The Digital Marketing Brief: Tim Miller, Certified Franchise Expert, Location3 Media
In talking with a few high-octane brands at recent industry conferences and events, I’ve been alarmed at how their national pay-per-click (PPC) programs are structured. Actually, let me rephrase the concern: it’s alarming that so many have their heads in the sand when it comes to the local PPC programs their franchisees are running. Before I offend any top tier corporate franchise digital marketing teams let me be perfectly clear: some of you get it, and I applaud you. But many have yet to embrace the opportunity local PPC presents and are more concerned with buzzwords and new trends than getting this essential piece of the puzzle right.
Let me also clarify that I realize doing local store PPC correctly and in cooperation with national programs is the Holy Grail for franchise systems. Franchisees are generally only concerned with making money in their unit(s). Corporate franchise marketing teams can only do so much to fight the battle of consistent brand messaging. The franchise advisory councils (FAC) within most systems are the voice of the franchisees. If a national ad fund exists and is controlled by a FAC, it is there to promote and build brand equity, which in theory should benefit everyone. The problem with this is if franchisees that don’t see local PPC marketing immediately benefit them they will go seek out their own self-funded strategies. After all, they are business owners, and they have their own bottom line to worry about. So if there are no corporate-approved suppliers for local store PPC programs they will inevitably start competing on corporate brand terms with the national PPC campaigns, which wastes budgets on both sides.
This piece written by Location3 Account Director Anne Baum sums up what’s in our DNA; preventing these issues with integrated digital marketing programs for franchise systems. PPC programs are typically the first place a franchise brand would start in the digital space, because of their ease of use and the ROI of effective campaigns. Some brands only have a budget for a national campaign, but corporate may discover that bottom line increases attributed directly to PPC campaigns allow them to include local budgets as well. Even if there isn’t funding for location campaigns, encouraging franchisees to use the same PPC partner as corporate ensures that the campaigns complement each other rather than competing.
What I’m suggesting is this: if nothing else take how you are structuring your PPC campaigns into serious consideration. Allocate a national budget, but provide options for the local store levels. Ideally, find a PPC partner who can manage campaigns at both levels. Otherwise you will find yourself competing with franchisees or field marketing teams bidding on similar terms, and that just hurts everyone.
Tim Miller is a Certified Franchise Executive and the Director of Sales and Business Development for Location3 Media, a digital marketing partner built to increase your brand’s findability and performance across all digital platforms.