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Marketing

How to Create a Killer Franchise Marketing Plan

By | Marketing
Franchise Marketing Plan
Brand consistency is so important, as is getting leads. Sometimes in franchising, it can feel like those things are at odds. Sometimes franchisees will feel the need to “go rogue” and do their own thing to get the leads they need. Other times, those “off brand” initiatives can create problems and confusion in the marketplace for their neighbors. According to a study from Demand Metric, 71% of respondents said an inconsistent brand creates confusion in the market. In this article, we will look at how you can create a Killer Marketing Plan for your franchisees, while staying true to the parent brand.

Understand Trends

Marketing is very much a discipline which relies on trends, both in the way that people consume and the way that people communicate. Google searches to show marketing trends in your vertical, or within your typical  marketing mix are a great start. If you want to go further, you can do a competitive analysis (having a group “competitive database” where franchisees submit competitors local to their market can be a fantastic and collaborative way to do this) or you could engage in a formal market research exercise. Sample trends include:
  • Increased use of Social Media.
  • Aging population.
  • Reduced use of mail system.
  • SMS messaging increases.
  • Increased awareness around mental health.

Determine Target Audience

Overall, you want to determine your target audience at the brand level. But franchisees will have a subset within their region that they will want to focus on. For example, they may have an ethnic group in their area that is very oriented towards the food at your restaurant such as a vegetarian option. Or, if you are in senior care, there may be an aging population in a certain part of your territory where houses were built in the 50s. This can help the franchisee drill down effectively.

Franchisor

  • Sports Fans
  • Parents of Students Taking the SAT earning 100k+
  • Health-conscious single women

Franchisee

  • Toronto Blue Jay Fans
  • Parents of Students taking the SAT earning 100k+ living in Coral Gables
  • Health-conscious single women who shop at Whole Foods in Manhattan

Make a List of Marketing Goals

Some of the goals may be linked to a central, corporate initiative. Others could be associated with the franchisee themselves, such as an kids extracurricular program franchise making a big “splash” at the annual children’s festival. But marketing goals will differ from system to system.  Goals can be project-based or metrics-based, and you always want your goals to be SMART.

Franchisor

  • Rollout updated branding guidelines to include SMS rules to system in Q1.
  • Test Instagram marketing with 12 Influencers in 3 markets in Q2.
  • Create central campaign for April tax season as per FAB meeting notes by Q4.

Franchisee

  • Increase leads from Social Media to 10/month at a cost of $40/lead by end of Q4.
  • Execute a 5,000 piece direct mail campaign, repeated 4x by end of Q4.
  • Rollout April tax season campaign managed by corporate by Q2.

Determine Franchisee Marketing Tactics Based on Marketing Mix

One role that the franchisor can play is to determine the right marketing mix for the system. While there will always be a certain amount of experimentation, the marketing mix should be defined. For example, PPC and Direct Mail may be the right combination for your system. Others find that Facebook is as good as gold. No matter what, you want to have your franchisees to complement your marketing mix.
Different systems do different things in terms of execution. Clearly, if the franchisee is not executing on a tactic, you want them to have a follow-up task.

Franchisor Marketing Mix

  • Direct Mail
  • Events
  • Doctor Referrals

Franchisee Tactic

  • Rollout Direct Mail from library
  • Do 1 event/month
  • Make 10 introductions to Doctors/month

Determine KPIs

Now that you have set Marketing tactics, you want to see what KPIs will be connected with them. This will help you measure final results, and track key milestones along the way.

Franchisee Tactic

  • Newsletter
  • Events
  • Customer Retention

KPI

  • Open Rate and CTR
  • Leads/Event and Cost/Lead
  • Lifetime value of customer

Set Marketing Budget

Of course, when starting a franchise, this may mean using newly acquired funding, borrowing or self-financing. One thing to remember is that marketing is absolutely essential to the success of any franchise. When setting tactics for your franchisees, having ones that are low or no cost is important for those who may be struggling.

