In my previous blog, I discussed the importance of evaluating a prospective franchisor by their franchise support. The first topic we covered was operations support.
This blog covers marketing support.
Franchise Marketing, or otherwise known as Local Store Marketing, or LSM - means “Let's Sell More”! Well it really doesn't stand for that; it means “Local Store Marketing”. It's the attitude one must possess to drive their franchise business forward.
As the legendary Tom Feltenstein, from Four Walls Marketing says: “If you don’t have new customer benefits, you won’t have any new customers”. A big part of marketing is creating a “perceived benefit” by utilizing your product. The National Marketing Team of your franchisor should set this strategy. It is up to you to implement this on a local level via LSM.
Marketing should be a part of your daily routine from the get-go. LSM is not distributing coupons. LSM is being involved in the community and giving back to the community that supports your business. If you distribute a coupon now and then, that is a tactic and should not be the focal part of your LSM.
Ask your perspective franchisor how they support you and getting involved with your community. Based on their current franchisees, what have they seen that is successful so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel?
You also should ask how often a marketing person from the franchisor will visit your business and help you with LSM. If they do not have anyone, that is a huge red flag!
Prior to signing a Franchise Agreement, ask the prospective franchisor how they help on a weekly basis to launch LSM. Realistically, 12 weeks prior to opening, you should start working on LSM. During your Due Diligence period while you are developing your Pro Forma P&L, you developed Sales Projections. The 12 weeks prior to opening will greatly enhance your ability to it your ability to achieve breakeven sales sooner than later.
You have one opportunity to make an impact with opening your business and you need to make the most of it. The first month of your business will determine your future sales. Again, you only have one chance to open with a bang, so talk with your perspective franchisor about the support they provide.
When developing your LSM plan prior to opening, you should consider several months of programs vs. a one-day Grand Opening blowout. LSM, again, is something that you must do on a daily basis. Doing one day Grand Opening completely contradicts your marketing program.
There are three main methods you need to be specific and intentional on developing to maximize your sales growth.
These three are: Transactions, Frequency and Average Check.
Ask your perspective franchisor what plans they have developed and ready to implement in the each of these areas.
Transactions simply means the number of “orders” you conduct on a daily basis.
Frequency can be defined as how often those orders are placed.
Average check is how much each of those orders cost.
A balanced marketing plan should hit on each of those three cylinders on a consistent basis and be mapped out on a calendar.
In my next blog, I'll talk about what you should look for in general support from your franchisor.
If you like this article and would like to discuss this further, feel free to reach out to me, Janice Charles, so we can talk further. I can be reached at 303-319-5186 or email@example.com.
As a franchise consultant, I often have clients who fear the systems, procedures, rules, policies and procedures they have to adhere to as franchise owners equate to “Straitjackets” that stifle innovation and creativity.
While, yes, you do have to comply with the franchisor’s systems … for example, there are 3 pickles on the McDonald’s Big Mac, not 4, not 2 … but 3 and ONLY 3. But, franchises create systems from years of experience and trial and error. That’s one of the greatest reasons for investing in a franchise -- you don’t have to “invent the wheel” yourself.
That said, can you “make the wheel rounder?” The short answer is … absolutely!
Here’s the favorite example I share with my clients: to this day, the best-selling sandwich in the history of McDonald’s is the Big Mac.
The Big Mac was developed by a franchisee!
Cutting and pasting from Wikipedia, here’s a brief history of how this best-selling product came to be:
The Big Mac had two previous names, both of which failed in the marketplace: the Aristocrat, which consumers found difficult to pronounce and understand, and the Blue Ribbon Burger.
The third name, Big Mac, was created by a 21-year-old advertising secretary who worked at McDonald’s corporate headquarters.
The Big Mac proved popular, and it was added to the menu of all U.S. restaurants in 1968.
Even well-established franchises that have hundreds of franchisees and hundreds of units throughout the US, innovation is encouraged. The franchise companies realize they the great advantage of having many, many franchisees who are all working the same processes. With that many smart people operating the same businesses, some franchisees are inevitably going to find ways to accomplish procedures more efficiently and/or effectively.
Franchise companies embrace this fact and actually create venues to promote improvement and innovation.
Every well-developed franchise company eventually forms a franchise advisory council made up of franchisees from throughout the system. Franchise executives meet with their advisory councils typically each quarter and during these meetings, the executives report on progress from the past quarter and objectives for the next quarter and for the year. But they also use this forum to solicit input from the franchisees.
What’s working well? What’s not working well? How can we improve? What are the franchisees in the field saying? Are there better ways to accomplish what we do?
Even more, at just about every annual conference franchises in any industry conduct, typically each year, they present “round table sessions.” These sessions are usually conducted in large meeting rooms at the franchise convention hotels. In the rooms are a half-dozen or so 20-seat round tables and at each table sit franchise owners who have found a technique to accomplish the systems of the franchises more efficiently and/or effectively.
Franchisees attending the conventions move from table to table every 15 or 20 minutes or so at the sound of a bell in order to be able to learn from each of their fellow franchisees who are hosting round tables.
Franchise companies treasure such events because when a franchisee learns how to improve procedures, advertising, marketing, or operations from a fellow franchisee, the franchisees are quick to adopt the new methods.
No … franchising is not a “Straitjacket.”
There is plenty of room for innovation and improvement and many franchise owners enjoy helping the entire franchise system evolve, improve and thrive.
Who knows? After you invest in a franchise, you just might be the franchise owner who creates your franchise system’s “Big Mac!”
Dave Cooley, Franchise Consultant
Let’s learn more about franchising together.
Call me: 720.259.9475 (Denver – Mountain Time)