How to Create a Killer Franchise Marketing Plan

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!