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Running a successful franchise in multiple locations and optimizing each one for maximum engagement and recognition in their local markets is definitely one of the most difficult tasks for a business leaders. Yes, you should trust your franchisees to do a stellar job and manage their branches in an efficient and effective way, but only if you have done your part of the job beforehand.
So, what is your job? As a franchisor, your job is to create a strong overarching marketing strategy that will help every branch maximize its marketing potential while ensuring brand consistency every step of the way. To that end, here are the most effective ways you can create a winning franchise marketing strategy.
If you are an internal or external small business consultant for a franchise organization, you are constantly looking for ways to help your clients improve their marketing efforts in order to increase revenues.
The value of marketing efforts for franchises should be measured by both their cost-effectiveness and their results in terms of increased sales for the organization. Improved cost-effectiveness can be achieved by implementing better marketing systems. Such systems need to be designed to minimize the time required by the corporate office to oversee the management of local franchisee marketing campaigns, while at the same time they need to contribute towards an increase in the corporate office's visibility into the campaigns and towards increased brand consistency across the organization.
Here are 5 tips for small business consulting franchise marketing made easy:
Tip #1: Unify your brand image across all franchise locations by using consistent collateral: Fast-growing franchise organizations often find themselves quickly outgoing their own marketing systems that worked so well during the early stages of growth. The modus operandi for marketing within a franchise organization must necessarily change when the organization goes from 10 locations to 50 or more, but unfortunately many organizations fail to keep pace with their own growth. One of the riskiest consequences of this type of rapid growth is the loss of control over the organization's brand image due to individual franchisees taking on the task of managing their own campaigns using inconsistent marketing collateral. Therefore, it is important to advise your client to find ways to unify the company's brand image across the entire organization.
Tip #2: Put the power of ordering direct mail and promotional goods directly into the hands of franchisees: By letting individual franchisees control their own, independent direct mail campaigns, you give them the power to mail to whom they want, when they want. However, at the same time by doing so you may be giving up the economies of scale associated with centralizing your direct mail and promotional goods sourcing. The best bet for your client's growing business, then, is for them to continue to empower their franchisees to remain in control of their own direct campaigns, but at the same time you need to help your client find to streamline the fulfillment of direct mail through a single source.
Tip #3: Contract directly with vendors at the corporate level in order to leverage volume buying opportunities: By advising your client to contract directly with vendors who will fulfill promotional goods and print-related orders, you are helping your client to lower operational costs by giving them the ability to leverage volume buying opportunities.
Tip #4: Centralize mailing list generation for maximum quality control: Many individual franchisees have very specific ideas about how and to whom they want to mail coupons and other offers. And, by all rights, they should retain control of this process. At the same time, franchisees tend to have varying degrees of aptitude for list management. And, often mailing list data that is locally sourced is of poor quality, full of errors and outdated. By centralizing the generation of mailing lists but at the same time allowing franchisees to choose their list quantities and demographic selects, your client's organization will enjoy better ease of list generation and higher response rates.
Tip #5: Automate the entire ordering process to minimize the delays and errors associated with human interaction: Finally, your client will also benefit from setting up an Internet-mediated, automated system that enables franchisees to execute customized direct mail and promotional goods campaigns the features only corporate-approved collateral. Such a centralized system gives your client's corporate office full control and visibility into the ordering habits of individual franchisees, but it also safely leaves the decision-making authority about the specifics of each local campaign in the hands of franchisees.
When conducting small business consulting for franchise organizations in the area of marketing, it is important to advise your clients on how to improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of organization-wide marketing. At the same time, your recommendations should find ways to empower franchisees at the local level to run their marketing campaigns on their own terms.
Franchise Marketing Strategies to Bring in Clients During the Slow Season
5 Tips For Small Business Consulting - Franchise Marketing Made Easy
ou know there are "right" customers and "wrong" customers and while you may not (yet) know how to tell them apart before they become your customer, you know that the "wrong" customers deliver the least value and create the majority of problems in your business.
Who is a customer?
Customers (or clients), by the way, are not just the people who buy your products and services. They also include your employees, and if you're a franchisor, they include your franchisees.
Be careful of expert advice!
So I read a passage on a blog that provided "some helpful hints on how you can spot a great franchise marketing system" and the first hint was this:
Customers are brought in the doors. This is what every business boils down to in the end, whether or not the marketing system brings in the customers. After all, that is where you make your profits.
Taking the express train to bankruptcy
And I thought to myself: Or that is where you lose your profits, your money and ultimately your business!
It's not enough to drive customers through the doors of a franchise, or any business. You've got to drive the "right" customers through the doors! Most businesses, and most marketing systems, do not fulfill that objective. And that's one reason why franchises struggle and fail.
So don't be fooled into thinking that a good franchise is one where "the marketing system" drives customers to the door!
Happy franchisees make the most money
To wit: Some years ago the new CEO of a major retail franchisor asked me to help his franchisees attract more customers and ultimately generate higher revenues so that (a) the franchisees would earn (and keep) more money, and (b) the franchisees would pay higher royalties. Since the beginning of franchising, franchisors have known that franchisees who make and keep the most money are the happiest franchisees!
So I spent several weeks working with a few franchisees to find out more about their customers. Here's what we discovered:
- It cost the "average" franchisee $100 to get a new customer to come through the door (that included marketing costs and the required fee for the franchise advertising fund).
- The "average" customer spent about $10.
- No one knew if the customer would return - ever.
- If the customer did return - no one could predict when or how often.
- The "average" franchisee did little to nothing to bring the customer back again repeatedly (and you may be surprised to find out why).
Busy, busy, busy going out of business!
So while it appeared "the marketing system" was doing its job, e.g. the franchisees were busy serving customers throughout the day, in reality "the marketing system" was slowly running the franchisees out of business (and perhaps into an early grave)!
That and the fact that the franchisees were so busy, busy, busy taking care of all the customers "the marketing system" provided that they had no time to do the things that would have insured getting the maximum benefit out of their customers, i.e. increasing sales, increasing frequency, building rapport with key customers, gathering referrals, etc.
Who caused that fire?
As one franchisee told me, "From the time I open the door in the morning until I close it at the end of a long day, I don't have time to do anything but put out fires."
Upon examination, most of the "fires" were caused by customers and employees. Occasionally, even though they didn't know it, the franchisee caused some of the fires!
Blame it on the franchisor, of course
You can be sure the franchisor got blamed for the majority of the challenges the franchisees faced. Frankly, I would take the side of the franchisees on that issue (though it does no good to blame anyone, but rather to accept responsibility). The franchisor could have done a better job sooner! In other words, the CEO that hired me had only recently arrived at the company. To his credit, he quickly assessed "the marketing system" and knew that it was broken. However, this company had been operating for many years prior to hiring this CEO. Where were the marketing folks all those years? Where was the company's leadership?
Why doesn't this system work?
So what was wrong with "the marketing system" at this company?
Simply, it was producing the "wrong" customers for the franchisees!
Even among customers there are stars
Through our continued research we further discovered that not all customers were created equal! Some spent more money than others and never, ever complained or started a "fire"! Of course, those were "the right" customers.
Problem was, "the marketing system" produced too few "right" customers.
Revealing more about "right" customers
Without giving away too much information (and revealing the company), here's more of what we discovered about the "right" retail customers for this franchise business. They:
- spent about twice as much as the average customer
- returned 3 to 4 times a week
- owned a business, which existed within 3.5 miles of the franchise location
- were males (64%) and females (36%)
- had partners in their business (46%); most often, a spouse
- were between the ages of 32 and 62
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