The following article recounts a marketing forum discussion held at the National Franchise Convention in Sydney, 2014.
Cost effective Local Area Marketing methods for franchisees.Gis Marven, Sales Director
Whether you’re a part of a franchise founded in Australia, or the local arm of a much larger system, a common trait of the most successful franchises is their ability to capitalise on their national or international brand at a local level. The strongest franchise systems are greater than the sum of their parts.
At the recent NFC I hosted a panel discussion, which explored the various strategies franchises can use to build momentum at a local level. The panel also included:
Kerry Hannah, National Marketing Manager of Battery World Australia, an Australian franchise that sells a huge range of batteries and accessories.
Kylee Young, National Marketing Manager of Mister Minit, an international franchise specialising in shoe repairs, key duplication, engraving and watch servicing.
Tina Tower, CEO of Begin Bright, an Australian franchise that provides a school readiness & primary tutoring program.
Combined with Whirlwind Print’s extensive experience delivering franchise campaigns, our panel had a great perspective on the Local Area Marketing (LAM) strategies that deliver results. Some interesting points from the discussion are presented below for those who were unable to attend, or for our audience who couldn’t hear over the wild storm!
More than media.
The most important principle of franchising and marketing your franchise is to tap into the power of the brand locally, although the means of achieving this differs greatly from brand to brand. In some cases there can be variations in the execution of LAM according to the geographic spread of franchisees, but it is important to always have the bigger brand strategy driving these decisions.
To get the most out of your budget, it is important to understand that although local media plays a role, LAM is more than popping an ad in the paper, on the radio, or building a social media profile.
Alliances and engagement.
Building alliances with other local businesses is a cost effective strategy that all of our panellists find valuable. It can be as simple as negotiating a referral agreement and producing cards or vouchers to encourage a customer to visit a partner store, capitalising on your shared customer pool.
Mister Minit provides 15% off engraving services to their jewellery store partners in shopping centres. This adds value to the transaction between the jeweller and customer whilst encouraging a flow of business to the Minit franchisee, through linking services and products.
Battery World employs a similar strategy by partnering with mobile phone stores. As these stores focus on mobile phone sales, when a customer returns to the store should they require a new battery, the customer will often be referred on to Battery World. Thus enabling both stores to focus on their core business whilst meeting the customer needs.
Comparatively, the nature of the Begin Bright business means that in addition to pursuing joint ventures with other child related services, such as childcare, sports and community centres etc. franchisees are encouraged to participate in sponsorships and other community engagement strategies, such as supporting local schools, fetes, sports teams etc.
Determining the most appropriate strategy to build alliances and community engagement differs from business to business, however the strongest alliances are mutually beneficial as they foster happy partners who are equally invested in the strength and longevity of the partnership.
Although the nature of LAM is ‘local’, if there is a strong level of participation the affect ripples throughout the brand and strengthens the franchise as a whole. However it can be difficult to get all franchisees working together as just knowing where to start can be a challenge.
Strong leadership, training and a clear strategy will help overcome this roadblock, as well as providing guidance to franchisees kicking off their LAM, followed by support to maintain the relationships and achieve momentum. Mister Minit, Begin Bright and Battery World all supply some form of information pack to each franchise in their system to encourage LAM buy-in and to ensure all franchisees can see the mutual benefits.
Mister Minit provides collateral packs to franchises to help them pursue B2B, LAM and other marketing initiatives.
Begin Bright also supplies a very large number of campaign packs to their franchisees. However, a large range of marketing collateral can be hard to navigate in of itself, therefore they are introducing a marketing schedule to develop a franchise wide focus on each initiative across the year.
Battery World produces activity cards that correspond to each marketing strategy. These include instructions on what to do, referral pads if necessary and suggestions on how to set up and maintain relationships. The cards are designed so that franchisees can pass them through to their staff and encourage storewide execution of the LAM strategies.
All franchises working in unison amplifies the brand voice and increases the power of marketing initiatives across the entire system, so providing LAM tools to franchisees is a worthwhile investment.
Like any business, franchisees are most encouraged to buy into LAM initiatives when they can see proven results, which means it can be difficult to get new marketing strategies adopted across the system. However one of the strengths of LAM is that the impact of a well-executed campaign can be felt immediately and measured directly. For example, leads from referrals can be easily traced back to their point of origin. A less tangible benefit is the community spirit that LAM can nurture; operating within a positive community culture can have it’s own rewards.
Begin Bright has had success with simple and cost effective LAM activities, such as party days, with one such event boosting enrolment by 26%. Demonstrating that investing time and considering the best avenue for engagement can provide exceptional value.
LAM can be a powerful driver of business, but the amount of time and effort that needs to be invested shouldn’t be underestimated. This marketing strategy works so well because it does take effort and the businesses that invest their time to build meaningful business and community connections reap the rewards.
Continue the conversation.
We got some great ideas from opening up the dialogue with our fellow panellists and attendees. If you’ve got a perspective to share, join the conversation #FranchiseLAM @whirlwindprint @BatteryWorld1 @BeginBright facebook.com/MISTERMINIT