5 ways to help guide franchisees’ marketing

By Joe Papadatos | 31 May 2019 View comments

One of the many challenges for franchisers is leading the marketing efforts of franchisees. Here are 5 ways to help guide franchisees’ marketing.

Marketing is obviously beneficial to help grow their businesses, and your brand, but it can become a strain on resources when every enthusiastic franchisee has individual marketing ideas for their location. Spending the time to filter through the many requests can detract your attention from overall marketing strategies and business goals.

Eventually, you may find your marketing team scrambling to support marketing activities for individual franchisees to the detriment of the overall brand marketing plan.

Help guide franchisees’ marketing

However, there are some simple rules to follow and systems that can be put in place to make the most of the collective marketing efforts of your franchisees. By following the steps below, franchisors can better guide, manage and facilitate the holistic marketing efforts of their franchisees.

1. Be consistent

The key to a successful marketing strategy is making sure your messaging is consistent and memorable. Brand and marketing consistency helps build awareness, allowing customers to easily and immediately recognise your brand.

Brand and marketing consistency is all about bringing a specific feeling to your customers through your messaging, which must remain the same across all your channels and assets, while also keeping up a consistent and reliable stream of content.

When you allow multiple people to control the voice and patterns of your brand, you leave room for flaws to creep into your marketing content, which can be detrimental to the strength of your brand. This is particularly true of franchise businesses with multiple individual business owners involved.

While franchisors must create a profitable brand and business model that can be easily replicated, franchisees must help maintain brand reputation in order for it to retain its value.

The only way to grow the franchise brand and gain momentum is the replication of the business model and marketing strategy across all territories, regardless of location or size. The best way to achieve this is by developing a centralised online marketing hub to ensure both the brand and franchisees are receiving the marketing support they need.

2. Provide clear guidelines and instructions

As a franchisor you need to set strong guidelines for the use of your logo, brand and other marketing materials, and provide clear instructions for use. This can be done via a digital system, saving time and providing checks and balances.

But don’t let fear of franchisees breaking the rules lead to inaction. Many franchise organisations shy away from implementing social media, new media and the latest digital and web technologies due to fear and lack of ability to roll out big marketing and media changes to their franchisees from the corporate organisation.

The reality is that if a franchisor, franchisee or brand of any type or size decides to engage on social channels, there is a conversation happening about them already. The question is: does the franchisor, franchisee or brand want to be a proactive part of the conversation?

3. Help them tell your story and theirs

There are plenty of opportunities for franchisees to market their individual businesses, and in turn your overall franchise brand.

This could include business milestones like anniversaries, sales promotion activity such as an annual clearance sale, or seasonal events. By providing franchisees with all the elements for this type of activity, you allow them to be more strategic about running their business and less focused on the day-to-day elements of a marketing program.

Having a system in place to provide localised multi-channel marketing will help tell those great stories. It should include marketing collateral, promotional items, advertising templates and more, which will make everyone more efficient, save time, and provide transparency.

Ideally you want a system in place that gives franchisees 24-hour access to on-demand resources such as specials flyers, branded collateral, email newsletters, and promotional assets. All these assets can be personalised for their territory, as well as be printed or used online to attract customers.

4. Make it scalable

The marketing strategy should include a baseline program provided by the franchisor that is compulsory for each franchise holder. This can be controlled by an efficient online system and then scaled up as required.

When creating the options to upgrade, you want to make sure they are all affordable for the franchisees. Options should then be priced in a general range that makes sense across the board versus pricing differently per region.

5. Measure and report results

There is no benefit to doing any marketing activities if you cannot measure the results. Marketing effectiveness is measured by how well a company’s marketing strategies increase its revenue while decreasing its costs of customer acquisition. You will always win the day if your marketing continually lowers the costs of finding and winning business, while also increasing the value of that business.

Digital systems allow for much stronger reporting on marketing activities than what was available in the pre-internet era. As a franchisor you should look for a system that can provide regular reports on your entire network’s marketing initiatives and their effectiveness. Tailored reports can then be shared with individual franchisees.