As the franchisee begins to gather costs for the marketing tactics outlined in the previous step, they may find that they have exceeded your budget. Simply go back and adjust your tactics until the mix is affordable. The key is to never stop marketing — don’t concern yourself with the more costly tactics until the franchisee can afford them.

Determine Review Cycle

Don’t forget, this is a marketing plan, not a marketing bible. You will want to review both results and tactics monthly, quarterly or twice a year.
Interested in learning more about KPIs and tracking? Check out our Scorecard eBook!

58 Marketing Audit Questions Your Franchise Needs to Grow

By | Franchise Audits, Marketing
Franchise Marketing Audit

Often forgotten but more important than ever is the Marketing section of the franchisee audit. Based on our research, the franchisee success on the Marketing audit, especially the section on planning, can actually predict growth. Based on popular demand, we did an extensive review of over 50 audit questionnaires from a half-dozen industries and came up with the best Marketing questions for you to add to your annual audit checklist.

Basics

  1. Exterior signage, clean, illuminated and in “like new” condition.
  2. Menu panels, clean and and in “like new” condition.
  3. Store decorated appropriately for the season.
  4. Television clean, in good working order, and playing approved images and footage only.
  5. All national campaign elements are present and in-store POP follows brand standards, placement guidelines and is clean with no damage.
  6. Uniforms are to standard – managers and associates.
  7. Name tags clean and professionally presented.
  8. Approved music playing.

Planning

  1. Franchisee provided completed quarterly marketing plan to coach by submission deadline.
  2. Competitive analysis completed in the last 12 months, using the proper form.
  3. Franchisee has used the approved forecasting tool for their marketing plan during high season.
  4. Franchisee submitted up-to-date crisis communication plan.
  5. Franchisee has the marketing collatoral required to execute on their marketing plan (coupons, signage, giveaways)
  6. Franchisee doing a live event during high season.
  7. Franchisee taking part in community events during high season.
  8. Franchisee has visited 5-10 local businesses to connect with the community.
  9. Marketing plan identifies a budget each month.
  10. Current national promotions leveraged in marketing plans.
  11. Current national platforms leveraged in marketing plans.
  12. Staff meetings are scheduled to review upcoming promotions.
  13. Franchisee and/or marketing staff attended any required training.

Print and Signage

  1. All marketing material complies with brand standard and is posted in the appropriate location.
  2. Current marketing materials being used.
  3. Hours of operation posted on doors and accurate.
  4. Promotional tents available at each table.
  5. Branded vans using approved graphics and PMS colors.
  6. Branded napkins being used.
  7. Branded trays are made available.
  8. No hand-written or typed signs in guest view.
  9. Posted media stories up to brand standards.
  10. Online ordering “call-out” available.
  11. Every off-premise bag contains marketing materials.
  12. Off-premise packaging quality standards being used.
  13. Gift card program in place.
  14. Only current and approved merchandising elements available.
  15. Franchise operator decal displayed at front entrance.
  16. Loyalty program materials have prominent placement.

Social and Online

  1. Franchisee posted a minimum of 3x/week to Facebook.
  2. Franchisee had one positive online review/month.
  3. Franchisee used on-brand content and held to on-brand Facebook strategy.
  4. Franchisee maintained updated hours and pricing on local website.
  5. Franchisee has 2 posts regarding seasonal marketing campaign on Social Media.
  6. Franchisee is familiar with Social Media posting tool and knows where to find additional resources.
  7. Franchisee boosted a minimum of 1x/week on Facebook.
  8. Social media channels monitored and comments were responded to in a timely manner.

Campaign

  1. Franchisee participated in the National Marketing campaign.
  2. Campaign details printed and posted.
  3. Prize awarded to customer.
  4. Approved display rack has current POP.
  5. Monthly POP clearly advertised on the menu board.

