Archive for the 'Business Strategies' Category



13
Sep
12

Health Care and Franchising – A Growing Business Model

ImageHealth care in the United States continues to evolve. With changes forthcoming, and past obstacles still being overcome, health providers are looking for ways to provide better patient outcomes and manage a sustainable business model. However, these are irrelevant if there is no access to care. Coupled with one of the largest issues to come out of the 2011 Healthcare Franchising Conference is the fact that more doctors are retiring than ever before, leading to increased opportunities to deliver a number of health care services through the franchised business model.

In my opinion, franchising give us the access to care, provides quality assurance and creates a sustainable business model for the business owners and providers.

Franchising is at the cross roads of health care and business.

Franchising has successfully evolved thousands of from thriving local businesses into iconic household names. Think: McDonald’s, Chick-Fil-A, Dunkin’ Donuts. The food industry possessed the beginning of the franchise era however, over the years franchising has branched out to include product distribution and services:  The UPS Store, Fantastic Sam’s, Curves. Today we are continuing this evolution. Everything we know about quality assurance, billing, marketing, and program development for franchising is being transferred into health care. It is time to put a greater focus on this transference of knowledge.

When we follow best practices in franchising, we can deliver quality assurance to patients. We can provide practitioners – physicians, nurses, medical assistants and licensed practitioners in many fields, with the ability to focus on service delivery rather than business operations. We decrease costs for service delivery and expand access.

The senior care industry jumped into franchising with great force, and the opportunity can be traced to the aging population. According to A Profile of Older Americans: 2011 developed by the Administration on Aging (AoA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; By the year 2030, one in five Americans will be a “senior citizen.” From 2010 to 2030, the number of baby boomers age 65-84 will grow by an estimated 80 percent while the population age 85 and older will grow by 48 percent. In addition, between 1994 and 2020 the nation’s population of 85 years and older is projected to double to 7 million, and then is projected to increase to 19 – 27 million by 2050. With the number of prospective clients growing exponentially, the franchise home health care/senior care industry is booming and will likely continue to grow.

Other health industries such as emergency care, dental services, chiropractic care, primary care, mental health companies, drug testing business and surgical centers are all growing in prominence in franchising. In essence, any effective healthcare business can replicate its model and begin franchising.

I do not believe we can or should solely rely on the federal government to provide us access to affordable health care. We are a country full of the entrepreneurial spirit and we house some of the best health care providers in the world. When you combine these traits, we have the opportunity to develop great health care franchises that will solve many of our cost and access issues. These solutions are right at our fingertips.

Weise Communications, along with Faegre Baker Daniels and Management 2000 will sponsor the second annual Franchising in Health Care Conference, October 24 – 25, 2012, in Denver Colorado. At this conference, we will cover challenges unique to this industry, including compliance and regulatory issues when across state lines. If you are interested in attending this conference visit our conference site for more information. http://www.franchisinghealthcare.com/ Hurry, the Early Bird pricing ends September 15, 2012.

For more information about how Weise Communications can help your health care company franchise, contact me at tracy@weiseideas.com.

06
Sep
12

Health Care Marketing: Pretty Plus, New Plus Size Children’s Clothing Line

It’s impossible to ignore the childhood obesity epidemic that is evident and growing in the US today. With such a heightened problem at our fingertips, we as a culture are showing our gluttonous opportunistic faces once again.

Pretty Plus is a new clothing line, originating in Sears that tailors to “plus” size children ranging from 3-10 years of age. They offer styles that mirror those of “normal” size children, enabling larger kids to wear the clothing that is in style.

This brand has proven to be a success overnight. So much so, they have intentions to expand into clothing stores such as Old Navy, The Gap and The Children’s Place.

The success of this plus size brand comes with a price. Many people are concerned with the psychological strain the labels of this clothing are putting on the children. There are debates that calling labeling boy’s clothes “husky” or girl’s clothes “pretty plus” is putting a stigma on them from a young age.

