The first step in developing a franchise marketing plan is to discuss potential marketing options with the parent company from whom the franchise was purchased. Many companies have set rules in place about marketing plans, promotions, and merchandise. Some may allow individual owners to begin doing their own promotions and ads, but others have strict rules governing the use of advertisements which bear the company name. Once the regulations have been learned, developing a franchise marketing plan involves determining an audience, finding out what that audience wants in a product or service, and tailoring ads and campaigns toward those wants.
The audience is the most important aspect when developing a franchise marketing plan. This refers to the people who will buy a product or service. Every business tends to have a key audience it targets. For example, a cosmetics company specializing in anti-aging products would mainly target its ads and campaigns towards women who want to look younger. If the products being sold were higher in price when compared to similar items, the audience would also include those who are within a certain income bracket. Similarly, ad space would be wasted if this same company purchased an ad in a magazine or publication tailored mostly to men or teens.
Another important part of developing a franchise marketing plan is to determine what the audience or key demographic is looking for in the market that is not currently being offered. This can be done by taking consumer polls from current customers and asking questions about the industry in general and which services are lacking. Results can be used to determine which promotions to offer and which are already being offered by the competition.
A successful marketing plan also includes a unique selling point for the business. This is a feature or benefit being offered by the company that is not currently being advertised by competitors. For instance, if there are two bakeries offering homemade cakes made with organic ingredients, one may advertise the freshness of their ingredients while the other may choose to advertise a low price. Both may have similar prices and products, but each features a different way to portray its business.
Including a unique selling point in ads and campaigns helps to give the audience an idea of what the company stands for. This is part of “branding”, or determining the impression or concept the public has of a certain business. This issue may already be determined with a franchise marketing plan because the parent company has likely already developed expensive marketing campaigns to brand the company. Therefore, when someone sees the logo of a nationally recognized franchise, the perception they have of that company is already determined, regardless of the individual franchise owners.
Franchise owners are generally given marketing ideas prior to opening for business. This is often offered by the parent company since they may receive a commission on the franchise’s income. By doing this, individual owners are able to get off to a better start without having to focus as much on developing an individual franchise marketing plan. Many franchises don’t allow individual plans without company consent, and plans generally have to keep with the overall brand and concept developed by the parent company.