Search Interviews:

Jeremy Weisz 14:18 

I’m also surprised that like you said, I would think like most of the times I wouldn’t you put it up and they will come but for McDonald’s, I would expect that because it’s such a known brand. Why do you think it’s decreased? Is it just competition other franchises come in? Because I would think, McDonald’s would be very desirable for people.

Marty Menard 14:42 

Well, and it is desirable, but I think what happened with McDonald’s is because this is a really interesting fact about McDonald’s versus a lot about a lot of the other franchise organizations is that if Chairman brands one of our clients or solo salons who actually is a very successful American franchise, entering Canada, and where they’re at agency to help them on the both national and local level, they’re kind of doing it that traditional way where they’re looking at the regions they want to attach themselves to, we want to grow in Ontario, we want to grow in Vancouver, Alberta, these are our big markets. But McDonald’s doesn’t work like that.

McDonald’s, you don’t get to pick where you go. So if you were living in, let’s just say, Toronto, Ontario, and you want to and you had you pass the application process, and they decide that they’re going to give you the one in Calgary, then you’re moving your whole family, and that’s where you have to go. So it’s a very different challenge. And today, because there’s so many choices, and you can get really successful restaurants for a much smaller buy-in, and you can have a bit more control of your destiny that started working against McDonald’s, Canada and that way, and they needed to diversify that messaging. And one of the biggest challenges was, even though they are over 1,400 restaurants serving almost 3 million Canadians every day, they started also seeing that they were losing diversity was they weren’t getting female entrepreneurs.

They weren’t having, new Canadians were not applying, even though we discovered through our research that 48% of wealth in Canada, in the last decade, is attached to new Canadians, right, and it was a market they didn’t know how to serve. And it goes back to what we talked about earlier, them not taking that first-party data, not doing research ahead of time and just keeping their fingers crossed. So when they wanted to go out and try to appeal to that diverse audience being females, and they only had three or four female franchise owners in Canada, they needed to how do we do that? How do we grow our diversity on female and new Canadians? Because it wasn’t working.

That’s what our whole build it and they will come model, right. So you asked about process and our process has always and forever begins with research. There’s a great expression, I can’t remember the marketer who quoted it. But doing marketing without research is like driving with your eyes closed, I don’t recommend doing it. And that first-party data, when we’re looking at everything from age and gender and income level, and geolocation and education level and new Canadian status, we need to do that work. And they have first-party data, but we can also do that research based on the target they’re going for, that allows us to inform our creative strategy.

I think I said off the top, when you asked me about GIANT, we are a data-driven agency. Data informs everything we do, it’s really easy. I mean, I’ve got a team of fantastic designers and video production will make things look pretty, but it has to resonate with the audience you’re speaking to. So the data has to tell us who we go after that informs our creative strategy. That research informs every decision. I’ll give you a quick example. So we came up with a couple of demographics or buyer personas based on what we discovered in terms of they wanted, they needed 1.5 million liquid, we’re looking for diverse audiences, we’re looking for whatever territories. So then we go out, we test those ads, test, learn, optimize, that’s our approach.

So what we discovered after only a couple months of running the campaigns, we found a new demographic. So we thought we looked at who was engaging with these ads, and we found 35 plus new mothers who had who were on paternity leave or maternity leave, they didn’t want to go back to the corporation, they were looking for new opportunities, they had money, they wanted to work for themselves, and they had a year off to mix decisions. And we were getting an enormous amount of engagement, so that we created new messaging that spoke to them. And in our first 90 to 100 days, we were able to get bring them three new franchise leads that went to the application process, that’s going to be ultimately a million dollars for each one of those right out of the gate.

And their ad spend was significantly smaller than that. So their return on investment was significant. But it was because we did that research, because we tested and optimized. And then that kind of informed every decision from creative to the landing page where we drove the ads to, what kind of content strategy, what was that messaging? And then of course, where we deploy the ads, what platforms were those audiences using? If they’re big used on the Globe and Mail and sharing the ad show up there and so forth. So we’re very, very data-centric, and that’s got all the results in the world. And now we’re talking to a few more of the McDonald’s worldwide about doing the same thing for them now because of that process being successful.