Personally, it saddens me that the unfortunate prevalence of obese children can create such a profitable arena for companies, but it is the reality of our world. I commend people such as Michelle Obama with her ‘Let’s Move!’ initiative, Rachael Ray with her Yum-O organization and the NFL’s Play 60 movement, all of which advocate children’s exercise and/or healthy eating to combat children’s obesity.

Being in the advertising world, I praise the Pretty Plus’s marketing strategy of identifying and jumping on a profitable niche market. Being a health care advocate, I see the unfortunate capitalization on the concession of unhealthy children.

Share your thoughts on the new Pretty Plus brand. Do you think a plus size option for children is advantageous or are we moving backward?

15
Aug
12

MOLOSO: Rewarding your loyal customers through mobile and social media

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We’ve heard it over and over again: social media is a great, cost effective way to drive traffic into your business and create better brand awareness.

But what about the people who already know and love your brand? It is time that you show your loyalty customers some love.

First, ask yourself what makes your loyalty customers special and what do you want to accomplish? Do you want them to buy more or buy more often? Knowing your goals and the personality of your target audience is key is determining how likely they will respond to your attempts to reward their loyalty.

Second, do not forget about your social-loyal (SOLO) customers. For example, I am a huge SOLO customer of Dunkin Donuts. I follow them online and as soon as the Denver franchises open I will be a loyal buying customer. Here are a few ways to make your loyalty customers feel special:

Texting: Life revolves around our mobile devices. It has been shown that 73% of Americans send and receive text messages. This is a personal way to reach your loyal customers to offer them exclusive time-sensitive offers, notify them of their membership status and bring them in during your slower hours. Check out these examples:

  • Nail Salon: Monday & Tuesday special: free member only upgrade!
  • Frozen Yogurt: You only need 3 more purchases to qualify for a free 10 oz yogurt!

Facebook, also known as the face of social media, visually advertises your business, and allows you to interact with your followers. Loyal customers want to feel special, and through Facebook you can have conversations with them, give away specialty membership contests and reward loyal customers from their Facebook Check Ins.

Also, do not assume your loyal customers know all of the services you provide. Use Facebook to further advertise add-ons, special events, catering, monthly specials and new offers. If they are following your page, they are interested. They will be excited to know they can get more products and services than they may have thought.

  • Chick-fil-A: they offer their catering information (seemingly less known to the public) and (to date) have 2.4 million people talking about their page, and 6.2 million likes

Foursquare: Nearly half (46%) of American adults are smartphone owners as of February 2012. Foursquare is an app that lets you ‘check in’ at the businesses you frequent. If you go to one place more often than your friends do, you become the “Mayor.” The race to become the Mayor gives customers incentive to go, and to go repeatedly. You can further emphasize this incentive by offering the Mayor free products, upgrades, discounts and invites to exclusive events.

  • Arby’s Mayor special: they get to sit in the “4Square Mayor Booth” and get to taste test new sandwich offerings. They also get the special badge on their Foursquare profile.

Twitter: Tweeting may have less impact on purchasing behavior, but is a great outlet to educate your loyalty crowd. Customer service via Twitter is also useful because it will reach a vast number of customers and show them that you are concerned with their happiness. Exclusive offers for free products can also be advertised through a link to sign up with your membership or by registering to join your clientele base.

  • Morton’s: Peter Shankman tweeted to his 150,000 followers, “Hey @Mortons – can you meet me at Newark airport with a porterhouse when I land in two hours? K, Thanks :)” – and they did!
  • Subway: incredible customer service through conversations with their followers regarding what they like and dislike.

With 12 million Americans using social media daily, you have a high probability that your loyal customers will be reached and appreciative that you have taken the initiative to thank them for being loyal. A little appreciation will keep them coming back, and more importantly, spreading a positive word about your business.

What advice do you have for businesses that are trying to reach their loyal customers? Give us your thoughts from the loyal customer point of view on Facebook at Weise Communications or on Twitter @Weise_Ideas.

10
Aug
12

PowerPoint Fatigue: Is Prezi a Better Presentation Tool?

