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Money markets

The franchisor\'s role in marketing


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Franchisors should take steps to make marketing a priority in their efforts to strengthen the brand and boost the fortunes of their franchisees.

Marketing takes a back seat in many franchised organizations. It is one of the difficulties the franchisor faces, since the company receives monies via an ad fund from their franchisees and then spends the money on their behalf. The biggest struggle is getting franchisees to agree with the franchisor on how to spend “their” money. Often, new franchisees in outer markets aren’t covered by the ad fund, so these franchisees are left out—even though it’s technically their money. For this reason, marketing may take a back seat with franchisors, since it is difficult to please everyone.


Linda Duke started her company, Duke Marketing, in 1987 to help multi-unit and franchise organizations.

She can be reached at duke@dukemarketing.com

And, while many franchisors provide a marketing manual for franchisees, they often let those binders collect dust, or they do their own thing, making it difficult for franchisors to see the impact they have on the overall brand.

Franchisors need to make marketing a priority to grow and maintain the strength of their brand, image and reputation. Many franchisors have not figured out that successful franchisees make the brand more successful and will attract future franchisees.

So, how should franchisors leverage marketing? To do it right, it takes four areas of focus:

1. Establish an Ad Fund Committee

Chose franchisees to participate in feedback, communication and buy-in for spending ad fund dollars. This allows ideas and concepts to be shared and discussed and allows franchisees to be involved in the marketing process, which in turn gives more credibility and acceptance of the franchisor’s promotions and programs.

2. Provide monthly communications to all franchisees regarding Ad Fund activities

Keeping franchisees in the loop regarding upcoming promotions and getting their ideas and success stories ensures franchisees are in touch with the franchisor. This also lends itself to a much more positive relationship. Try issuing a monthly newsletter that provides updates, ideas, shared success stories, introduces new locations and profiles new franchisees.

3. Local Store Marketing is a must-have in franchise organizations

Because most franchises are in several different states, communities and business areas, no two stores are alike. Franchisors should plan to visit each location and assist in determining the unique nuances of the franchisee’s community in order to get a better idea of what marketing tactics will work. If the franchisee’s location is surrounded by numerous office buildings, then marketing programs to target these businesses and their employees is imperative to growing sales at their location.

If the franchisee’s location is in a residential area with plenty of families and schools, then they need marketing tools to build those sales.

4. Provide new franchisees marketing training before they open their location.

Show them all the resources possible, share ideas and strategies. This will give them a broad overview of how to execute marketing programs for their own location.

For annual meetings franchisors should provide training seminars to introduce new marketing programs and share ideas with franchisees. Have a guest speaker introduce new ideas and provide a third-party testimonial of programs that work. Marketing needs to be drilled into franchisees’ minds in order ensure everyone understand how important it is. You also want franchisees to understand the value of spending their own money on additional marketing for their territory.

Finally, the most important aspect of the franchisor’s role is open and frequent communication with franchisees. Always answer the phone, and provide quick response to franchisees and assist them with any marketing needs.

Most franchisees do not have franchisors’ marketing experience and they look to you for direction.

From the franchisees prospective, the franchisor collects their money and spends their money, so they expect to be heard. It is truly about respect and providing excellence communications. The franchisors that do this well, are the top franchise organizations in the country.

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