email click-to-open rate (CTOR) increase by 19%, and average basket size has increased by 12%. Part of this was that they were sending more messages by expanding access to guard railed email-templates sent through Responsys (their existing ESP vendor), but a lot of it came down to language.

I’m the Dude. So that’s what you call me. You know, that or, uh, His Dudeness, or uh, Duder, or El Duderino if you are not into the whole brevity thing.

I was on a call with a Partner from Atlanta, she’s a local-born and raised. On the call, she dropped a casual y’all, which got me thinking, could I use y’all in casual conversation and sound authentic? Nope, I am a Marin, CA kid, I live a mile from where I grew up. I may not be able to work a y’all but I can work the hell out of Dude. Dude‘s a great word, it’s multifaceted based entirely on tone. Or, as Kaiser Kuo wrote in The Beijinger when trying to teach Mandarin tonality- “The Dude System”:

1. Dūde, the disapproving tone, as to the clumsy roommate who’s just knocked over your three-foot Graphix and gotten bong water all over your Poli Sci 142 reader: “Dude, I can’t believe you spilled my bong again!”

2. Dúde?, in the concerned but creeped-out way you might address the roommate you discover sitting cross-legged in the dark, chanting “Nam-myoho-renge-kyo” and sounding a little brass bell.

3. Duǔde, scornfully, as if your roommate has asked to borrow 50 dollars so his sensei can align his chakras: “Yeah right, dude.”

4. Dùde!, as if you are exclaiming in triumph to your roommate when coming home from class having gotten a date with Elena from your macroeconomics class.

A Pack of Bulldogs go after Trident wielding jocks

As we get closer to the customer, think of your local chain fast food restaurant. When one says, “Come down to Montecito and celebrate our Dogs beat the Trojans! Two for one milk shakes.” Someone from Marin County would know that there has not been a canine attack on ancient Greeks at a town in Southern California. They’d know that the San Rafael High School football team beat the Terra Linda HS team and that you get a discount at the local mall. The localization of language has a lot of subtlety and one can get wrong-footed very easily; we can smell when language is used as an affectation, when it’s not genuine.

By empowering our Franchises, Branches, and Brands to send email, SMS, and Social we solve several issues at once. We allow them to use your existing messaging platforms (you know they’re sending on some janky ESP otherwise) with simplified Templates, Filtering and Reporting; increasing the communication volume and personalizing the content to a degree unattainable to any Corporate Marketing Team, while simultaneously retaining the collected data that comes from focused campaigns which feeds future campaigns. So, when you think language localization, think hyper-local.

Contact Per with any questions or comments:

Posted by percaroe

We Help Better Connect Your Customer Care Team to Your Customers

As the saying goes, “happy employees, happy customers.” One of the best ways to ensure your customer-facing teams are happy, is to give them the tools to succeed.

As an example, we understand that one of the primary objectives in any customer care resolution situation is to help resolve the issue as quickly as possible. Often unnecessary challenges, like the inability to quickly look up an email or other marketing communication, can be frustrating and time-consuming for all involved.

Our Sageflo Archiver solution can reduce the search times from minutes to seconds. It empowers your customer care team to instantly find what they need and act upon the information in ways previously not possible:

 “I cannot tell you how many times I have streamlined a search for very specific and important customer communication using Archiver. Each time, the customer has benefitted greatly by the rapid response of the search as well as the instant resend of the email associated. On the flip side, because I’m able to resolve issues so much more quickly, I can help even more customers in a shorter timeframe. I am a super fan of Archiver!” 

—Sallee Baltierra, Reservations Agent, Alaska Airlines 

Sageflo is passionately committed to improving both the lives of your customers and the internal teams that work with them every day—we look forward to helping you foster “happy employees, happy customers!”

Ready to learn more? Give us a call or send along a note to schedule a demo.

Posted by Julian Scott

Per’s Pearls: A Funny Thing Happened at the Show…

“This industry, Saas, and behavioral marketing are too small to screw people over. Everyone is three degrees from one another, so let’s all try and do a small kindness for one another.”

A few weeks ago, I attended Shoptalk in Las Vegas where I kept running into old friends from my work life. I’ve been in SaaS since 1999, but email marketing as a focus since 2003, so the +4,700 people on LinkedIn shouldn’t be a big surprise. What is a surprise to me, is the frequent and varied manner in which we all intersect.

One friend, we’ll call Jim (names obfuscated to protect deal cycles), was an old boss and we’ve been friends since Silverpop. Jim now works with Dan (let’s call him) whom I worked with at Lyris after they acquired EmailLabs 15 years ago. Now Dan and Jim work together at a cool real-time marketing platform firm that enables businesses to understand and deliver a contextual experience for their prospects and customers to influence desired outcomes.

Jim and I were walking the floor catching up on family and such when the head of a fabulous Quebec-based professional services firm specializing in commerce and digital transformations walked by, slapped my arm, said hi, and rushed off to a meeting. I had one of those mental gap moments where I couldn’t recall his name but knew from whence, I knew him… those are awesome. Just as Jim was heading back to his booth, I recalled the cool agency guy’s name and blurted it out. Jim stopped, turned around, and said, “wait, that’s him, he’s on my shortlist of people to find at this show!” We rushed back in his general direction and finally found him in a meeting. Long story short, I’m helping them get together for a call now.

