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Are consistent, engaging and impactful online experiences delivered through branded websites one of your New Year’s resolutions? Do you aspire to offer continually refreshed franchise content with product, seasonal and national promotion information to your franchisees in 2017? How about local autonomy and customized, location-based experiences? If you answered yes to these questions, acquiring a software-powered marketing platform should be at the top of your to-do list this year.
Now that you’ve decided that you’re ready to join the ranks of the digitally empowered and software savvy, you’ll want to do your due diligence, researching all of the speeds, feeds and features of the plethora of digital marketing platforms available. You may feel as if you have the answer, but hold on just a second. Before you sign on the dotted line – do you really know what you’re getting? Hint: it’s about more than just software.
Looking beyond feature sets is critical. Areas of importance that should also be evaluated include relationships, infrastructures, agreements/contracts, and warranties. Ask yourself: do you trust the people selling this to you? That’s where company values – one of the biggest intangibles of all – come into play. The human element can’t be downplayed when your business is on the line.
So, what are some of the less obvious things to look for when sizing up a marketing platform? You would be remiss to not ask the following questions:
- What kind of post-installation support is included?
- Is there a limit on number of support hours used per month?
- Is there an additional charge for support?
- Is there a guaranteed uptime?
- When does scheduled maintenance occur?
- Is there a maintenance window notification?
- Who owns the code?
- Who owns the data?
- Are self-help resources available (i.e., FAQs, tutorials)?
- How easy (or difficult) is it to get a live person on the line?
- When is customer service available – what are the Help Desk’s hours of operation?
- How are problems reported?
- What is the average response time to reported problems?
- Has a dedicated customer service rep been assigned to you?
Answers not forthcoming? That should be a red flag. Spelling out expectations in advance and following through on what is promised are other key things to keep an eye on when selecting a marketing platform provider.
OK, you’ve got your list (you’ve even checked it twice) – congratulations! You’re well on your way to building your business and setting up your franchisees for success.
Steve Press, President of Primero Systems, is instrumental to the company’s software development success. Steve is a product visionary, overseeing the development of content management solutions and operationally-vital business systems. He is the principal designer of Primero Systems’ powerful web CMS platform, Webtreepro, which seamlessly manages and publishes content across any number of sites to help franchise organizations thrive in the digital age. For more information, visit www.primerosystems.com.