Strategies to Increase Franchisee Participation in Local Marketing Efforts


Corporate franchisor marketing teams put in countless hours and Herculean effort into the overarching marketing strategy that protects the brand and serves the franchisees. The most successful 'zors provide their 'zees with a Marketing Playbook featuring all the approved marketing channels, collateral, assets, examples and how-to's making marketing at the local level easy, affordable, and attainable. They know that when franchisees win, everyone wins.

I've seen some amazing playbooks that not only provide all the information that a franchisee needs to execute on-brand localized marketing, but also provide links to specific items and preferred vendors and/or ordering portals to execute the marketing tactic cited. These are the companies that you see on Entrepreneur's Franchise 500 Ranking. Making marketing scalable and easy for franchisees is the key to marketing success.

In the absence of a playbook, franchisees are unsure where to turn and cite the following reasons for deviating from brand compliance and local store marketing efforts:

  • It's too difficult.
  • It's too expensive.
  • They know their market better than corporate.
  • Corporate moves too slow.

Here are some strategies to overcome these objections and increase franchisee participation with local marketing efforts:

  1. Make it easy.
    If your marketing plans are overly-complicated to execute, they will never get done. Franchisees are already wearing multiple hats. They need marketing that is easily executed. Technology like our customized brand portals can help with this by providing the print, digital assets, mailing lists, promo items and social sharing capabilities all in one spot.
  2. Provide incentives.
    How do you reward those who successfully use your local marketing plans? Try to create some competition between your franchisees by using a marketing dashboard and highlight top performers whose marketing spend is on track and revenue is up.
  3. Give some creative freedom.
    Nobody knows the local market better than the franchisee who lives there! Corporate marketing campaigns need to have some flexibility built in that allows the local franchisee to customize assets to match their neighborhood, whether it's highlighting popular menu items or current weather conditions.
  4. Make it fast.
    Speed to market is power. With self-service online access to pre-defined local marketing tactics, franchisees don't have to wait days for turnaround from corporate graphic designers. They can just download/print and go!
  5. Create opportunities for peer sharing
    Franchisees are more likely to adopt a marketing tactic that has been proven to work for one of their peers. If you can pilot a local marketing strategy with your high-performing franchisees and then have them promote their success to the rest of the group, adoption may happen more quickly.

A good marketing playbook also needs a communication plan, and feedback loops to hear about what's working. If your franchise executes quarterly marketing campaigns, you may produce playbooks by quarter, if you have monthly events breaking it down into manageable chunks can be helpful and more meaningful to franchisees. High performers don't just send emails, they also host weekly or monthly conference calls to go over the marketing tactics and answer questions, as well as supporting franchisees with quality contacts internally and with preferred vendors.

'Zees and 'zors let me know in the comments: What is working for you to get everyone on board with local marketing?

About the author

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Karen M. Wenning

Karen M. Wenning

Karen aspired to be a cowgirl or a farmer, but after graduating from UW Madison she found herself crafting prose for luxury brands at an advertising agency. There, she developed a passion for working with graphic designers and marketing professionals, creating brand-right marketing across their networks. As a former client of Suttle-Straus, Karen joined the team in 2008 serving in marketing and sales. She considers herself an accidental salesperson, on a mission to increase her clients’ traffic and sales. At home, Karen can be found challenging her husband and three children to a downhill ski or swim race, growing organic produce while fending off garter snakes, or herding her small flock of chickens.
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Topics: Franchise Marketing