Hot off the press: How franchises can get their marketing right

02/06/2018 08:00 | Start a business

Guide to franchise marketing

Marketing isnít always the easiest thing to get right, but effective advertising is essential if a business is to grow and expand. Consequently, franchisees need to develop their skills and utilise all the resources at their disposal if they're to succeed. Here, we take a look at six things all franchisees need to consider if theyíre going to get their marketing right.

Franchise marketing

1. Trademarks
One of the critical factors in any franchise agreement is the use of trademarks and a businessí brand image and name. In many cases, the use of an established brand name is what franchisees are paying for, so it's vital that steps are taken to protect the franchise's trademarks properly. Many of these safeguards are established in the franchise agreement, and most franchisor's will set out a stringent set of guidelines concerning how they can be used.

Because these trademarks are so well protected, franchisees need to ensure that they use them correctly in their marketing materials. Violation of the terms laid out in the franchise agreement can cause harm to the brand's reputation and may endanger the franchise unit. Consequently, franchisees should try and use the marketing materials provided by the franchisor or contact them for guidance on how to incorporate the trademarks into their marketing.

2. Competition marketing
Most franchise brands will be well aware of what their competition is doing, particularly when it comes to marketing. Looking at the way in which close competitors are marketing their business, products, and services can inspire and inform your franchise as to which techniques work and which donít have the intended effect. As you want to distinguish yourself from the competition through your use of marketing materials, itís necessary to consider what the competition is doing and what theyíre trying to achieve.

Looking at how the best franchises target specific customer groups will also help inform your marketing campaigns. Customer targeting is vital to successful advertising and businesses need to know precisely who they're trying to win over when they create a leaflet, poster, or blog post. Though a broad advert may appeal to a wider audience, itís far less effective at converting that audience into paying customers.

3. Franchisor responsibilities
In most cases, franchisees will make a regular contribution to the franchiseís national marketing budget. This is used to pay for advertisements in a variety of mediums, including television, print, radio, and online forums, too. Typically, this will result in well-crafted and extensive marketing campaigns that aim to increase public awareness of the entire franchise and develop the brand.

In cases where a regular marketing contribution is not used to fund advertising, many franchisors will provide a set of guidelines detailing how franchisees should market themselves. This will be supported by extensive training programmes, to ensure that money is being well spent.

4. Franchisee responsibilities
For the most part, franchisees are responsible for the local marketing that drives custom to their specific franchise unit. There are often dedicated training seminars and workshops for this, and the franchisor will usually retain some control over how a franchisee markets themselves. This is to ensure that resources are being used wisely and that the brandís trademarks are not being used in inappropriate or damaging ways.

Franchisees will also be responsible for any promotional grand opening arrangements. This means that much of the responsibility for drumming up early custom is placed squarely on the shoulders of the franchisee. Some franchises will also require new franchisees to submit a marketing plan that covers precisely how they expect to spend their budget over the following year. This allows them to offer advice and support to the franchisee while enabling each unit some freedom to decide how best to advertise their products or services.

5. Choice of media
In modern marketing campaigns, the type of media you choose to advertise with can have enormous ramifications. Different demographics are exposed to very different forms of media, so you need to make sure that you understand your target audience and know where they consume most of their information. For instance, more traditional media forms, such as print and radio, are likely to be far more successful with older customers, while internet content is likely to reach a younger audience.

Youíll also need to consider the cost and benefits of each type of media. While SEO and blog-based advertising may be far cheaper than other forms, it may also lack the impact of an effective TV spot. It's often the case that the most profitable franchise is the one thatís developed a painstakingly detailed advertising strategy that reflects their target audience and knows how to reach them.

6. Loyalty schemes
Finally, itís also important to consider other forms of marketing, besides those used in traditional advertising campaigns. One type of alternative marketing technique is the use of loyalty cards or reward schemes. Not only do they incentivise customer loyalty, but they also bring in new customers who are looking for ways to save money in the future. These type of schemes also encourage word of mouth referrals. A customer is far more likely to recommend a service or product if they believe that theyíre getting a good deal, and loyalty cards are a great way to develop this perception.

Marketing is an incredibly complex issue that requires a great deal of expertise and experience if itís to be done correctly. Fortunately, this kind of experience and expertise is what franchisees are paying their franchisors for. A good franchisor will always be on hand to help you with any advertising issues or questions you may have and will work hand in hand with their franchisees to ensure money is being well spent. Training and ongoing support play a significant role in providing franchisees with the necessary skills, but many franchisors will also simplify the process by providing materials. To advertise your business in as effective a manner as possible, it's necessary to take advantage of both of these factors.

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