At the forefront of any good business model is a great marketing system. Franchising is the art of duplication, so it makes sense that a solid franchise investment offers an excellent franchise marketing system. The best franchises in the world are often closely correlated with the best marketing minds. What effective franchise leaders have been able to do in their execution of a franchise development program is to define a target customer base, build strong messaging to that customer and build a plan to put the brand in front of that customer as frequently and efficiently as possible. In the end it’s really pretty simple, the good franchises have marketing figured out.
When a business franchises, the effect of marketing, good or bad, has enormous consequences. The Franchisor now must be concerned with not only the company’s overall success, but also the success of each franchisee who has invested into the system. The results of a marketing campaign will create a positive or negative ROI for franchisees in the system and ultimately increase or decrease the valuation for the entire franchise business. Marketing as a franchise therefore has exponential importance and requires innovative thinking, strategy and a clear plan of action.
- Good franchise brands have a great plan for marketing. Think of the strongest brands in franchising on the market today, Dunkin Donuts, McDonalds, 7-11, Sport Clips or Anytime Fitness. These brands all stand for something and say something in everything they do. It is clear, concise and always ahead of the consumer curve. They understand what drives their customer and know how to speak to them in a way that they will respond. Dunkin Donuts dropped the reference to donuts in their logo years ago and transitioned to a coffee cup, Sport Clips understood that men wanted a hair care service that was tailored specifically for them and Anytime Fitness gets today’s fast-paced consumer lifestyle and the need for a quick workout solution. All of these brands have great marketing plans where customers and franchisees alike invest in their systems due to the consistency of what they market to their customer base.
- Effective franchise marketing starts at the top, but finish at the local level. You can’t have a great marketing plan and at the store level have different messaging going out to the customer. Franchise marketing must be consistent at all levels. The Marketing Fund and Franchisor decision making as it relates to the brand must be in the best interest of the entire system and ultimately be driving bottom line results for franchisees and operating units. The regional cooperative marketing funds should be managed to best leverage regional presence and economies of scale between units in a given area. Local franchise marketing needs to be well-planned, structured and targeted so that the customer’s perception of the marketing message is consistent from top to bottom.
- The Marketing strategy needs to be numbers driven. Media placement should be facilitated by the franchisor and the management who should understand the perspective of the franchisee. Ultimately, bottom line ROI is what the franchisee is most concerned with, but the Franchisor should also understand where the franchisee is in their life-cycle of the business. Investing in long-term SEO doesn’t make sense for a franchisee in their first month of business when they need to see cash flow and instant results for their new business. The franchisor should understand how to not only get solid results, but to help the franchisee through all stages of their business’ development. Good franchisors are communicating regularly with franchisees and sharing insight to how best to move the needle on customer acquisition.
Chris Conner and Franchise Marketing Systems work with franchise businesses to design, develop and implement franchise marketing programs. For more information on how to support and grow your franchise marketing mechanisms, contact us: info@FranchiseMarketingSystems.com