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The Right - And Wrong Way - To Launch An App For Your Franchise

In 2011, every franchise needs an app. This goes beyond simply a having a blanket app set-up for the franchisor. I would say every store/agency needs to be integrated into the app network in order to assure maximum consumer visibility.

Of course, many franchisees are intimidated by new technology and have little experience in dealing with mobile marketing. Even if you're a Luddite, you can still have a serious input into your app. Pizza Hut's history in app design is highly instructive for any franchisee or franchisor about to launch an app.

As Pizza Hut CIO Baron Concors told, the first thing that every franchise must decide is what demographic they want to target with their app. Pizza Hut knew it wanted to attract what it called "the college or after-college guy" when it launched its app in 2009. They defined this guy as someone who "lives with his buddies, has no interest in cooking and spends a good portion of his day playing video games. Whatever he wants, he wants it fast and easy. He wants to be fed a lot, and he wants, essentially, on-demand feeding."

But before the launch, they realized they were wrong. Market research told them that as many over-55s used iPhone apps as 13-24 year-olds. They needed to cast their net wider.

Two other points of advice from Concors. Be meticulous in testing your app and make sure you get all the paperwork right. It's a tricky process, but one that can prove especially profitable for your business if you pull it off.

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