Jeremy Weisz 19:56 

It’s really interesting and I’m glad you kind of brought up the next question I was curious about, which is the creative? What worked? What didn’t, because there’s a lot of moving pieces with these things. I mean, the creative messaging, the landing page, or some of the things that you learn what worked? And what didn’t work with some of these pieces?

Marty Menard 20:20 

Yeah, it’s a great question. And that’s kind of our approach, but test, learn, and optimize. So, go, it’s still talking about McDonald’s, because that was a really interesting one. Because again, I’m going to continue to go back and talk about niche, this is an issue upon niche. So looking for in a country of 38 million people, women and new Canadians, with the wealth needed and the openness to be able to maybe move out of province to another and across the country, that audience was pretty darn small.

But we needed to ensure that the messaging that we would give to a new Canadian, is different than the messaging we’re gonna give potentially, to maybe a female entrepreneur or a family, right? Maybe it’s a couple, right, that comes in that wants to start working together. Oh, then we discover and really the learning I just talked about. We had this creative centered around we did this full campaign, where we went into, we found all of their female and diverse franchise that we could bring to one location. And we formulated this questionnaire and we sat down, we spent a couple of days interviewing them, talking with them, speaking to them about their experience, why was it relevant to them?

What was their story, because really, it’s marketing, it is storytelling. And if you’re going to engage with somebody on a meaningful level, a level enough to go, I’m gonna go and start the application process, knowing full well, this is going to end up being six months of my life to get through to the and I’m going to have to invest a million dollars or whatever that might be. You need to be able to speak to that person in a way that’s relevant to them. So what is relevant to say, Drew, and Lisa in Nova Scotia, who run a friend who run a McDonald’s franchise, why did they do it? What is special about McDonald’s and the way they treat them, and how the organization runs, how’s it made their lives better?

What are their goals, how have they achieved those goals, and so on, and so forth. And then we create a content strategy around that where we showcased, we leverage the power of video, because it’s still one of the most powerful tools, and you can get so much more across in a very short period of time. And we just shined a light on that information. And then we took that, and drew our messaging and our content strategy around that. So it continued to shape and reshape and the first example was that learning where we weren’t at all advertising to new mothers who are on maternity leave.

And that was a really interesting learn. So then we created content and messaging, and that messaging might even just be the imagery that’s in a static ad, or a small animated ad, where that just speaks to someone, that woman at home small child beside her, and the messaging is going to be different than the message that’s going to a diverse audience out of Alberta. That’s a new Canadian that’s come in to the country looking for opportunities. That’s a whole different message, right? So it’s really fun, how that research can inform the creative. And we’re really excited by one of our big things we do with our clients is we make these initial — we take the research, we take the data, and we come up with these initial idea these personas, but we’re never glued to anything, we do not have an ego about what we do.

We’re quite the opposite, right? We want to go every month ago, this is what we learned. This was exciting. And this is what we thought was gonna work and we were wrong. That didn’t work as much. Over here, we want to double down on this messaging and this this a be tested because test ads be just they killed it for us. Look at the different level of engagement, right? So let’s create some more content that supports that message because we know it works. And that’s an ongoing process for us month after month. When you combine that with leveraging the actual data and be able to use the remarketing and I’m sure you know what remarketing is, anybody who’s listening.

If you’ve ever Googled to looking for a certain brand name, you want to buy a new pair of shoes or boots, and then everywhere you go, all these ads are showing follow your ad that’s remarketing. I know it could drive people crazy, but it’s our bread and butter.

Jeremy Weisz 24:24 

Actually, I like it because it’s almost like a bookmark for me I like when they, that maybe that’s weird. I like being remarketing to because like click on it, and I’m gonna forget to go back to it. And so I’m like, oh, cool, the remark that’s fine. Like it’ll come up because I do actually want to buy something and I just maybe don’t have the time right then. So I click there to research it. So as a consumer, I actually like it. Personally.

