The all-new Franchise Customer Experience Conference (FCXC) allowed marketing, operations and technology professionals to come together in person and share the latest trends in their field of franchising.
I spent most of my time at FCXC in the marketing sessions and spoke with many franchisor attendees, as well as event sponsors about what is going on in local marketing within their systems or with their partners. Here are some of my favorite industry pros comparing notes on the trends they spot in the field.
Carly Selakfield marketing manager, and michelle chircomarketing manager at Ziebart found that many people were talking about “understanding who your customers are not. We often focus on local marketing tactics using our primary target audience, but we usually never go back to a franchisee to explain who we shouldn’t be targeting. They also heard conversations that “if you have a tactic that’s been performing great, don’t feel the need to change it just because it’s been working for a while.” Learn ways to optimize a program that works locally rather than deleting it because of its age, and test new tactics that aren’t necessarily necessary. Adding more tactics doesn’t always equal success. Take a step back and think first about how it will affect the brand locally.
Meg Brodeckvice president of marketing at Authority Marks, says, “At FCXC, there was a recurring theme: the importance of defining customer personas and mapping the customer journey. While not new concepts by any means, the conversations focused on how to provide flexible personas that can be locally adapted not only to better understand who you are marketing to, but also to make sure the persona resonates with your market. Your brand personality doesn’t have to be so rigid that “Super Mom Sue” has the exact same interests, attitudes and values in every location! »
Brittany Graffchief marketing officer at Paint with a twist, sees the growing importance of making marketing easier for franchisees. “We know they wear a ton of hats when running a business, so we partnered with multiple vendors (many of whom were at FCXC!) to help streamline. We have a one-stop digital media partner that helps deliver ads across multiple digital channels so franchisees don’t have to be digital experts to advertise effectively This gives studios the control they want with super easy execution, which is a win-win for everyone.
Martha Francevice president of marketing and sales at Via, says, “From a local marketing perspective, the pandemic has really amplified the need to be able to personalize locally. For example, franchisors have found that some regions need images with masks and others need images without masks. And now, product offerings vary by location: some may still have virtual offering options, some may be 100% in-person, curbside/no curbside, etc. There really is an increased need for simplified local customization at scale. »
Julie Samuelsvice president at eulerity, noted that franchise customers, like most businesses, focus much of their marketing resources on recruiting staff. “Gone are the days when it was enough to post a job offer and spend money behind it. In an employee marketplace, brands need to do more than just offer employment with competitive compensation – they need to build employee branding and become an employer of choice. Digital marketing and deploying a brand awareness budget is necessary to show your candidates who you are, what you stand for, and how you present yourself to the world. Once a potential employee sees your job posting, you want them to already want to work for you.
Recruitment is also a priority for customers of Consumer Merger. CEO Brynn Gibbs and chief operating officer Mark Spencer say they have seen “strong demand from franchisors focusing more on their Glassdoor, Indeed and Google My Business [now Business Profile] pages as they struggle to fill vacancies. Potential employees really take their time to learn about the reputation of these review sites before committing to a brand. Now more than ever, reputation is paramount when hiring for a position.”
Thomas ScottCOO and co-founder of Home-based franchise groupsaid, “One of the biggest trends I’ve seen is the decline in digital spending, primarily due to the move away from traditional, search-based AdWords. [now Google Ads]. The money has migrated to social ad spend, especially conversational marketing built into Meta Messenger for businesses. Brands are realizing that websites, web forms, and phone numbers — traditional business tools for communicating with customers — are becoming obsolete. They are quickly being replaced by real-time communication between a customer and a business through tools like Meta Messenger. Companies that adapt to this see huge gains in customer acquisition.
Mike Ackleydirector of operations at Brand journalistssees that “franchise development marketing is only getting more expensive, and in an age where every dollar counts, it’s so important to make sure you have the right fundamentals. Franchise Brands That Invest In A Website designed to convert and tell an emotionally powerful story that resonates with buyers will fare better no matter what happens to the economy.
What local marketing trends have you spotted lately? Have you heard more at FCXC or other franchise gatherings so far this year? I’d love to hear from you at [email protected]!