What to avoid in a marketing strategy – don’t be a one channel wonder

Sarah Stowe

The communications landscape is not changing…it has already changed. Twenty years ago families would crowd around the television with undivided attention to watch their favourite broadcast. Today, people will be watching their favourite reality TV show, while interacting through a text message voting system, engaging in a discussion about it via their smartphone on social media and shopping for the shows’ promoted products online through an augmented reality catalogue.

In order to not only survive but to thrive and cut through to a target audience in today’s highly competitive market place, franchise marketing managers must avoid relying on a single channel alone. Traditionally it has been enough of a challenge to direct franchisees to use one or two marketing channels, now franchise marketing managers face the prospect of having to execute a successful multi-channel strategy.  It sounds exhausting, but it doesn’t have to be.

A multi-channel marketing strategy is simply about using many different platforms to reach potential or existing customers with the same messages.

There are ways to automate this process with the help of a platform that can help manage multiple channels.  This way the franchise marketing team can focus on ensuring there are relevant offers and messages available for each channel so that franchisees can execute autonomously.  Some examples of how you can assist your franchisees to go multi-channel include:

Go social

More than 75 percent of Australians are engaged in some form of social media:

  • Facebook has 13.4 million Australian users
  • YouTube has 13 million UAVs
  • WordPress.com has 6.1 million Australian users
  • Tumblr 4.6 million users
  • LinkedIn 3.9 million users

Make sure you know your franchise’s target market and the social media platforms customers use and integrate these into the mix. Having a good set of guidelines for social media activities can help ensure franchisees stay on brand.

Get local:

Facilitate the opportunity for franchisees to collaborate with other businesses or franchises in their local area with a similar customer base by providing them with ideas, contacts and collateral. Take accountability and have franchisees report back to you with their intimate market insights.

Local letterbox advertising campaigns are a proven way to reach your local audience and bring in new customers. Develop content specifically designed to fit through the letterbox and provide your franchisees the resources they require to print and distribute.

Combine online and offline:

Do you have a sale or promotion coming up? Try combining your digital and traditional channels to maximise your reach. For example, promote a sale using a local press advertisement combined with local letterbox, including a QR code to link to a franchisee’s website or social page to capture basic contact information. Then send out an email and SMS campaign as a reminder closer to the sale end date, linking everything back to the franchisee.

Sponsor the local school or charity event

Provide franchisees the content they need to connect and participate in their local community by sponsoring a local event, particularly in a peak promotional time for your business; it’s a great way to get the brand out there in each local community.

Get mobile

Australian has the second highest smartphone penetration in the world with 7.5 million Australians using the internet via their mobile phone during the day. Provide your franchisees with the tools they need to include mobile marketing into your multi-channel strategy, whether it’s search or SMS marketing, an app or a mobile optimised website. If you’re not mobile, you are losing customers.

Email marketing

Email marketing remains the most effective and profitable way to turn prospects into customers therefore it is critical you provide this option for franchisees and provide them with the tools to outreach themselves. An intuitive interface ensures franchisees can manage their own database and have access to pre-approved email templates for your campaigns minimising your workload. This empowers franchisees with the flexibility to easily communicate and engage with their customers, whist ensuring brand compliance and messaging.

4 top tips

  • Encourage franchisees to think multi-channel hitting their target market numerous times with the same message
  • Make it easy for them to access execution tools and consider investing in a multi-channel platform to reduce costs and administration
  • Adapt your content to each channel. Try to keep a consistent theme for brand and offer recall.
  • Synchronise your marketing channels and adapt your content to each channel. You can’t just use different channels sporadically and expect results. The best return on investment comes from a synchronised strategy, with consistent messaging and branding.