1851 Franchise spoke with the experts to see how local owners should—and shouldn't—be spending their marketing money.
Marketing is a vital tool for business growth and brand recognition across all industries. Certain companies may choose to harness digital platforms while others favor television or print. With so many marketing channels, it can be a challenge to find the right fit for a brand.
Franchisors often offer marketing training and educational resources for franchisees. Some offer detailed, month-by-month plans based on insights gathered from previous campaign results. Others offer comprehensive coaching sessions and online classes for franchisees to grow comfortable with marketing initiatives.
1851 spoke with three experts to learn where franchisees should and shouldn’t be spending their marketing budgets. Bob Lewis of Closet & Storage Concepts, Paul Pickett of Wild Birds Unlimited and Dawn Kroeger of TWO MEN AND A TRUCK all offered the following tips:
- “We see a lot of franchisees inundated with self-proclaimed digital experts. There are a lot of bad-practice operators out there. Franchisees should be careful with these marketing solicitations. They can do more harm than good.” - Lewis
- “For any brand, specific marketing strategies need change as time goes on. A new, young franchisee should be focused on new customer acquisition. As stores mature, we recommend shifting the marketing spend to focus on retention.” - Pickett
- “The most successful franchisees build and execute a strong plan with a mix of tactics. They also have a dedicated marketing person on staff to ensure execution and measurement of those tactics. A lot of modern marketing is a hands-on process and requires a dedicated marketer to actively manage a brand’s reputation.” - Kroeger
- “Digital is where the bulk of the marketing budget should be, whether that is SEO, pay per click, social media or blogging. There should be a lot of weight given towards digital, but franchisees should always be on the lookout for other opportunities.” - Lewis
- “Proper budgeting is essential. When a store is experiencing a lull in sales, the easiest way to cut costs is to cut out marketing. This can turn out to be the worst decision because the main goal at this time should be driving traffic. It is essential to plan in advance.” - Pickett
In terms of franchisor responsibility, Kroeger also recommends being transparent with franchisees about the use of an ad fund. Any spend should be done in a way that takes pressure off of local franchisees and remains squarely in their interests.