How to Get the Most Out of Your Local Marketing Budget
For many franchisees, the prospect of putting together a local marketing campaign can be daunting.
By William Rodriquez, CFE
New business owners may find themselves so caught up in hiring staff, obtaining necessary permits, purchasing inventory, finishing location build-out and ticking off all the boxes of their franchisor’s pre- and post-opening checklist that marketing may be the farthest thing from their mind. Likewise, established franchisees may find it all too easy to postpone forward-planning activities — such as marketing — so they can tackle the more immediate day-to-day challenges of operating a business. The good news is there are ways for them to create local marketing campaigns − and, even more importantly, maximize their budgets − by leveraging the power of a media automation platform. This sophisticated one-stop marketing solution removes any guesswork and anxiety, while adding unparalleled advertising tactics, ease of execution and cost efficiencies.
When using a system like this, your franchisees will want to ask themselves the following questions to help facilitate the planning and execution process.
Who are my customers? Are my customers families with small children who live in the ‘burbs? College kids in nearby dorms − or recent graduates now out on their own? Loft-dwelling married couples in urban areas? Empty-nesters in active lifestyle communities? Or, quite conceivably, all of the above? Your franchisees know their customers best — they’ve seen them walk through their doors or spoken with them by phone. They know which ones tend to be regulars, and which neighborhoods have yet to be penetrated. They need to determine the audience that they’re reaching now, as well as the ones they’d like to make aware of their products and services.
Where do they live? As in real estate, the key to local marketing success is location, location, location. Your franchisees have a certain geographic area surrounding their location or territory where current and potential customers will be most predisposed to buy their products or utilize their services. Because convenience plays more of a role today in our I-need-it-now society, franchisees’ audience pools will be primarily the people who live and work close to where they are. These are the clients they want to reach — and a media automation platform makes it easy for them to do so via ZIP code or carrier route selection. Your franchisees determine the specific geography they want to target and the marketing portal gets their message directly into those consumers’ mailboxes, on their front doorsteps or along their driving routes.
What will I offer them? Here’s where a media automation platform really shines. Rather than guessing which offers might resonate best with their customers, your franchisees are able to select from a variety of approved templates and promotions that you’ve pre-loaded directly into the portal. They “click and pick” the options(s) they’d like to use, “drag and drop” the promotional offers into the template and then customize the offers with their local addresses and phone numbers. Both franchisor and franchisees benefit from this user-friendly, controlled system. You enjoy the peace of mind of knowing that their promotional offers satisfy all your advertising guidelines and legal requirements, while your franchisees are able to create compelling, aesthetically appealing creative pieces in minutes.
How will I get my message to them? A good media automation platform offers a comprehensive selection of advertising tactics ranging from door hangers, newspaper ads, direct mail and freestanding inserts to billboards, brochures, letterhead and business cards − all in one easy-to-access, simple-to-compare portal. Depending on budgeted funds, the possibilities are virtually unlimited – those with a smaller budget may wish to try one or two tactics to test the waters, while those with more marketing funds will have the freedom to utilize multiple tactics synergistically. Certainly, your franchisees will want to use as many different geo-targeted approaches to reach their unique audience as their budgets will allow, recognizing that layering them strategically to complement each other will broaden their reach exponentially. This is yet another area in which a reputable media automation platform can help.
When do I want my advertising tactics executed? As is often said, timing is everything. If your franchisees’ promotions are tied into a particular holiday or special event, they’ll want to release their advertising tactics to arrive in their customers’ hands in advance of that time — not so early that customers put the flyers aside and forget about them, but certainly not past the Fourth of July weekend, for example, so that they’re no longer relevant. A media automation platform should be able to help with that too, as such services know the deadlines for newspaper freestanding inserts, billboard ads or Every Door Direct Mail pieces, and ensure that all materials arrive at the respective vendors on or before their stipulated timeframes. By working through a marketing portal, you and your franchisees ensure that their promotional message arrives as planned, and on schedule.
Why is it important to maximize my marketing efforts? While we all wish we had unlimited local marketing budgets, for most of us, that dream is not a reality. We need to stretch those funds as far as we can, while making sure that our promotional offers reach as many current and potential customers as possible. Tapping into the established relationships and user-friendly operation inherent in a media automation platform allows your franchisees to do just that by taking advantage of volume discounts and consolidated buying power. In addition, they save time by executing all of their marketing efforts from one, easy-to-use portal, and avoid having to deal with multiple sales reps across multiple advertising tactics. It’s truly one-stop shopping at its best.
William Rodriguez, CFE, is president and founder of Silvercrest Advertising, a Los Angeles-based media planning/buying firm. Find him at fransocial.franchise.org. There are ways to create local marketing campaigns by leveraging the power of a media automation platform.