Papa John's Needs a Better Online Ingredient!

If you have watched your television over the past few months, you have seen Papa John's Founder John Schnatter delivering his pizza's all over the country. In Papa John's latest press stunt they were in Chicago setting a world record for the world's highest pizza delivery at more than 1,300 feet. Schnatter planned on delivering more than 100 slices of pizza to the ledge at the Skydeck Chicago.

This is truly a great promotion. They have blended radio appearances, press releases, a well crafted television campaign, @PJsidekicks tweet their upcoming locations, and a great story that is on every Papa John's Box Top.

Papa John's is out and about, but they are missing a key online marketing ingredient... LOCAL MARKETING! Papa John's set up is similar to many existing companies that look for expanded growth in the food industry. They have corporate owned locations and franchised locations all across the country. When you try to take a national product and spread it across corporate budgets and then down to the franchise level some pieces get lost.

Today more than ever the complexities of the local space can also play a large role in how a company manages listings across all of their stores. Let's start off with the first piece.

Papa John's corporate headquarters is located in Louisville Kentucky. If you search for pizza delivery in Google you will see that Papa John's is nowhere to be found in the Google One Box. You can find Boombozz Pizza and their big rival Pizza Hut. Before @PJSidekicks writes another tweet they should jump onto Google and claim their free listing. Miriam Ellis posted a great article on "How to Claim Your Google Maps Listing". Adding your listing to Google Maps isn't that complex, especially utilizing a data file or bulk uploads. The complexity comes when the listing has already been claimed.

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Franchisee's take pride in their stores and want to spread the word. Aside from Google having a "claim your listing" so does every other online directory out there. A franchisee might claim a listing on Yelp, Merchantcircle.com, Yellowpages.com, superpages.com and a slew of other locally driven sites. This adds to the complexity and the confusion of the brand. If a franchisee accidently adds a listing that says Papa John Pizza, or Papa John's of Maryland LLC. and then you multiply this mistake by hundreds of owners then you have a local oil spill to clean up! Papa John's needs to implement a top down system to ensure each franchisee is providing the correct corporate branding or let the franchisor take control.

In Papa John's case you can find

    Papa John's Pizza
    Papa John
    Papa John's
    Papa John S Pizza
    Papa Johns
    Papa John's Pizza
    Papa John S
  1. Keyword insertion and messaging are extremely important - of the over 3,000 listings for Papa John's only about one third are populated with keyword information. If someone is searching for a thin crust or specialty pizza Papa John's might not be found in the local directories.
  2. Hours of operation, parking and credit cards accepted should all be listed direct from the Franchisee or the corporation. Too often Google is crawling a third party provider site and displaying wrong information.
  3. Last on the list is tying the search campaign into their current promotional "papasroadtrip.com" campaign. At the time of writing this article I searched for keywords like "papa's camaro contest" and "papasroadtrip.com". They are displaying top organically, but it wouldn't hurt them to bid on promotional terms for extra emphasis on the campaign.

It doesn't look like Papa John Schnatter has made it to Baltimore but, if and when he does, he is more than welcome to visit my home and I'll do a little local marketing for a Papa's Thin Crust Hawaiian Pizza. Better online ingredients makes a better online search experience.


July 28, 2009





President and Founder Local Roll Call.

Local Roll Call is a search listing provider and consulting firm dedicated to helping businesses get in front of consumers and understand the complexities of the local search landscape. Carberry formed the company after realizing that many businesses large and small don't understand the depth of local search optimization across the search engines and vertical/yellow page directories.

Dave has worked in Search Engine Marketing since 2000 and has worked with organizations ranging in size from small businesses to the Fortune 100. Dave is actively involved in the SEM Community. He speaks regularly at various search marketing and online focused conferences and is a member of SEMPO and the IAB.

A recognized expert and educator in online marketing, pay-per-click advertising, search optimization and local search. Prior to starting Local Roll Call Dave was Director of Feed Management and Search at Advertising.com and Platform-A, delivering new opportunities to clients on an ongoing basis with Consumer Shopping Engines, Paid Inclusion Programs and Cross Channel Feed dispersion.

Dave also served as Vice President of Sales and Marketing for The G3 Group. Dave has launched several successful start-up business ventures during his career, including WJFK-AM, Targetware.com and InstantPosition.com.  He and his two children have also written and self published two children's travel books. Where Was I? New York and Where Was I? Washington D.C.






Comments(4)

Great article and great research. I can see how this type of problem can grow exponentially for businesses with multiple locations. Now excuse me while I go order some breadsticks!

I'm constantly amazed at the major chains who don't take advantage of local search engine marketing. Its time consuming overall, but if each individual owner did their own location it wouldn't take long. The major chain could then monitor the listings to make sure the owners or managers followed through with everything. Especially pizza chains. Think of all the dorm rooms filled with college kids ordering pizza. And when they are new to a school in a new location, their first act will be to google pizza.

I have also noticed that a lot of the big chains are truly getting their butts kicked by the local boys in Local Search, not only Papa Johns but Donatos and Dominoes too! Here is an example, where a small pizza shop named BridgeStreet Pizza is on the same corner as national shops Donatos and Dominoes, but kick their butts in the Yahoo Local results, http://local.yahoo.com/results;_ylt=Ajcoskr4ORVDyqcpuFTW8.qGNcIF;_ylv=3?p=Pizza&csz=Dublin%2C+OH

I only take pride in this, bc I helped make it happen. Score one for the little guys!

Some good points here.

Marketing firms and marketing dept execs can net big bucks and sincere attaboys for dreaming up promos like 'the World's highest pizza delivery'.

Simpler steps, like taking advantage of local search, just aren't sexy and are often ignored because there wasn't a chapter on it in business school.

Thanks for posting it.

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