Compliance

  1. Franchisee reads all head office communications.
  2. Franchisee only used approved offers.
  3. Franchisee requested approval before marketing additional offers.
  4. Franchisee maintained a positive, respectful relationship with franchise marketing team (no incidents reported since last reporting period).
  5. Marketing material purchased through approved vendors.
  6. Franchisee spends $x/month in the community, above AdFund spend, as per the agreement.
  7. Franchisee is familiar with most recent campaign.
  8. Product knowledge questionnaire – all associates and managers have completed it.

If you are as enthusiastic about Marketing Audits as we are, feel free to connect with us at ssigurdsonforbes@franchiseblast.com!



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Franchise Marketing Coach Dos and Donts

By | Franchise Coaching, Marketing

dos and donts franchise marketing coachMarketing coaching can be one of the hardest parts of franchising.

Why?

Getting leads, and customers in the door, is truly a matter of life and death for franchisees.

And while there are some things in Marketing that ARE black and white, there are others that are more shades of grey than anything else.

So – lets delve into the world of Franchise Marketing for coaches – we will look at what is black and white, and what is in that messy grey space in between.

Dos

Understand Differences

One of the difficult truths in Franchise Marketing is that… things that work in some communities do not work in others.

It’s frustrating, but true.

Ask any pro marketer, who has accounts running across different areas.

While something like food safety rules is universal  – Pay Per Click spend is higher in larger centers where there is more competition. In other areas, people rely strictly on word-of-mouth. In still others, trust of strangers is very low, so events are not as strong.

What makes it extra-tough, is that sometimes franchisees will say something that stretches them outside of their safety zones does not work.

So – you actually do want to dig deep and understand the differences.

AND – you want to have a Marketing Plan that embraces these differences by having one that diversifys the franchisees options.

Focus on Numbers

There are not many people that got into franchising because they LOVE numbers, or at least I have never met one.

Most franchisors are now embracing SMART goals when it comes to Marketing. It is a great start.

But, focusing on numbers does only come in the planning phase, it is measuring results.

We have seen this as one of the top Marketing failures in our clients. Measuring what works, and what does not, is a great indicator to send back to the Marketing team. Remember, Marketing is changing quickly, and there is no way to react if the activity is not being measured.

Embrace Community

While connecting to the community is something we often teach in training, it is one of the first things that fall to the side when things get busy.

A business, any business, is about relationships. And – that competitive advantage can be achieved by being yourself out in the community. The brand of “you” is more powerful than any bid on an online ad.

So – it is great to have a “connect with the community” side of your audits when it comes to Marketing. These humble activities can make a big difference.

Donts

 

Take Things at Face Value

The book Getting to Yes discusses the idea of having a “Position” and then an “Interest”. According to a Harvard blog on this subject:

We tend to begin our negotiation by stating our positions. A homeowner might say to a developer, for instance, “I won’t allow you to develop this property.” When we stake out firm positions, we set ourselves up for impasse. In our goal of getting to yes, we need to draw out the interests underlying our counterpart’s positions by asking questions, such as, “Why is this property important to you?” By identifying what interests are motivating the other party, and sharing your own interests, you can open up opportunities to explore tradeoffs across issues and increase your odds of getting to yes.

In a nutshell, the franchisees may come to you with a problem – which is a position. For example, a problem of not enough leads could mean a few things:

  • Not closing enough leads.
  • Qualifying too aggressively, leaving good leads on the table.
  • Not enough referrals and upsells from current clients.

As a coach, you are not denying the reality of the problem, but you are digging deeper into the true source, rather than just solving the “Position”.

Ignore Creativity

When you are on-site with a franchisee, with your checklist, it is easy to get into the mindset of “different is bad”.

And, we do all have brand standards for a reason.

But, the best leaders will put the majority of their focus on the here and now, they do also look at what is next. Listening and learning about a new idea or innovation may not be something you can do today, but it could be rolled into plans for the future.

There is a sweet spot there.

It is not chaotically moving from idea to idea, anhialating the brand.

It is listening and looping in the ideas.

Conclusion

Like everything in Franchising, Marketing Coaching is a balancing act. Getting the balance right can make a transformative difference to your franchisees. The Marketing world comprises black, white, the grey in between along with all of the other colors.



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