Marty Menard 24:52 

I’m the same way because I don’t want to be fed stuff that’s not interested to me that’s not interested to me or products that don’t matter me, though I’m completely comfortable with it as well. I think generationally, I mean, I’m an older guy, as you can tell from, I used to be salt and pepper, but it’s all salt now, in the hair and beard. My generation tends to be the ones that don’t embrace it as much. But if you’re 30 years old, and under, it’s normal. And they feel the same way that you do, Dr. Jeremy, everyone we speak to all the research tells us people love being fed content that is meaningful and important to them and in their interests.

And things if that’s what they want, they do not want to be fed things that are interesting to them. So if you’re searching it, if you’re talking and your phone picks it up, if you’ve clicked on an ad, they shown interest, so talking to them again, and following them around to kind of hopefully draw get to that conversion. We don’t get any pushback. And I think that really speaks to why it’s such an effective way to drive conversions. Remarketing is a big part of our strategy. And it does produce great results. And I think it speaks to people feeling the exact same way that you do.

Jeremy Weisz 26:04 

I want to hear about, through the research, you discover obstacles, like why people are not converting or getting further in the process. And I would love to hear what obstacles you found. And we could talk specifically at McDonald’s. But I do want to point out, I love that you talked about the niche. And then because of that niche, you can speak directly to that person, and you can speak directly to their wants and needs. And I did an episode with Corey Quinn. He was CMO of Scorpion and helped grow them from 20 million to 150 million. He talks exactly on this niche topic, but from the research phase, what are some of the opposite? I mean, I could see the okay, you have to invest over a million dollars, that’s obviously an obstacle. But what are some other obstacles that you found that were holding people back?

Marty Menard 27:04 

Oh, my goodness, there are so many, and some of them are much more obvious. So, you could see this, I’m trying to make sure that I’m parsing my words carefully. But you can see this on many of franchise organizations website, any organization that has offers franchising for their restaurant, for their clothing store, whatever it might be, whatever their business is, they’re going to probably have a franchise page. And one of the first things we do before we touch a client is we audit all of their digital assets, all of the collateral in general around whatever we’re going to be doing for them. So for driving franchise leads, as an example, then we are going to go out and do a complete audit of everything. And we’re going to start to understand what those obstacles are.

And some of the biggest obstacles are really when you see the largest bounce rates that we brought on a client recently that was before us getting really decent traffic, but their bounce rate was over 86%. And that bounce rate is that that’s the first stumbling block and roadblock. Why did they not fill out a form? Why did they not engage further? Why when they hit that website or landing page did they not find it and they only spend six seconds there or less? Why couldn’t we get them on a minute. And there’s a number of different things that can come up. So one of the biggest things we see is that the ads themselves that are driving conversion, they either don’t go to a landing page, they just go to the website of that company, an organization.

So right away, the person’s going, hey, I saw an ad that said I can open up a certain territory. They’re waving a franchise fee. And then they click on that. And what they get is completely different messaging, and the moment the messaging and from the ad to the website, whatever the landing pages is different, people are gone. People right away, go, this is not what I’m looking for, because they’re literally, no one very rarely outside of a couple organizations are shopping for one brand, they’re looking at a variety of brands. So they want to know what that experience is like. And the moment they don’t get that information right away that ad, I promise they bounce.

The other thing they see we see all the time. And this is definitely around not just franchise lead, but we see it with clients that sell a certain service, the form that you have to fill out, maybe you’ve done this, where you’re Googling something, you go to a website, and you want to book a consultation and the form is like seven, eight, nine 10 fields long and they require all this information. And you know, people just go I’m not filling this out. I just want to get my name. Send me some info. Right.

Jeremy Weisz 29:52 

Well, it’s funny because even with reaching out and be like, “hey, Marty, I’d love to have you on the podcast.” I try to make it as simple as possible because everyone’s busy and easily be like, I’ve seen forms that are insane. As being a gasp like, why you’re making people fill this out, that’s crazy, like, busy people are just don’t want to deal with it, you know, they may be really interested, but they don’t want to deal with it. So I totally get it this, this applies to every market.

