Franchise Performance Group
Executive Q&A | Franchise Performance Group
A conversation with Joe Mathews, CEO, and Dianna Bailer, vice president of operations.
1851 Franchise: What does the future of franchising look like? What do franchisors need to be aware of?
Joe Mathews: Private equity is coming in fast and hard — it’s very smart and learns quickly.
In the first wave of private equity, companies think they’re buying a consumer brand and then realize the franchise potential. But franchising comes with a different factor, and that doesn’t always mean the company’s done their research.
The second wave of private equity started with bringing in franchisees — people who built personal brands in franchising. They bring in experts to help us find and do deals and become a personality.
The third wave of private equity is now aligning with companies like ours that have staff and intellectual property.
Private equity brings in two things: franchising business unto itself and due diligence on consumer facing models. In the same way that solid companies are as franchisors, Franchise Performance group has the metrics, processes, systems and teams to evaluate that opportunity. Private equity will raise the bar on franchising professionalism and leave marginal clingers exposed. You might be able to fool the brand, you’re not going to fool private equity.
1851: What are Franchise Performance Group’s differentiators?
Mathews: Before FPG, there was no universal understanding of, established best practices for or recognized systems in place for franchising. We’ve worked hard to map out the franchise buyer’s journey to standardize methods for the sales and recruiting processes. We’ve tailored our content and lead generation methods to best reach an interested buyer through solid brand storytelling of what our clients’ franchises can offer and aim to speak to the buyer — not the consumer. With groundbreaking research and attention to the clients’ brand details, we’ve been able to help over 120 brands develop their franchises.
1851: What were some learning opportunities that the brand leveraged to get where it is now?
Mathews: If there’s no content, there’s no conversation.
What does content look like that earns conversation? Well, one of the biggest breakthroughs we’ve had was when we started pushing out a lot of content — mostly SEO focused. As we added more diversified marketing channels we’ve gotten a lot stronger at targeting content to very specific audiences. We’re doing more outbound marketing instead of inbound marketing.
This is particularly relative to a lot of portals — a lot of franchises tend to focus on the absolute top of the funnel with marketing dollars when it comes to generating leads. Just talking about those leads alone, there may be one to two million any given year and when that trickles down it’s only 15,000 actual buyers. You can waste an awful lot of money if you’re putting all of your marketing dollars into generating even a chance at those two million leads when you could be much more effective by having strategic communication with targeted audiences.
It’s at a higher cost per lead maybe, but a much higher cost per close. We measure success based on actual franchise applications. You should aim for franchise applications per month, not leads per month, in your franchise marketing pipeline to support an efficient goal.
1851: What does your ideal client look like?
Mathews: Their value proposition has to be unique, defensible to the marketplace, valuable to the customer, profitable for the franchisee and sustainable for the long haul. Not because it’s what we want but it’s what the market wants.
We want a franchisee-friendly culture, somebody who understands and celebrates risks and contributions that their franchisees make. They understand and use their franchisees as a strategic advantage in the marketplace instead of a necessary evil.
1851: What does Franchise Performance Group have planned for the years ahead?
Dianna Bailer: One thing we’re getting up and running is FPG University. I love to educate people on franchising, and with this program we hope to teach everything about the process: digital marketing, recruiting franchisees and working within franchises. We’re always asking, “How is this something that has not been taught in universities?” We want to pass on everything that we’ve learned, and we want to continue to be able to help the industry in some way.
We’re also looking to start a podcast to talk with CEOs that we see are making great strides within the industry. We want to hear from them about their successes and failures, and about tools that might help others succeed.