Everyone knows that Google rules the world, particularly in terms of helping customers find your franchise business. But the question is why and how to use it to the best of your ability. The overall advantage for paid local search is clear: reach customers who are directly in market looking for your services.
But some of the more advanced components enable a more nuanced and strategic approach. Google allows – be it single franchise location or multi-national businesses – to drill down to affect change on an individual location basis regardless of organizational size. Often other agencies will tell you that this is too laborious to implement and track. But that’s not true. Programmatic creation and execution enables - both franchise brands and franchisee locations alike - splitting budgets and targeting individual campaigns for each of your franchise locations.
This is a perfect and easy-to-execute local marketing campaign for any franchise brands or location in service industry, such as auto sales or detailing, medical services, repairs services of any kind, restaurants, banking, and personal care services. It’s also great for seasonal industries looking to make the most of busy season and stay active during slow months.
Some of the most obvious advantages are geo-focus on a particular location, small budgets, tight focus on capacity daypart, niche terms, ability to manage and tweak daily, and enable an easy way to target lead generation or e-commerce. All of this can be handled using programmatic implementation and AI-generated optimization, eliminating the need for a knowledgeable digital media manager to oversee individual campaigns.
All of this can result in a high ROI. And that’s really the end of the story.
Online advertising is essential to any effective marketing campaign, regardless of whether you are a franchise organization, a franchisee, or an independent local, regional, or national business. That’s not new news…clearly!
Unless you are in the digital marketing world, even sophisticated marketers don’t have true insight or understanding into digital display and some of the ways to make it even more effective.
First and foremost, an effective franchise brand campaign, enables consistent and scalable brand awareness. Traditional forms of media, namely broadcast, print, and out-of-home, can be expensive both to create and purchase. Display advertising is financially one of the most efficient vehicles available. It might not be as flashy as a Super Bowl TV spot or a prominent highway billboard for your brand or franchise location, but it can probably drive more traffic. Moreover, once you dig in, there are sophisticated ways to use media to improve effectiveness and find new and lapsed customers.
Targeted site selection is one of the most instinctive ways to hone-in on where you believe your target audience would be seeking information. There are website rankings and lists of top 100-500 sites based on traffic and industry, from which you can select relevant sites. But this is a blanket approach.
There are more nuanced ways to help your franchise brand either on the zor or the zee level. Here are the most effective:
Let’s start at the very beginning. What is retargeting?
According to our programmatic digital advertising execution partner or DSP, Centro, "Retargeting is a form of online advertising that uses data to re-engage potential leads or customers who leave your website without converting."
When people leave your website without buying anything, for example, retargeting helps you reconnect with them by showing relevant ads as they browse the web, use mobile apps, engage on social media, or search.
The elegant beauty of retargeting ads is that you can continue to communicate those people with a variety of messages. And with unique tracking links you can programmatically serve up ads that speak to where they are geographically and direct them to unique landing pages to help them complete that conversion, whether your brand defines that as a purchase or a contact us form fill.
Retargeting is multi-platform and can be done through Facebook, Display, and Search. Retargeting delivers strong results for increased awareness, website traffic and conversion rates.
Some of the essential and tangible benefits of retargeting for a franchise brand or franchise location are critical to driving business:
No one marketing tactic, offer or vehicle works for every market or location. Instead of requiring participation in companywide campaigns or national media buying, enable franchisees to create variations for local media buying that they think might work for their specific market and clientele. A new location may need an aggressive buy one, get one offer to drive sales, for example, while a mature location may need just ongoing awareness advertising or sponsorships to keep the brand top of mind in the community. Variables and options (that adhere to brand standards, of course) can enable franchisees to try different things while also continuing to promote the brand’s overall messaging, which is essential for synchronized and coordinated communication to create brand amplification.
If franchisees are going to offer discounts to build their businesses, encourage them to make them aggressive. Some franchisees may be afraid of giving away too much and adversely impacting their bottom line. But to get potential customers to notice them, they may have to offer something compelling. Just advise franchisees not to do it all the time. Successful marketing for franchisees also depends on practicing good customer data hygiene by keeping track of existing and new customers via their point-of-sale system so they know who to target with different offers.
Every day, operations and marketing compete for a franchisee’s attention, and operations will usually win that battle because problems must be solved. However, just solving problems won’t build the business. Encourage each franchisee to identify which role they'd like to perform and identify someone else who can take on the other; otherwise, this vicious cycle may continue unabated. Local marketing for franchise brands depends on franchisees understanding their own strengths and fears and to recognize opportunities and skills in others so they can find the best use of their talents and allow others to grow.
Franchisees who get overwhelmed by running their businesses may want you to handle more or all of their marketing for them. Remind them that there can be unintended, adverse consequences to this, including a monthly sweep of funds, mandated participation and a lack of customization. Remind them that a locally controlled narrative can be an asset rather than a burden, and that they are the ones who likely have the most knowledge of their particular market.
Compliance is such a loaded word, especially in franchising. No one likes to be scolded, and only the largest, most successful brands seem to be able to enforce via that approach. We’ve seen smaller or struggling brands suffer through tumultuous uprisings. Instead of the stick, try the carrot approach: Hold contests for bringing in the most new customers, and offer tangible rewards, such as an abatement of franchise fees or a financial contribution to their local marketing fund. Or create a cost-matching program for brand-endorsed promotions with demonstrable ROI. Money is often the ultimate motivator.
Ultimately, you and your franchisees are creating a brand together. The more communication you coordinate on, the greater the amplification of brand awareness. Local marketing management for brands is crucial. A rising tide raises all ships.
