Interview with Tom Horler - President of RTOWN Communications


Oct 07, 2011

RTOWN President, Tom Horler, has a track record that demonstrates several successes in developing and deploying regional, national and global marketing, advertising and promotional strategies for clients, franchise locations and international corporations.

Tom is a creative, innovative and inquisitive executive with a unique combination of ad agency, corporate international and franchisee experience. He excels in marketing communications and cooperative marketing efforts between franchisees and franchisors. He has demonstrated strategic marketing prowess, including the “Play Monopoly at McDonald’s” promotion, which still runs annually today and delivered the largest recorded promotional sales lift in McDonald’s history.

Recognized for developing and implementing creative solutions that transformed regional and national markets worldwide, Tom is a collaborative leader focused on building consensus, instilling ownership and achieving results.

Civic and community leadership experience includes; Chairman of the Board of the Whistler Chamber of Commerce, Whistler Businessman of the Year 2007, Bid Ambassador for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, Vancouver Bid Corporation.

BeTheBoss: Tell us about the RTOWN Communications concept.

Tom Horler: RTOWN Communications is a major Canadian player in the Digital Out Of Home (DOOH) industry. We are a media services company that specializes in delivering advertising through a menu of media platforms that get noticed, inform audiences, and consequently influence actions.

DOOH media spending is growing rapidly and will hit about $4.5 billion according to a new report from Adcentricity. Projections from the “Digital Out-of-Home Outlook & Planning Guide” indicate that DOOH media spending will rise about 57% between 2009, when it reached $2.6 billion, and 2013 ($4.53 billion estimate). ?Final figures for 2010 are not complete, but DOOH spending is predicted to reach $3.08 billion, an 18% year-over-year increase. This is projected to be followed by $3.56 billion in 2011 (15.5% YOY), $4.05 billion in 2012 (13.8% YOY), and about a 12% YOY increase in 2013.

In ten years RTOWN's network has grown to currently operating in 12 markets across Canada and the Caribbean registering current reach of over 4.5 million impressions a week. Plans are in place to grow to over 110 markets by 2014.

Further to that, the company is set for a sustained period of growth though an increase in sales of its proven franchise model into markets across North America. With over a 1000 market potential the company has an addressable market size of over $100 million dollars.

The long term goal is to be the dominate player and build a global company that provides a technology intensive service through a combination of organic growth, acquisition and merger.

With print media spending plunging 18.5% in 2009, we at RTOWN firmly, believe that,"The future isn't what it used to be"...........Yogi Berra

BTB: How and when did you become involved with RTOWN?

TH: I first became involved with RTOWN actually as a customer. I owned and operated the McDonald's franchises in Whistler, and Pemberton, British Columbia. I needed an effective cost efficient way to reach both locals and tourists. After questioning the effectiveness of print I turned to RTOWN's innovative mediums. I purchased both RTOWN TV and RTOWN Theatre and was very happy with the results!

BTB: What was your background prior to joining RTOWN?

TH: Prior to joining RTOWN I was a multi unit McDonald's franchisee. Before that I was a senior marketing executive with McDonald's Corporation experienced in positions in Canada, USA, and throughout Asia.

BTB: What are some of the advantages in being a RTOWN franchisee?

TH: The entry cost is extremely low. We have a network of seasoned head office professionals and franchisees willing to mentor you along the way. Our training is second to none and is totally complete from day of signing to, "On air date". And you are provided with the most technically advanced, tested leading edge proven technology available, both software and hardware.

BTB: Who is your ideal franchisee?

TH: Anyone who has a desire to be on the inside of the fastest growing advertising media in North America. Ideally the franchisee would have a sales background in the market they would be interested in.

BTB: Tell us a little about the Digital-out-of-home market?

TH: Digital out-of-home refers to dynamic media distributed across placed-based networks in venues including but not limited to cafes, bars, restaurants, health clubs, colleges, arenas and public spaces. DOOH networks typically feature independently addressable screens. DOOH media benefits location owners and advertisers alike in being able to engage customers and/or audiences and extend the reach and effectiveness of marketing messages. It is also referred to as Digital Signage.

DOOH also includes stand-alone screens, kiosks, and interactive media found in public places. The availability of inexpensive LCD screens with built-in media players has opened the door for companies to add interactive video messages in Point of Purchase (POP) Displays. The displays allow consumers to get additional information at the moment of decision on a product or service.

DOOH media spending will rise about 57% between 2009, when it reached $2.6 billion, and 2013 ($4.53 billion estimate).

BTB: What are some of the greatest lessons you’ve learned in growing this franchise?

TH: There is no limit to how fast this industry is growing and the attention it is getting from media buyers both nationally and locally as well as progressive retailers.

More than 86% of media planners said that they intend to include digital out-of-home in their media plans in 2012, which is up from 65% who said they had included the medium in their plans in 2010. These figures represent a 2 year gain (2010 to 2012) of 32% among key advertising decision makers.

BTB: Do you have a mentor and is their someone you use for inspiration?

TH: Yes the founder of RTOWN, Don McQuaid who over ten years ago had a, "Before it's time" type of vision and Ray Kroc who coined the phrase “None of us is as good as all of us".

BTB: What advice do you have for someone looking to acquire a Franchise?

TH: Speak to existing franchisees to get their perspective of the business !! This goes for any franchise organization you are investigating!!

BTB: In your opinion, why do you think that RTOWN Communications would be a great opportunity for someone?

TH: As the leading franchisor of Digital-out-of home media networks RTOWN Communications is built upon a solid industry reputation and can show the right individual with a lot of hard work how he or she can enjoy an incredible opportunity.

To quote one of our franchisees....."I love being an RTOWN business owner because it has provided a unique opportunity to combine my personal interests and lifestyle with an exciting, fascinating, and innovative business. What could be better than working with and promoting the people, places, and activities that you are personally passionate about! I've lost count of how many times I've said, "I love what I do!" Mike Benedek - RTOWN Vernon/Kelowna, BC.....On air 2010