At Marketing Trends, we are discovering what drives Australia’s top marketers. Jim’s Group is Australia’s largest franchising family with more than 4,300 franchisees across 45 plus divisions. Franchises are in extremely high demand, with the company having over 320,000 unserviced leads in 2021 alone.
We chat with Jim's Group Chief Digital and Marketing Officer Joel Kleber about the COVID-19's booming impact on demand, generating measurable results from social media and how the company keeps ahead of trends across the industry.
Career & professional background
How did your career in marketing start?
I started in 2019 after seeing our social media accounts being poorly managed and the Jim’s Group brand as standing not having much online presence. So I dabbled with our accounts for a while, and Jim saw a good reaction and made me our marketing manager pretty much straight away.
Previous to that, I started as a 2-day a-week law clerk whilst doing law/commerce, then set up Jim’s Insurance and was in charge of our documents/legal department before moving into my CDO/CMO role.
If you hadn't pursued a career in marketing, in which other industry do you think you might be in?
I honestly would be doing a Jim’s franchise, they have a great lifestyle and make great money.
Could you tell us about your role as CMO / CDO at Jim's Group?
Since 2019, we have had our best growth with franchisee numbers for a very long time, and it’s been mainly due to our social media presence and 1000’s of videos we have produced being fully transparent with our franchise system.
We know this has been the main reason because we survey our new franchisees in training, and they all sight that they have watched 10 #ASKJIM Facebook lives or watched countless videos on our social or YouTube channels.
Our problem isn’t B2B leads, in 2021, we had 320k unserviced leads and actually refunded over a million dollars of franchisee marketing money back to them as we couldn’t spend it. We don’t have a customer lead problem in Jim’s, we have a 'not enough franchisee problem'.
Marketing & Industry Trends
What type of impact has COVID-19 had on your industry?
We have done really well out of it, with the great resignation being the main drive for it and the increased demand for our services making it a very attractive option for anyone.
What is the most exciting trend or innovation happening in your field in terms of growth?
We have been going very hard with short-form content on TikTok, Instagram reels and Meta reels. This has been great for us in gaining some awareness about what we do at the top of the funnel peaking someone's interest in us and then they will research us more online and enquire. Actually being about to generate franchise sales from our TikTok channel has been very exciting and something very unique in franchising that not many other franchise brands are doing.
Our transparent social media content which we have created has had the biggest impact for us. Also allowing our franchisees to run their own social pages has been great for us, in having our franchisees be our brand champions. We even have a pool care franchisee who is a TikTok influencer now with the largest pool care account in the country with more than 200k followers and 150 million views.
As a marketer, what do you believe is the biggest challenge facing your industry in the future?
Boards and senior management who don’t understand the value of regular video content and investment in social media. Being able to provide a concrete ROI based on marketing activities.
Tools, recommendations & sources of inspiration
What does a typical day look like for you? How do you structure your week?
My day can be so varied, we are in training week now with more than 100 franchisees on-site. So we do interviews with people in training, video Jim speaking with franchisees, I do a presentation on social media and host a Facebook Live show with our new franchisees in training.
Other than that I run all Jim’s Group, Jim’s Mowing and Jim Penman social accounts myself and are constantly creating content with my internal videographer/editor. We also spend one day a week in the field interviewing franchisees for stories. I also deal with multiple agencies who are looking after our SEO, PPC, EDM’s etc. I also host our Jim’s Group corporate box at Marvel Stadium, with means entertaining franchisees for 2 or 3 games a week. My week is full-packed, like most people’s. I also do a lot of Jim’s initiatives, currently working on Jim Coin (our own cryptocurrency, believe it or not!).
What brands do you take inspiration from?
There is no one in franchising doing anything innovative from a content point of view so I actually take a lot from sporting teams' digital departments, who are always creating unique and great behind-the-scenes (BTS) content that we try to replicate here.
Software and tools recommendations: what is the one software you can’t work without and why?
Slack, I live on this and manage all of my teams via it. Couldn’t live without this one.
What are three resources you would recommend to anyone working in your field?