A marketing technology or martech stack is a grouping of technology platforms that enables marketers to manage, execute, deploy and analyze their marketing activities. Conceptually speaking, the idea is to make it simpler and easier to track efficacy, capturing data to make optimization more insightful.
If you are unfamiliar with the term, it is an amalgamation of website providers, digital search technology (search engine optimization and search engine marketing), email platform management, reputation management, social media management, customer relationship management, artificial intelligence (AI) personalization and, ultimately, data insights and analytics.
According to a recent survey, spending on marketing technology is down this year, after a steady year-over-year upward trajectory.
There are a couple of possible ways to look at this shift. Budgets are increasingly scrutinized. Marketing departments are moving competencies in-house. Media planning and buying for national and franchise brands continues to get more fractured. Attribution is becoming more essential. Teams are facing greater and greater demands. Data is getting overwhelming and unmanageable.
The real reason, we posit, is a lack of cohesion, which creates inefficiency. Programmatic solutions for multi-location brands are growing exponentially every day and it’s getting to be too much.
Most brands have around six to eight different companies and platforms in their martech stack that don’t integrate with one another.
This leaves marketers with different dashboards, statistics, reports, metrics and analyses. It’s up to the marketer to piece it all together and figure out what’s working and what needs to be optimized. And typically, there is a paucity of time to manage all of this with the rest of the workload; creating a lack of efficiency.
Programmatic for multi-location brands is -- simply put -- a solution that can be created by technology without hoopla.
Unless martech companies can provide more comprehensive and cohesive value to the marketing department, we believe the trend moving forward will be more limited agency and martech spend, with brands increasingly moving things in-house.
Everyone talks about omnichannel communications, but think what it actually means to orchestrate and execute synergistic national and local media. Layering on different platforms, or stacking platforms, isn’t using technology to its fullest to improve this process. Marketers – especially those juggling local marketing for franchise brands or multi-unit brands – should seek out technology to provide a comprehensive suite of solutions.
There is only one technology company that can provide brands with media buying, media planning, and location marketing management for national and franchise brands. And that’s Silvercrest with our proprietary Local Marketing Automation Platform: LMap.
If you’ve been keeping track of marketing technology, you will already know that the number of martech providers has increased by about 15X in a single decade.
One of the biggest areas of growth right now in late 2021, is the prodigious growth in Data. And as a result, one of the biggest topics of conversation is how to manage that data, which is reflected in the other large area of growth: Data Management.
It definitely speaks to the issue facing most marketers, and most of our franchise brand clients, today: the overwhelming amount of data and their inability to manage it. Franchise marketing is hard enough without the heavy mantle of all of the coordination of franchise marketing technology.
Data is not going away, nor is the requirement that companies and marketers, in particular, get smarter and smarter about how to use it. What we can change is how we manage everything.
So often, we build complex systems to manage what we cannot manage ourselves. In the martech space, we almost celebrate the fact that there needs to be a system to manage the systems: the holy “martech stack” and the emergence of the Marketing Ops role itself.
The issue is that brands are handcuffed to their existing technologies because of the fear of dismantling what they have fashioned together. For example: There are relationships to consider. There is the lead time and research to find new partners. There is the issue of contract terms. There is a potential backlash if the new technology doesn’t transition or work smoothly. There are the time and money needed to customize a new platform to your brand’s needs. There is the laborious approval process. There are a host of reasons not to make any changes. And thus, the status quo continues.
The problem is that being handcuffed to your legacy technologies doesn’t really make life easier, as evidenced by the fact that managing those technologies is a critical area of growth.
It doesn’t take an in-depth analysis to identify that a multitude of partners does not equate to efficiency.
Think of...media planning for franchise brands, or media buying for national brands, or local marketing for franchise brands, or outdoor media buying, or other automated media buying options, or digital advertising for franchisees. Typically, all of those have different vendors and platforms and contacts and metrics; creating a cobweb of data input, outputs, and workflows to manage.
We believe the real reason brands and marketers are afraid to make changes is twofold. First of all, they pride themselves in the Frankenstein they have built. And second, they are terrified about what will happen if they dismantle it.
Take an honest look at the systems and workflows your brand has stitched together and ask yourself: Could there be a better way? Could you save yourself time, money and headaches in the long term if you weren’t handcuffed to your existing technologies? Could that be worth your time and energy now, for future benefit?
As the world reemerges from this 18-month dystopian pandemic, Silvercrest had the great opportunity to attend two key conferences/trade shows in late September 2021. They are not only the first evidence of a return to normalcy but also a boon to us involved in the franchising community to share insights, learnings, war stories, and hope. With the busines model being based on location-based growth, franchising had been hugely impacted.
However, one of the most powerful speakers at one of these conferences, didn’t focus on any of that, but instead the importance of culture and leadership.
And it was a beautiful reset to what is the most important part of leading and running a business, particularly in franchising when the consumer perception can be that those businesses are ‘chains’ and lack a local connection.
However, each franchisee business is typically owned and staffed by people in the local community. The vision and goals may be set by the corporate culture, but the business is ultimately a part of the local neighborhood.
The franchisee plans the local store marketing, does the local media planning, places the local media buys, and leverages the local marketing automation for franchise brands provided by corporate to create ads for their community. But the fact of the matter is that the only way that a local franchisee business owner is able to keep his or her doors open, is from the business generated from those who live in the same town.
And thus, we posit that we collectively change our focus from managing and focusing on the crisis, to being celebrants and stewards of both the culture and people, because ultimately that is really what leadership, business, and community is all about.