Marty Menard 30:24 

Every single market. And we’re at the point now where it’s also unnecessary. I think that’s what’s really interesting about the franchise organization, and it definitely falls in the nonprofit side we’ve seen as well, is there’s too much friction to get the information you need. And people just don’t have the time as you say, but they’re also they’re conditioned to go, there’s plenty of sites out there that will give them what they want. So they’re not going to waste time on yours if you’re not meeting that for them. We had a recent Okay, really interesting example would be solar salons, who has, I think over 700 locations at this stage throughout the United States, and five in Canada, they just entered. But this is a classic example of they’re shooting themselves in the foot in terms of all of their conversion.

Jeremy Weisz 31:13 

They have a bunch in Chicago too.

Marty Menard 31:15 

They do. They’re huge organization, extremely successful, and wonderful. People love working with them. But if you go to their Canadian website, which doesn’t exist, and you want to select a location, it’s something as simple as select state, you have to find Ontario understate not province, you know, just these little details that get missed that have a huge impact on, I’m not that person.

Jeremy Weisz 31:39 

People are like, what’s the o n? Like I’m searching through the states.

Marty Menard 31:42 

That’s right. And it really erodes trust, right. And I think that’s the big one. And also, and this goes back to something we talked about earlier. Even the websites that have good forms, does the messaging from the key messages from the headlines to the first pieces of information you see whether it be visual, like video or photography, whether it be stats, whether it just be copy, is it speaking to the target audience that you’re driving there, that’s probably one of the biggest canyons between what you’re putting an ad out, and you don’t even know who your target audience is, and what they care about. And then you drive them to a landing page to fill out a form and none of the messaging speaks to their needs.

That’s one of the biggest education pieces that we have to do for franchise organizations. And if so, if you go to McDonald’, a site that we built the landing page we built, we had to work very hard over months just to develop that content to ensure that it’s very targeted and very niche. But that’s why we got the huge engagement. I mean, month one, we drove something like 9000 clicks, we generated over 800 leads and got 25 applications in our first four weeks. And it’s not that we’re, I’m going to toot our own horn, but it just speaks to the power of removing those impediments. Taking those learnings and applying them in a way that is going to make the engagement that much stronger for whoever your customer is.

Jeremy Weisz 33:17 

What made you want to start the agency in the first place?

Marty Menard 33:21 

Oh, my goodness, how much time do we have Dr. Jeremy? And I love calling you Dr. Jeremy, by the way, it’s just way too much fun to say. So, at heart I’m an entrepreneur. And as I said, my business partner and I, we’ve had our own businesses separate from one another. And marketing as an entrepreneur with my own business is no different than you, you learn that you have to market your own business, right? And you start to develop this relationship with marketing in a way that it’s, the reason why it’s called sales and marketing, right? And it’s still a good how to, even though you’d be surprised how many times the sales department in the marketing department in organizations don’t communicate very well. But small entrepreneurs understand that those things are intricately tied.

So as I got better and better at marketing, my businesses through my own endeavors and trial and error. Marketing became a real — I just developed an acumen, made some connections, and I started working for agencies and the last agency I was at before I formed GIANT with my business partner was an agency that was built around franchise marketing. And I love everything about marketing. I love sales. I love business. I mean, my title is President and Chief Business Development Officer, but that really just means I’m the head sales guy. And I love it. I love going out communicating. I love networking. I love talking to people. It’s what fuels me all day. Sitting in front of a computer, it’s not what I want to do. I want to be out I want to be networking. I want to do panels. I want to be speaking.

I want to engage with people and see how I can help them, and so marketing became something that was really a good fit. Because I knew what I was selling, I was selling an opportunity to deliver on a promise. Every company out there, their marketing really, at its core is delivering on the promises they make. And I love helping them do that. So it became something I really love, but then, you’ll work for somebody else. And the ceiling can sometimes be a glass ceiling. And Andrew, my business partner, now he had his own agency at the time under a different name. And it was very much a video production content agency.

And I had hired him by their agency, and we really clicked and what’s really engaging, or what’s interesting, I mean, is, this was like, in COVID, like we built and launched our business in COVID, of all things. And I was unhappy that agency, because I wasn’t getting the growth opportunities I was looking for, he was producing great content and was really, he would handle these beautiful pieces of content, long-form or short form video to organizations, and then just watch nothing happened with it. And him and I shared those value systems of wanting to take it to the next level and really support and, and help this, you know, help the client.

