Ask any marketer and they will tell you that marketing for multiple locations can be quite an undertaking. What resonates in one region may fall flat in another. This is no different in the franchise industry. In fact, not only do franchise marketers face these basic marketing challenges, they are also responsible for managing the personal preferences and demands of their individual franchise owners.
One of the differences of franchise marketing as compared to traditional marketing is that anything that gets created - whether it be a print ad, a radio script or an in-store collateral piece - needs to be instantly scalable and applicable to multiple markets. When done manually, this can quickly become an all-consuming task and can limit the role of marketing to a more reactive function rather than a proactive and strategic one.
Fortunately, with advances in marketing technology, there are options available that allow the process of franchise marketing to become more centralized, automated and manageable. Below are the top 4 benefits of using marketing automation in the franchise industry:
Obviously, the first priority for all marketers is to be where their customers are and deliver a message that resonates. Now, more than ever, it’s imperative that a marketing campaign have the ability to be leveraged in multiple locations at once - whether that be email, social media, direct mail, etc. The challenge with this is that it can become very expensive very quickly to try to run multi-channel campaigns without a way to easily manage both the execution and the results.
For the franchise industry, it is even more important to have the marketing process dialed-in. When you stop to consider the complexities of running one multi-channel campaign, then multiply that by several locations with their own intricacies, it is evident why marketing automation has proven to be a necessary tool for franchises.
Along those same lines, brand consistency becomes exponentially harder to maintain when you add more people into the chain. In the past, many franchise marketers have had to operate under a highly decentralized structure, usually divided by geographic location, which had its pros and cons. On the positive side, that structure allowed more freedom and autonomy to the individual business units looking to promote their products/services to specific groups. Conversely, without one main marketing department overseeing what was being released into those markets, it was very easy for the look and feel of the brand to become watered down and, ultimately, lost in local markets.
Marketing automation makes it possible to centralize the marketing structure, allowing one main team as much oversight as they choose. As franchises grow, especially when they reach international markets, it is very easy to lose control of the brand and dilute the message that you want your customers to hear. Pieces like email campaigns can be constructed and deployed from one central system, ensuring that the customer receives the pieces that get approved by the national team.
Centralizing the brand is a huge benefit to marketers; however, we don’t want to ignore the importance of adapting to local markets, especially when it comes to the franchise industry. Franchise owners have a unique perspective on their community’s wants and needs that a centralized department most likely wouldn’t know. They live and breathe their territories and the knowledge that they gather should absolutely be leveraged in their marketing.
For this exact reason, marketing automation platforms allow for customizable templates to be created. Marketing departments can develop pieces that meet the overall brand standards, but also give franchisees the power to customize according to their local needs. For example, a pet store chain might create a direct mail postcard announcing a new brand of cat food added to inventory. All of the common details (i.e. ingredients, price point, product photo) would be fixed, however, if an owner knows that their market responds well to black cats, they would be given the option to feature a black cat as the main image. Similarly, an owner whose market prefers orange tabbies would choose to feature an orange tabby.
An added benefit to the template option mentioned above is the ability to ensure compliance of all marketing materials. Disclosures or other required verbiage can be built into design templates and can even be set for customization based on certain features. A tax preparation franchise in California might be required to include more disclosures than the same franchise located in Florida. Marketing automation allows for those requirements to be automatically added into your marketing pieces, alleviating that burden from the shoulders of the marketing department.
Predicting consumer behavior relies on many factors and managing all of them simultaneously can become daunting. It’s a lot to keep track of. Thanks to marketing automation, franchises can build marketing processes that reduce risk and allow for scalability and efficiency.
Explore our Franchise Industry page for more information on how marketing automation is helping the Franchise Industry or contact us today!