I spent the majority of my career either working for advertising and marketing agencies or as the client of an advertising or marketing agency. These agencies were top-notch and among the elite marketers in the U.S. As a client, they did a great job of meeting my needs at the national and even local market levels. However, when it came to knowing the needs for an individual franchise location—they just didn’t get it.
Will this idea work on Mars??
The ideas I’d get from these agencies, for marketing individual locations, just never worked for one individual location—-much less for multiple individual locations. I would try and explain that the ideas needed to fit a wide variety of situations—different demographics, different types of locations, different weather patterns. I’d ask if these ideas could easily be implemented by one individual location. If the idea was affordable and reasonable to implement at one individual location. My colleagues and counterparts would look at me as if I had just landed from Mars. I’m sure they thought, “What??? These are some incredibly smart marketing ideas—what’s wrong with you Kathy?”
The reality is, most marketers are not taught to focus on the needs of individual locations. They are taught to come up with the best strategic ideas that will encourage business across mass markets. They analyze a company’s customer base—identifying behavioral groups and types of customers. They look for the largest groups and create ideas that will appeal to those customers. That’s smart—-from the national or local market perspective—as it’s the most efficient approach. Find the biggest areas of opportunity and go for it. However, these analyses include all locations across the country or within a designated market—which assumes that the customers in each location ,across the country or designated market, are exactly the same. If you’ve ever visited a franchise location that’s located inside a retailer and then another one down the road that’s located in a downtown area—you know that the customers in each of those locations are totally different.
Most marketers are great at mass market, shot-gun approaches and they definitely take advantage of low hanging fruit when it comes to generating sales. But, as individual franchisees and business owners, you don’t want to leave any fruit on the tree. You want ideas that will leverage every opportunity your business has.
Don’t leave money on the table!
If you’ve been reading my blog posts these last few months, you know that I am passionate about Local Customer Engagement, or Local Store Marketing as it’s sometimes called. Each individual location has its own opportunities and these opportunities have the ability to bring in a lot of incremental sales. But, you won’t find the answers in national marketing programs or even local marketing programs. You need to look at the opportunities that are specific to your location. You need to create plans that leverage the national and local market plans—but, that make them come to life in your location. You need to create plans that take advantage of the events, activities and needs of your community.
As individual business owners, you spend a lot of money on labor. You spend a lot of money on décor and equipment upgrades. You might even spend money on landscaping. I’m sure you would never dream of sending a check to a “national labor fund” and have them manage your staffing. How could they possibly know the best way to staff your particular location? Yet, many franchisees write a check to national and local co-op marketing funds and expect all of their marketing needs to be addressed. I’m here to tell you—only a part of your needs are being met—you need to dedicate a percent of sales to Local Customer Engagement—-dollars that will be used in your specific trading area and in your trading area alone. Dollars that will capture all of the fruit on the tree—not just the low hanging fruit or the fruit that the shotgun knocks to the ground.
Grade A, High Quality Fruit
Yes, I’m very opinionated about this. But, it’s only because I saw it work for years at McDonald’s. Franchisees that would invest in Local Store Marketing saw bigger returns than those that relied solely on national or local co-op marketing efforts. Those that participated in their local communities, and that developed targeted LSM plans, built strong sales-building foundations. Foundations that weathered storms of recession, bad publicity or intense competition. So, yes, I’m passionate about sharing this message because it works!! So, as you read this, ask yourself, are you relying on low-hanging fruit to drive your business? Or do you think you are leaving a lot of ripe, ready-to-harvest fruit on the table? Now is the time to stop relying on the shotgun approach and make sure that you have a plan that’s specifically going to drive business to your location.
Interested in learning more about creating LSM plans for your franchise or multi-unit business? Check out 7 Questions to Ask When Building a Local Store Marketing Plan #LSM #LocalCustomerEngagement #LocalStoreMarketing