Q&A with MassageLuXe CEO and President Kristen Pechacek
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Q&A with MassageLuXe CEO and President Kristen Pechacek

Q&A with MassageLuXe CEO and President Kristen Pechacek

MassageLuXe is a luxury massage franchise brand making waves in the health and wellness space on its way to reaching 100 franchise units. In this deep dive of an interview, former Chief Growth Officer and now CEO & President, Kristen Pechacek, discusses how the brand bridges the gap between franchise development and marketing to ensure growth in the MassageLuXe franchise system.

What excites you the most about the future of MassageLuXe?

Pechacek: MassageLuXe is making a difference in the health and wellness of so many people. It’s one thing to work in or own a business to make a profit, but it’s even better to make a profit and have a purpose. As we surpass the 100 location mark, I am excited that more people get to experience what our spas have to offer. Our affordable and luxurious membership options can assist with physical and mental health challenges, and that’s something that many are in need of. I am also of course thrilled about the growth we have ahead! We have welcomed some remarkable people to the brand who are in the process of opening their spas. There are big things ahead for MassageLuXe!

Can you discuss the role of digital marketing and technology in your franchise development and marketing efforts, especially in the context of recent industry trends?

Pechacek: There are so many ways that digital marketing and technology have assisted us in franchise development and marketing efforts, but I am particularly excited about the work we are doing on CRM to enhance the customer experience both on the franchise development and consumer sides of the business. Automated follow-ups, personalized content offerings, and varied communication channels need to be woven together. In my opinion, it’s no longer enough to just be able to reach the right people. With advancements in targeting, that’s table stakes. You have to nurture people once you’ve reached them, and streamlining that experience is an art that can build trust and brand equity. Tailor your content based on behavior. Personalization is critical.

What unique challenges and opportunities arise when working in both franchise development and marketing within the franchise industry?

Pechacek: In past roles, the largest challenges I have experienced have been in regard to data siloing and gaps in communication. Often times, information sharing cross departmentally is hard to come by. When leads are down, the development team points to the marketing team, and when sales are down, the marketing team points to the development team. It’s a no-win, constant battle exchange, and brands need to start to recognize the divide and work to close the gap.

The development team has no visibility into the marketing metrics, and the marketing team has no visibility into the sales metrics. There is a huge opportunity for the sales team to educate the marketing team on what is working on their end, and there's an opportunity for the marketing team to teach the sales team about what is possible when it comes to advertising.

You have to collaborate for mutual growth.

How do you bridge the gap between franchise development and marketing?

Pechacek: MassageLuXe bridges the gap between franchise development and marketing by advocating that successful and content franchisees play a pivotal role in selling more franchises. Understanding that marketing is a crucial element in the success of franchisees, we aim to break down the silos between the marketing and franchise development departments, which often exist within franchisor offices. This not only creates efficiencies, but also contributes to a consistent and strong brand presence across all messaging and marketing.

How do you leverage your marketing efforts to attract new franchisees, while maintaining consistency with the existing brand identity?

Pechacek: There should always be one voice and one vision to your brand. This is hard to do in some brands when you are attempting to blend franchise ownership with the consumer messaging, but it’s not impossible. Brands that do this successfully go beyond the franchise they are selling. They sell the lifestyle of their franchisees, which is something they often tie to the lifestyle of their customers. What is the “why” behind your brand? A great way to communicate this is by sharing your franchisee stories and testimonials.

Building strong relationships with franchisees is crucial. How do your marketing efforts contribute to fostering such relationships, and what role does franchisee satisfaction play in growth?

Pechacek: I said it once, and I will say it again! Happy franchisees are like golden keys that unlock growth for your brand. Far too often brands focus too much on growth and not enough on franchisee satisfaction. When franchisees are excited about the brand and the business, they become natural brand advocates. They attract ideal candidates, validate for potential candidates, and cultivate a thriving brand with best practice sharing and inspiration.

Marketing is a big part of what drives success for franchisees, and the support that the franchise office offers in marketing is a key difference maker in franchise selection.  After all, if a franchisee has a flood of customers continually seeking them out, chances are they are going to be pretty happy. Our approach to marketing at MassageLuXe is to do as much as we can for the franchisee with our internal marketing agency. We want to make sure our franchisees are focused on the higher level strategy and day-to-day operations of their business.

How do you ensure that your marketing strategies provide franchisees with the tools they need for growth?

Pechacek: One of my personal guides is to ask myself and the team, “Will it compromise the local feel of the business if we do this for them?” If the answer is no, then I want to provide them the option to have us do it for them. A great example of this is a Google search or Meta ad. I don’t want my franchisees having to learn how to place a Facebook ad. If the answer is yes, it will compromise the local feel of the business, then I want to make it as easy as possible for the franchisee to activate on. For example, posting social media content on behalf of our franchisees would make their accounts stale and corporate. So instead, we share a calendar with local social media activation ideas that they can follow or delegate. Another example has to do with the Chamber of Commerce or networking events. We can’t do this for them, so we provide them with a script/talking points that they can use to help make the process easier and less daunting.

What advice would you give to emerging franchise brands looking to establish a strong presence in both franchise development and marketing?

Pechacek: Focus on support and realize that in doing so, sales will become easier. Far too often, emerging franchise brands get too excited and find themselves in a scenario where they have a few locations open and way too many sold. Their support structure falls apart and they are left upside down. There is a reason only 16% of franchises make it past 100 units.

Published: February 5th, 2024

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