3 things to consider before you Prezi

Contributed by Weise Communications Art Director, Nusheen Jafari

Poor presentations can have disastrous consequences. Instead of trying to punch up a weak presentation, you may want to consider a new delivery vehicle. Prezi’s zoomable canvas is a creative alternative to a traditional slide presentation. But with all the hype about Prezi, have you really thought about why you’re using it? Here’s three questions to consider before you use Prezi for your next presentation.

1.  Does your presentation really need to zoom?

It is very important to consider the type of content in your presentation. Only consider using Prezi if you plan on taking advantage of the zooming capabilities. Prezi is not designed to organize your information by pages. You must think outside “the slides.”

Take the infamous U.S. Army “Spaghetti Slide” pictured above. It is a perfect example of a type of presentation that cannot be shown in sequential slides. Although Prezi may not have been able to aid the design of the information, perhaps it could have helped deliver that information in a more comprehensible way.

Prezi works great for visual content. It’s great for showing how ideas are connected to one another. It’s easy to zoom down to one point, and then pan over to the next. Its also good for showing how your points all relate to a bigger picture by simply zooming out to show the entire canvas; for example showing a small city then zooming out to reveal the entire globe. Prezi is also great for showing diagrams and processes. The storyline feature lets you create paths and frames to guide you through a journey.

On the other hand, Prezi does not work great for text-based presentations.  If your content is more than four words per slide, Prezi will distract your audience and give them motion sickness. If you need to include bulleted lists ortext heavy information to make your point, PowerPoint or Keynote is the way to go.

2.  Is control over design important to you?

You must be fluid with your design. If you’re the type of person who likes symmetry, with information nicely aligned and perfectly centered, Prezi will frustrate you. Prezi is all about movement and fluidity, if you understand that from the beginning, you will have a much smoother experience with it.

Keep in mind that it takes more effort to control what people see in Prezi, unlike the perfectly outlined boundaries of the page in PowerPoint and Keynote. Remember, Prezi is an open canvas, not a slide-by-slide presentation. You will need to space things out on the canvas appropriately to control what people see in each step.

3.  Do you have it all planned out?

The most important thing to keep in mind when using Prezi is to develop a plan. Storyboard your ideas and think about its connectivity BEFORE you start laying it out.

The limitation about Prezi is that you really can’t preview your presentation until your done building all the parts. So, if you like to build a few slides, then preview the presentation then go back to building, you are in for a very long process. Once you build your path in Prezi, it’s difficult to edit, especially for the person who didn’t think it through in the first place. It’s also important to understand that once you start building, you’ll discover new techniques and decide to change things. However, as long as you aren’t changing the entire path you should be fine.

Make sure you practice using Prezi first; build a fake presentation to familiarize yourself with its design. Get to know its features before you commit to building a specific presentation in Prezi. Believe me, you’ll change the way you plan your presentation once you’ve experienced it.

If you have other tips that you’ve found successful with Prezi, let us know here. Do you have a great Prezi that you’d like to share? Send us the link and we’ll post it on The Side Note. You can share your thoughts on Facebook at Weise Communications and follow us on Twitter at @Weise_Ideas.

10
Jul
12

Franchise Marketing – Craving an Upgrade: Quiznos Launches a New Campaign

Higher prices, higher quality: the Quiznos new philosophy.

In an effort to boost sales, Quiznos is going back to their roots: “high-quality, great tasting food.”

Gone are the days of the $3 Sammies and $4 Torpedoes which were directed solely toward consumer value. They are pushing away from competing by lowering prices, and focusing on their customers’ taste buds. They are creating a craving to come to Quiznos and, more importantly, to come back and come back often. This is serving as an important marketing strategy for the Quiznos future.

The new menu is quality driven. It features more fresh seasonal veggies, natural chicken, savory steak, premium cheeses and even lobster and seafood salad. A menu that ensures a feeling of fresh culinary food, with a price that compliments the quality.

With nutrition education more prevalent than ever, now is the perfect time to give people the quality food they know they should be eating. When healthy meets delicious, people will pay for it.

