Over the last two years, during which time I have been exclusively focused on brand-to-local marketing, one fact has become extremely evident: franchisees typically do not have adequate funds available to propel growth of their local business. However, according to BrandMuscle’s 2018 State of Local Marketing Report, 86% say co-op funds are critical to the success of their business. Whether it’s the absence of co-op support from the brand or insufficient budget allocation from the local business, the resulting reality is the same.
Franchisees often settle for single channel or single tactic advertising campaigns to help control costs. While these campaigns may be affordable and easy to execute by the business or their chosen agency, they are frequently poorly aligned with the consumer journey, and therefore, unlikely to make the cash register ring. For example, it may be easy and affordable to, once again, renew that Yellow Pages listing or buy that local newspaper ad, but is that really reaching your target consumers in a way that will impact their buying decision?
The reality is that today’s consumer has changed dramatically from just a few years ago. Their journey from research to purchase is fully enabled by technology and infinite access to information. They are smarter and better informed. They can easily compare prices, access customer reviews, and even check local inventory. They can purchase with the single click of a button, and have come to expect personalized and highly relevant experiences in all aspects of their lives.
Based on these new consumer expectations, marketers are starting to realize that it’s not a question, or one form of advertising or another (either-or). Reaching today’s consumer requires a multi-channel, multi-touch approach to influence consumers throughout their purchase journey. No longer can marketers simply choose between tactics like direct mail, out-of-home, radio, newspaper, paid search, mobile ads, social, etc. Effective campaigns that will drive profitable sales growth require a more strategic and holistic approach, seamlessly integrating the thoughtfully-chosen channels and tactics to inform, motivate, and predispose consumers to engage and purchase from the local business partner.
This is the point in the article where your job, as the reader, is to ask, “how can I possibly execute a holistic and integrated media campaign on a shoestring budget?” Well, I am glad you asked. But first, let me give you a little background.
Prior to joining the ranks of local marketers, I spent the prior 15+ years planning and executing large scale brand/enterprise campaigns. On the enterprise marketing side, there has historically been an unstated acceptance of a degree of wasteful marketing spend, for both traditional and digital tactics. Whether it’s sending direct mail coupons to the customer who has already made the purchase or paid search/display ads targeting the wrong consumer or geographic location, it is simply considered the cost of doing business. While that may be acceptable at the enterprise or brand level, where budgets tend to be large enough to cover up mistakes, the same does not hold true at the franchisee level. Small budget local campaigns require precision focus and perfection in execution to maximize every dollar spent and impression or click delivered. Without this level of “Precision Marketing,” franchisee budgets simply cannot work hard enough to deliver impactful business results.
So, the answer to the question of how a franchisee can execute an integrated media campaign on a shoestring budget lives in the precision of execution. Precision marketing is about getting rid of wasteful marketing spend by enhancing the effectiveness of integrated marketing through the use of data, insights and advanced marketing technologies. It is a new and more accountable form of marketing that is transforming the preconceived notions about what’s possible, and what should be expected from your marketing investment.
No longer can franchisees (or enterprise marketers, for that matter) blindly spend their precious dollars on single channel tactics with little understanding of their effectiveness in making the cash register ring. Instead, data and insights must be infused throughout the planning process to provide precise guidance on the right mix of traditional and digital tactics to use, while advanced technology is then utilized to precisely pinpoint and deliver marketing messages at the right time and place to impact consumer or business behaviors.
In the future (or current day at BrandMuscle) franchisees will have the power to achieve an even more intelligent form of advertising; one that combines demographic, psychographic and behavioral data with consumer location insight to influence engagement at the optimal time and place.
Imagine a world in which your advertising meets consumers where they are going (not just where they are or where they’ve been) — based on their preferences, observed behaviors and “patterns of life.”
Consider it the next frontier of local advertising.
As President, Consumer Brands, Paul Elliott leads client delivery across the company’s footprint of Cleveland, Kansas City and Austin, and is responsible for innovating, enhancing and delivering the future of Brandmuscle’s Precision Marketing offerings. Paul is a recognized thought leader in digital marketing and customer engagement, with nearly 20 years of experience helping global brands and their local outlets achieve significant results and return on their marketing investments.