Beyond Advertising: Secrets to Local Marketing Success for National Franchise Brands
By Kandi O’Connor, Chief Operating Officer, Vya
This is the latest in BIA Advisory Service’s Vantage Points series where we tap the perspectives of various lookout points from around the local media and tech sectors. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect that of BIA Advisory Services.
National franchise brands continue to invest heavily in national advertising to build brand awareness and favorability. At the same time, they’re increasingly taking their marketing programs to the local level to drive engagement. In fact, BIA forecasts national brands will spend $62.7 billion in advertising targeting local consumers in 2019.
Of course, the most successful local marketing programs are not only about advertising and branding, particularly in a growing franchise organization. How can franchise brands put more responsibility in the hands of local franchisees while ensuring brand-compliant materials and campaigns that support the branding they’ve worked so hard to establish? How can franchise marketers empower local franchisees to customize things like pricing to align with what their local markets demand?
The answers to these questions lie in having the right processes and systems in place for managing brand-compliant campaigns, materials and products. These processes and systems are also essential for creating efficiencies, which is particularly important for a growing franchise brand that is attempting to scale marketing support for an expanding network of local franchisees.
Using systems to automate quality and routine marketing tasks, manage custom requests, and help local franchisees embrace their inner marketer – these are a few of the secrets to successful franchise marketing at the local level.
Automating Quality with Turnkey Resources
Franchisees often have the best of intentions when it comes to marketing. But they get so busy with the day-to-day tasks of running their franchise, that marketing often gets back-burnered. One of the ways franchisors can help franchisees up the quality of their local marketing is with automation. Automation can bridge the gap between good intentions and execution by leveraging marketing resources created by corporate that allow for some customization, but are generally turnkey.
Turnkey campaigns ensure quality communications are reaching local markets, with minimal effort on the part of the franchisee. We have become an “out-of-the-box” culture, with neither the time nor the patience to come up to speed on new technologies and approaches. This applies to marketing platforms and campaigns as well. If you want your franchisees to adopt what you know are effective marketing tools, tactics, and campaigns, make them as turnkey as possible.
Managing Custom Requests from Franchisees
It’s important for a franchise brand to encourage franchisees to really speak to their local market, but it can be difficult to manage custom requests at the corporate level. This is especially true when a franchise organization is in growth mode – requests for custom materials from the field can skyrocket and overwhelm corporate marketing resources.
One way franchisors can keep custom requests in check is by using marketing resource management (MRM) systems. MRM provides the ability to automate and better manage these custom requests from franchisees by moving the request process from inefficient and difficult-to-track emails, to a system where all necessary details are input at once via a simple request form. Requests are auto-routed to appropriate staff for response, and completed designs are routed back to the franchisee. And because it’s all in the system, corporate marketing can track requests for popular items that can be proactively created to reduce the volume of future requests.
Fostering a Marketing Culture at the Local Level
Running a local franchise business requires a broad skillset. From day-to-day operations management, customer service, accounting and business planning, to HR, inventory control and facilities management—franchise business owners wear many different hats. For many franchisees, one hat that never seems to fit quite right is that of marketer.
Most franchisees possess a basic understanding of marketing principles and tactics. But they lack the dedicated time and attention that is increasingly necessary for reaching today’s consumers. By understanding the tendencies that impact franchisee marketing decisions, franchisors can better support their marketing efforts and foster a marketing culture at the local franchise level that will lead to more effective marketing programs.
Appreciating Franchisees’ Marketing Spending Tendencies
Franchisees are very pragmatic when it comes to marketing spend. They don’t want to invest in materials that have a short shelf-life, or commit to minimum required quantities that may go to waste. They also don’t want to be saddled with a one-size-fits-all package of materials, which may include items like signage that they can’t use at their location due to local community restrictions.
This means that franchisors need to offer more flexibility and customizability in the local marketing materials they provide. One example of this kind of flexibility is to enable franchisees to select materials they can actually use. Franchise marketers should also consider the lifespan of the materials they create and enable small enough quantities that franchisees can buy only what they need.
The Role of “Local as a Service”
BIA describes “Local as a Service” (LaaS) as the convergence of marketing technology (martech) and data to reduce workflow complexity and friction, improving data-driven targeting, and ultimately driving higher lift in brand and engagement campaigns.
LaaS solution providers work with brands to maintain control over brand policies, assets, and business rules as well as facilitating policy-based media activations and co-op reimbursements for franchisees.
According to BIA’s 2019 Brand and Franchisee Advertising and Marketing Insights report, “LaaS solution providers are elevating the game play for brands and their multi-location retail outlets in local markets. We see this driving increasing marketing investments in both brand to local direct marketing spend, as well as flowing additional marketing monies through co-op and other market develop fund programs. The ROI for these programs is quite high, driving substantial lift for both brand and engagement campaigns.”
More franchise local marketing trends are examined in BIA’s 2019 Brand and Franchisee Advertising and Marketing Insights report. The report includes results from franchisee respondents to BIA’s Survey of Advertising and Marketing including advertising budget allocations, top media channels and ROI by marketing channel. You can download the report for free here, compliments of Vya.