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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.