Keeping Brand Consistency Up and Costs Down
When Ironmark first partnered with Baltimore caregiving service start-up Senior Helpers® back in 2007, fifteen locations dotted the country. A mere three years later, there were 250 franchises across the U.S. Now the company has 350 locations with offices around the globe.
With that explosive expansion came a massive, urgent need for consistent marketing communications, both internally and externally. Since Senior Helpers’ specialty is senior care, trust is essential. And without a cohesive branding message, it was exceedingly hard to create strong relationships with a rapid on-boarding process, not to mention the constant intake of print request from current franchisees.
Enter Ironmark’s Ecommerce Marketing Platform
This easy-to-use portal is designed to maintain brand consistency 24/7. Franchisees can design and print any product, including business cards and stationary, brochures, folders, signage, caregiver recruitment and training materials, such as DVDs and workbooks.
By leveraging the purchasing power of the entire franchise system, the portal meets cost efficiencies that local printers can’t touch. Ironmark Senior Vice President of Sales Matt Marzullo said, “We’re printing 100,000 brochures at once, but the franchisees are ordering in quantities of 250 or 500, personalized for their location. The print cost is spread out over the entire run, so the unit cost is very low. This platform allows them to take advantage of system size from a cost standpoint.”
So How Does It Work?
The site is extremely user friendly. Information self-populates, and many times franchisees just re-order what’s in their cart. “It’s a tremendous tool from an efficiency standpoint. Franchisees can go online whenever they want, it allows them to work on their own schedule. They’re not waiting to talk to us,” said Marzullo.
Since many locations offer different versions of products based on their geography or set-up, franchisees only see content that's customized for them in the portal. This resource is invaluable because it also shows them how other operators market themselves. And the corporate team can monitor what franchisees are ordering so they can help with marketing when necessary.
Ironmark also helped Senior Helpers create an online ad builder where operators can build custom branded ads tailored directly to their needs. Since many franchisees also get last minute marketing opportunities, the portal keeps them on schedule. Franchisees can produce PDFs and send them off to their local publication’s advertising department — all for free — and without requiring approvals up the chain of command.
The brand is now beautifully synchronized across each of the 350+ locations. Since everything is produced at Ironmark, the colors are exact every time. And the savings are significant. By ordering through the E-commerce system, Marzullo estimates that Senior Helpers is saving 25-30% versus going through local printers.
The Senior Helpers CMO said, “The E-commerce platform has helped Senior Helpers achieve significant growth by providing excellent brand control. We can easily and instantly get good, clear, and consistent communication out to all stakeholders. We’re thrilled with how streamlined and efficient it is for us and the franchisees. The cost-savings are phenomenal.”
Ironmark just attended Senior Helpers’ annual franchise conference in Charlotte -- there were over 500 attendees and 50 vendors. “Ironmark has attended all eleven,” said Marzullo. “The first conference included myself and two other vendors in the back of a room with 15 owners.” Clearly, they’ve come a long way. Now with the E-commerce system in place, the sky’s the limit.