So, we kind of came together and felt like, you know, maybe we could grow an agency together. I’ve got enough experience as an entrepreneur. I’ve been an agency life now for 10 years. He’d been a content producer his whole career. Why don’t we do this. And so, and of course, just as we’re talking about it, COVID happens. And there’s literally four of us, right? There’s myself, Andrew, we had one guy who was a designer, and we had a part-time production coordinator at a part-time. So the five of us editor, and Andrew was a big part of producing the content. So there was four or five of us. And in our first three and a half years to where we are now we’ve grown from low six digits annually to mid seven digits, we grow from four people to over 25 staff.

And we went literally from three or four local organizations to be able to work with national brands, both in Canada and United States. And it’s been a really exciting ride. But I think in my heart, I’m a sales guy. And I love building relationships and networking, and being able to help them deliver on that promise. Because if they get success, I get success. And that’s such a wonderful relationship to have, with the people with my clients or my friends, we just got taken out for a wonderful night by one of our successful clients, and they treated us so well. And I’ve got relationships that are friendships and that have grown out of being able to help them deliver on their promises and get success and that fuels Andrew and I and our team every single day. So we just love doing it.

Jeremy Weisz 37:58 

Love it. Marty, I have one last question. And I just want to thank you for sharing your story and journey and lessons and people can check out to learn more. My last question is tattoos. And I’m always wondering, there’s always significance behind that. So I know at the very beginning, before we hit record, you’re like, I’m not telling anything personal. No, I’m joking around. But, but I’d love to have you share just some of the significance of any of the tattoos that you have?

Marty Menard 38:39 

Well, that’s a really interesting question. And what I wasn’t ready for, but I’m very happy to answer my friend. As far as personal questions go, that’s the best one you could have asked me. So I mean, I get as I said earlier, I’ve been around a while. So some of these tattoos, they’ve been with me for a long time. And for me what I love about I’m a big music lover, I came from the arts as a young person, my background, and I love any form of and I think this is tied to marketing and why I like it so much. I love communication. And I think, when something’s important to you, I resonate with the idea of putting it on my body, as many people do, really, I mean, that’s not uncommon. I’m not an anomaly in any way. I’m very much part of the norm.

So I remember, I got a really interesting one. That is the first couple of lines, one of the first tattoos I ever got, and it’s almost impossible to read now. But I was reading the Nelson Mandela autobiography, and there was this wonderful quote he used for Marianne Williamson that he used in his speech when he became prime minister after everything he had went through and, it resonated with me on such a meaningful level. And it’s “our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.” And I swear to you as a 20-something-year-old, that hit me like a ton of bricks, it made me realize that, hey, my insecurity doesn’t come from a fear of failure.

My insecurities come from a fear of success and the responsibility that success means. It’s easy to not do well, that’s the easiest thing in the world, right? It’s a challenge. It’s costly getting up and trying every single day, and loving yourself to do that enough, and enter it to value yourself and the people you want to surround yourself with. And that really hit me hard. And that was one of the first things I ever put on my body, you know, however many years ago now 25 or more years ago, and that’s one of them. And then of course, I’ve got, I’m a proud father of a almost 10-year-old daughter, and of course, her name I got tattooed on me when right after she was born, maybe a month old, there’s a picture somewhere on my Facebook of her laying on my lap as someone tattooed her name into my arm and, and then I extended that with a huge shoulder tattoo that is a giant monkey in a tree with eyelashes sticking your tongue out because monkey is her nickname.

And people know her as monkey so my whole arm and she knows that’s her. And so and it’s those kinds of things that let’s see the shoulder. Oh, my goodness. The bicep isn’t what it used to be, my friend. But you can see if you can see up front here, the eyelashes and the tongue sticking out that really speaks about who my daughter is. She’s an absolute monkey. So yeah, these things are very important to me. And they’re not arbitrary. Nothing on me is arbitrary. Everything has a story.

Jeremy Weisz 41:41 

Yeah, I love it. Marty. Thank you so much everyone, check out And we’ll see everyone next time. Thanks, everyone.

Marty Menard 41:49 

Thank you guys. Thank you Dr. Jeremy.