Franchisors: 5 Red Flags in Your Franchise Marketing Plan

January 16, 2017 Jeff Buczynski

 

A franchise manager talking to two franchise operators | RRD

Do you struggle with franchise marketing? It’s an honest question. It’s also one you may not have an answer for (yet).

Without the proper corporate support, a centralized strategy and access to the right marketing tools, the likelihood of your franchisees executing an effective, consistent, on-brand marketing campaign drops significantly.

To keep that from happening, you first have to identify the red flags in your franchise marketing strategy. Here are five to keep an eye out for:

 

Your franchise operators lack marketing expertise

Ignoring the fact your franchisees’ strengths may not include marketing can be a serious oversight. For starters, most franchisees expect corporate to do the heavy lifting when it comes to marketing.

When that’s not the case and your marketing-averse franchise operator is tasked with carrying the brand torch in his or her market, one of three things tend to happen:

  • Marketing is routinely put on the back-burner.
  • Marketing is carried out … poorly.
  • Marketing is outsourced to a pricey third party.

Not ideal, no matter how you slice it.

Inconsistent message, voice, and imagery

According to a franchisee survey by Yodle, 49% of franchisees “are not required to follow specific corporate recommendations on marketing strategy.” Yikes. When franchise operators have free marketing rein, it usually comes at the cost of a sound approval process.

So outdated elements (think past logos, product/service descriptions, expired promotions), typos, and even politically incorrect messaging can slip into a franchisee’s local marketing mix and you wouldn’t even know it — until it’s too late — jeopardizing brand integrity.

Disconnected platforms and disparate data sources

If franchise marketing campaigns are housed in two or more disconnected platforms, you run the risk of potentially relying on bad math to provide insight on performance due to managing two or more marketing tools and sourcing multiple reports from separate platforms.

To take things a step further, try to look at this “two or more” challenge from a data sourcing standpoint.

Let’s say corporate has a list of its own email subscribers — but don’t forget about the lists your franchisees have. With multiple data sources, you’ve just upped your chances for double sending, annoying recipients and adding to the noise.

Tight (or nonexistent) local franchise marketing budgets

When your franchise operators have little to no marketing dollars in the budget, you’ll find them trying to push something out to the masses with the limited information they have.

What’s missing from this approach?

Research.
Targeting.
High ROI.

In a report from Benchmark, an email marketing company, 26% of all franchise business owners and managers have reported implementing some form of a segmentation process, e.g., separating subscriber lists by demographic, location, etc.

When guessing takes the place of research, franchisees can end up sending a message to 10,000 subscribers when they really should have only sent it to 100 — and vice versa — resulting in low-cost campaigns with low ROI.

One-size-fits-all marketing from HQ

Winter in Chicago is not the same as winter in Phoenix. I think we can all agree on that. Now let’s assume you have franchises in both markets. By promoting identical seasonal services/products to subscribers in those locations, odds are good you’re going to miss the mark on half your list.

Provide your franchise operators the option to add in some local flavor to your marketing output. It will prevent your brand from coming off as impersonal and tone deaf.

Having problems with your franchise marketing plan?

I realize just getting franchisees to stick with your business model is a tall (ongoing) order. Keeping them supported and empowered on the marketing front can be an entirely separate mountain to climb.

Jeff Buczynski is director of Salesforce Channel Solutions at RRD Marketing Solutions.

How can we help? RRD has successfully streamlined brand-compliant campaigns and materials across channels, so franchisors and their franchisees can overcome these challenges with confidence. Contact us today to learn more.

This post was originally published January 16, 2017.

 

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