Why Should I help Jim?

I know and trust Jim, and I know the Canadian marketer is smart and always looking for the next cool thing. What’s the downside to me introducing these two people whom I know and trust? Nothing. What’s the upside to me? Nothing immediately. Jim’s not going to give me a finder’s fee. But I know that reputation is everything and the big wheel always has a turn.

Dr. Feelgood: Why Selfless Giving Makes Us Happier

According to a paper by Saulin, A., Baumgartner, T., Gianotti, L.R.R. et al. Frequency of helping friends and helping strangers is explained by different neural signatures. They tracked a neural baseline activation in the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) – a brain region associated with self-control and strategic social behavior – predicts the daily frequency of helping friends, whereas the daily frequency of helping strangers was predicted by neural baseline activation in the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (DMPFC) – a brain region associated with social cognition processes. In short, helping, or giving, fire up different parts of our brain. It’s like Bill Murray’s speech at the end of Scrooged:

It’s Christmas Eve.

It’s the one night of the year when we all act a little nicer; we smile a little easier, we cheer a little more.

For a couple of hours out of the whole year, we are the people that we always hoped we would be.

It’s a miracle. It’s really a sort of a miracle because it happens every Christmas Eve. And if you waste that miracle, you’re going to burn for it.

I know what I’m talking about. You have to to do something. You have to take a chance. You do have to get involved.

There are people that are having trouble making make their miracle happen.

And if you give, then it can happen. Then the miracle can happen to you.

It’s not just the poor and the hungry; it’s everybody who has got to have this miracle. And it can happen tonight for all of you.

If you believe in this spirit thing, the miracle will happen, and then you’ll want it to happen again tomorrow.

You won’t be one of these people who says, “Christmas is once a year, and it’s a fraud.” It’s not. It can happen every day.

A Mitzvah

Over coffee recently, my friend, Steve Gershik reminded me of Maimonides’ Eight Levels of Charity- the highest is to help a friend to gain employment (which Steve and Jim have both done for me), or ensure they are not dependent on others. A lesser is to give to an unknown recipient, who also is unaware of the benefactor. Each degree of giving down is less altruistic until the gift is given unwillingly. My goal with Jim is to simply repay many small (and one big) favors he’s done for me over the years. My goal with the Canadian marketing executive is to share something I think would be cool for his firm. In Maimonides’s perspective, it is a middling thing, a small favor.

Reputation Rules

Had Jim asked me to introduce him to someone that I didn’t feel was a good fit, I would have told him. If Jim had been a bad actor in the past and played loose with deliverables, I would have avoided him. This industry, SaaS, and behavioral marketing are too small to screw people over. Everyone is three degrees from one another, so let’s all try and do a small kindness for one another tomorrow and then we’ll want to be like Bill and want that feeling every day.

Contact Per with any questions or comments:

Posted by percaroe

Empowering Your Franchisees for Digital Marketing Success

The relationship between franchisors and franchisees is generally a straightforward arrangement. Franchisees pay an initial investment and ongoing royalties for the right to use a franchisor’s brand and to sell their products. In return, the franchisor provides ongoing operational support, including marketing.

One common challenge franchisors face is how to support their franchisees’ digital communications, such as email and SMS, to ensure the experience is both authentic and effective at a local level, while practical and compliant from an operational perspective. From already strained resources to inefficient processes, to complex technologies and confusing privacy rules—never mind the potential for mistakes—Sageflo can help tackle all these issues and more.

Our distributed marketing platform is an easy-to-use, web-based tool that empowers local teams to create professional, on-brand marketing campaigns quickly and easily, without needing corporate support. It works in tandem with almost every marketing platform on the market and has the necessary built-in functions and guardrails to minimize errors, all while ensuring a consistent experience aligned with global brand guidelines.

Pet Supplies Plus, a franchise-based pet supplies brand and Sageflo customer recently shared their experience using our solution:

Sageflo took our franchise marketing to another level.

Before Sageflo, our franchisees were required to create individual emails for every store owned, making the process of sending community-focused emails incredibly inefficient. Performance reporting on those emails was limited to standard email engagement metrics and again, there was one report for each store!

Sageflo streamlined our franchisees’ marketing efforts, making it easy to communicate with their stores at multiple levels, including district and whole ownership group, and providing access to more robust reporting. At the same time, it has improved the alignment between our corporate marketing team and franchise owners through standardized templates, shared marketing calendars, and targeted segment types.

Sageflo is one of the highlights of our franchise marketing platform at Pet Supplies Plus!”

-Craig Clark, Director of Neighbor Relationship Marketing & Data Analytics, Pet Supplies Plus

If you’re curious to learn more about how we helped Pet Supplies Plus, please read our case study highlighting how Sageflo made an immediate, meaningful, and measurable impact on their franchisee marketing approach.

One of our goals is to make the lives of our customers better. Once up and running, we’re confident your franchisees will thank you for ensuring they have the tools and support they need to thrive. In addition, as the franchisor, it’s a great investment that will help save time and money while adding additional value to the ongoing royalties your franchisees pay to you. Sounds like a win-win to us!

Whether you’re a franchise-based business or need help supporting your through-channel marketing across local teams and partners, Sageflo can help set everyone up for collective success.

Posted by Julian Scott