How and Why Franchise Consumer Marketers Are Going Local

Jan 25, 2018

Martha France

A shift is underway from national to local franchise marketing.Could there be a shake-up on the horizon regarding national advertising funds paid into by franchisees for the purpose of promoting franchise brand awareness at the national level? The answer may very well be “yes,” as new research indicates franchisors are shifting from an over-investment in national-level marketing to locally targeted campaigns, in order to tap into the local movement that consumers are increasingly embracing.

In the new “Franchisee Advertising and Marketing Research Report,” research firm BIA/Kelsey forecasts national brands will increase their local advertising investments from $61 billion in 2016 to $74 billion by 2021.

The trend of moving marketing focus from national to local is one that we heard highlighted at last year’s Franchise Consumer Marketing Conference. It also mirrors what Vya has been observing with our franchise clients.

While it makes sense strategically to go local, funding and executing centrally controlled localized marketing programs can be complicated. Advances in adtech and martech are making it easier, which is likely why more and more franchises are able to shift funds into local.

The BIA/Kelsey report suggests the first step to creating an effective national-local ad program is to consider a new approach to advertising funding. Combining the national advertising fund with local marketing dollars creates one national-local fund committed to producing the biggest impact at the local level.

With funding revamped, the next challenge is providing solutions and platforms that allow national brands to develop and maintain brand integrity while gaining the benefits of localizing their brand at scale. Here’s where technology is already having an impact. Platforms like our own marketing resource management system actually enable franchisors to retain control of locally focused advertising programs by centralizing ad creation and campaign management, with the ability to customize at the local level.

There are other challenges to getting franchisees to buy into national-local marketing programs. According to BIA/Kelsey, franchisees are willing to invest more in advertising but want more and improved analytics and benchmarking data to help them make better decisions. Compared with last year’s survey, the biggest changes in types of franchisor support requested by franchisees included a desire for more support with “performance analytics” (nearly tripling from 10.9 percent to 29.8 percent) and a doubling of demand for “more benchmarking data on performance of other franchisees” (from 10.9 percent to 21.0 percent).

Finding a common metric for tracking cross-channel performance of localized marketing programs could be the Holy Grail that propels national-local marketing to become the essential approach for franchise marketing success.

In the meantime, we expect franchise consumer marketers to continue to move ad funds toward localized marketing programs that offer the best opportunity to effectively engage franchisees and their customers. 

More franchise local marketing trends are examined in BIA/Kelsey’s Franchisee Advertising and Marketing Research Report. You can download it for free here, compliments of Vya.

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Tags: local marketing budgets, franchise, franchise local marketing

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