Franchisees are feeling the love as well. They are now receiving a partial rebate on supply costs of the enhanced ingredients; a program to promote the company’s growth and keep their franchisees on board with the new direction.

Tell us what you think about Quiznos new direction. Is it Mmmmmmm…Good? Share your thoughts here or on Facebook at Weise Communications and follow us on Twitter at @Weise Ideas.

 

03
Apr
12

What’s Easter without a little chocolate?

 

ImageThere are few holidays that are not centered around chocolate and/or desserts, and Easter is no exception.

Mars M&Ms has grasped this reality and flung it into a new mobile marketing advertising campaign to drive sales for the coming holiday.

The M&M mobile ads capture attention with phrases such as, “Make every basket complete. M&M chocolates for Easter,” according to Mobile Marketer. Once they tap on the ad, users are educated on how to incorporate the candies into their Easter dessert recipes. It drives the consumer to a mobile microsite where they are greeted by the infamous M&M characters and step-by-step recipes.

The brilliance of the mobile marketing is its capability to drive on impulse. People who receive the ad when they are already out and about have it fresh in their mind that they should not only buy the candy, but they should do so because they have a recipe that they need it for; making the purchase a necessity, not just a desire.

Next to Valentines Day, Easter is the biggest chocolate buying holiday, and these ‘virtual end caps’ are a bright idea for the spring season.

What recipe will you make with the pastel M&M candies? Give in, it’s Easter.

03
Apr
12

QR Codes – Unfulfilled Potential: The Next Big Thing or Robot Barf

The possibilities seemed limitless. QR codes allow consumers with mobile devices to access great content, in-depth information and a higher level of engagement. Yet, companies consistently botch the execution of QR codes.

Back in August of 2010, The Side Note wrote about QR codes for the first time. The inspiration for that article was a Calvin Klein billboard in New York City linked to a video that could not be aired on broadcast television in the U.S. At that time, we saw QR codes as a cutting-edge way for businesses to reach consumers. Little did we know, the Calvin Klein billboard would be one of the better executions of a QR code. It teased to create interest, it clearly identified the sponsor and it delivered content that could not be accessed in another way.

Frankly, the blame for QR code failure lies with marketers. QR codes are simple to use, however the delivery of content requires more finesse and significantly better execution by marketing experts. Since consumers don’t know what the QR code does before they scan it, companies need to reward them for stepping into the unknown.

These errors are frustrating because the majority of these mistakes are the marketing version of basic blocking and tackling errors in football. We’ve categorized errors into three types: stupid, lazy and ignorant.

  • The stupid… the content linked to the QR code is not optimized for a mobile device – this is forehead smacking stupidity.
  • The lazy… businesses use a QR code to direct consumers to their business website – too boring, you have to include more engaging, exclusive and interesting content; Bonus error: if the website is not mobile optimized – that error is both stupid and lazy.
  • The ignorant… simply putting a QR code on an ad with the assumption that consumers know what to do – a friend recently said to me, “These things look like a robot barfed, what do I do with it?”

A little more about the ignorant errors, you would assume that college students would be on the forefront of innovation. Research company Archrival surveyed 500 students at 24 colleges and universities. In the study, Archrival found that although 80 percent of the students owned a smartphone and had seen a QR code, only 21 percent were able to successfully scan the QR code used in the study. A legitimate argument can be made that preloaded software on smartphones with an easier way to scan the codes will increase understanding and if people understand it, they will use it.

However, I believe that the payoff needs to be better. The content someone receives when scanning a QR code needs to deliver undeniable value. For example, give me a discount on something I want. Make something available to me because I scanned the code that others cannot get. Show me something amazing that I can’t see everywhere else. Too often the result of scanning a QR code (assuming I’m successful) is a massive letdown.

Today, I mostly see QR codes sending me to a standard company website. The same website I can get with a simple Google search. This key insight is most succinctly stated in this article from Sean X Cummings, “People will not adopt a technical solution that serves to replace a manual task, if that solution is less efficient than the manual task it replaces.”

Overall, the message to fellow marketing professionals is…step your game up!




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