The Essence of a Franchise Marketing Plan
When it comes to developing, reading and/or signing the documents necessary for a franchisor to begin or a franchisee to buy in, it is the “marketing plan” that should be studied extremely closely.
Most states which require franchisors to register with some state agency before selling franchises in their state require that franchisors discuss in some detail the marketing plan being provided to franchisees for their product line and brand . The Federal Trade Commission imposes similar requirements. Various questions that should always be answered, with the help of a franchise law attorney who knows the ins-and-outs of all franchise documents, include everything from whether or not the franchisor provides promotional materials to whether or not they provide training. Is an operations manual provided? And, most of all, is the franchisee free to make marketing decisions for their locations, or does the franchisor make sure they retain full control over the advertising ‘moves.’ This last question is most definitely something that must be researched before any franchisee goes forward.
When it comes to the marketing plan of a franchise, the statements must be crisp and clear. With many franchise systems, a franchisee will be competing with other businesses in the same marketplace – a marketing plan is critical to the success of the franchised business you are buying. You need to know the intricacies – the level of advice or training you’ll be provided, and what, exactly are the advertising paths this particular franchise walks down. Literature such as brochures, pamphlets and other advertising materials are necessary in the promotion of the franchise – but they are also only one piece of the overall plan.
In this day and age, having a marketing plan set firmly in place is an absolute must for franchises– most especially when it comes to the social media realm. Many ‘old school techniques’ such as, direct mail campaigns, have basically found their way into the “Smithsonian” of Corporate America. Remember when networking meant attending an event, shaking hands and passing out your business card? Well…the twenty-something’s who have become the social media and new media managers in the 21st Century most likely will not even have a business card, considering that 85% of all networking is now done in the depths of the “Internet Superhighway.” Of course, with all this technology, they probably have a business card that pops up on screen in 3-D and sings a memorable theme song.
The franchise marketing plan is a very serious issue for franchisees to study. Not only are they investing their own hard-earned money into someone else’s innovative ‘idea,’ but they are also taking on a position that will involve a great deal of time and energy to learn everything there is to know about a specific brand or industry.
Within the marketing plan you should see many things mentioned. In-store advertising, of course, is a great method when it comes to building clientele. Using in-store advertising combined with frequent visitors to your franchise location opens up a path to expand your client list, while at the same time working with them to gain more leads.
And that dreaded networking is still a must, but done in a completely different way from long ago. Networking remains high on the list for lead generation and there are several ways to use this method to sell more. Email marketing, landing pages, social networking sites (Facebook and LinkedIn) – these are all effective strategies to employ in order to increase sales.
When it comes to building your name in the ‘neighborhood,’ the use of local media is also a great tool to create new leads. Make sure to ‘announce’ your franchise to one and all; advise consumers about the benefits your franchise will bring to the local economy. National media, of course, would provide your franchise with the most exposure possible; however, this is certainly a path that costs a great deal of money for the start-up franchise to invest in.
The largest part of any marketing plan will be utilizing the power of the Internet. From establishing a fantastic website, to assessing campaigns 24/7 in order to find out what’s working and what’s not, to strategies involving the most popular search engines which will supply detailed information on how to help boost your marketing campaign – the digital world will provide everything needed to increase ROI.
Something that you may have thought went to the Corporate America Smithsonian already, is actually still working in the year 2012. Tradeshows are still a great way for franchise owners to learn about their industry through events, speakers and interactions with current owners as well as prospective franchise owners. Not only that, but a table at a tradeshow will offer franchises the chance to increase their product’s visibility, promote new products and generate more leads.
So when it comes to researching a marketing plan that will have a prospective franchisee wishing to jump on board with your company immediately, there are a variety of advertising and marketing strategies to consider. And if you’re the franchisee, always make sure to learn about the rules and regulations when it comes to what you can do with this marketing plan, how much freedom you have in the operation or release of a marketing campaign, and more.
In other words, have a franchise attorney like Mike Rosenthal by your side to make sure a plan’s in place that will decrease your costs and increase your success. That’s what marketing is all about.