Thursday, April 3, 2014

Tim Hortons Brews Big Marketing Plans

A coffee-and-donut legend across Canada, Tim Hortons has been working hard since 1985 to gain a loyal following in US markets. As of mid-2013, it had more than 800 franchised outlets in America, compared with 3,600 franchised outlets in Canada.

Now that the restaurant company is about to turn 50 in May, it's brewing up bigger marketing plans for large-scale expansion on both sides of the border. By 2018, Tim Horton franchisees will open 100 stores in Youngstown, Ohio, Fort Wayne, Ind., Fargo and Minot, N.D., and St. Louis, part of the company's goal of having 300 new American stores and ringing up $50 million in profit from US operations within five years.

In Canada, Tim's franchisees will open 500 new stores by 2018, including many that are not traditional retail establishments. “We’ve come to the end of building new restaurants as we’ve known it in the past,” the CEO recently told the Globe and Mail. Instead, the marketing plan calls for more kiosks and small outlets inside other businesses or institutions like hospitals.

To support the marketing plan, CMO Bill Moir brews up a variety of marketing campaigns and messages geared to specific target audiences. He tells Marketing Magazine in Canada: "There are five different ways we actually speak about coffee. So it gets to people who want to hear not necessarily all those messages, perhaps, but it’s important that they get them all."

Tim's US division is using social media to build momentum across America, including Twitter (nearly 9,500 followers), Facebook (nearly 120,000 likes), and Youtube. (Above, Tim's "Harlem Shake" video.)

In Canada, Tim's social media initiatives are engaging brand fans through activities such as contests and Facebook votes on reintroducing beloved menu items.

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