How a Digital Agency Can Help Your Franchise Marketing Team Leap (and Sleep) – Part 2

We’re thrilled to welcome guest author Drue Townsend, CEO at An Outside View Consulting and veteran marketer with over 30 years’ experience in franchising, to the site to provide her incredible insight and franchise marketing expertise. In this initial three-part blog series, Drue outlines the top ten ways the right digital marketing agency can help you move your franchise business forward (and allow you and your team to get some sleep).

If you missed Part 1 of the series, you can read it here.

If you are like other marketing leaders, your role is ever-expanding. Whether you are developing new strategies to create revenue-generating leads, reviewing new marketing software tools, executing a new initiative launch, or communicating last months results to ownership, you likely have a limited number of supporting team members, and limited funds to hire and train additional people. While no one on the outside will know your business as well as you and your internal team, working with external marketing agencies can quickly extend your team’s bandwidth, and as importantly, their knowledge and expertise.

In part one of this three-part series, we focused on three core areas: Strategy Development and Extension, Competitive Analysis and Budget Planning & Recommendations. Once you’ve had a chance to develop a solid foundation, consider turning your attention to the following:

4. Media Planning & Buying

Once a feasible marketing budget is determined, your digital marketing agency should begin the process of developing a written media plan. Leveraging data that ensures your media plan is tailored to your customer persona(s) and their corresponding journey(s), your agency should take a data-driven approach to identifying the right mix of media, placements, campaign flights, and the expected resulting metrics (i.e., audience reach, total volume, cost per desired action, return on ad spend). This applies to both brand marketing and local Franchisee marketing.

Everyone on the marketing team – and every outside organization you work with – should clearly understand everything about your target audience(s).  An informed digital marketing agency will also ask for data you have regarding products sold, industries purchasing, buying seasonality, buyer demographics, your competitive landscape and key revenue drivers.

Sharing this confidential information with your agency will help them make better media recommendations, which can lead to faster plan approval and implementation, higher goal achievement, better cost and campaign optimization, and happier constituents (Franchisees and the CEO/Ownership).

5. Creative Content Planning & Development

Everyone on the marketing team – and every outside organization you work with – should also understand everything about your brand positioning, voice tone, and visual brand elements.

A proven digital marketing agency will either work with your established creative and content team and resources, or create content and other creative pieces for you, by following your Brand Guidelines in all the size, copy, format, and other variations needed.  Brands that should also aim to provide approved content to Franchisees to be used in local marketing executions as well, provided they have the resources to do so. In addition to content production and content optimization, it’s also important to leverage your digital agency in creating a Content Calendar (with you or for you) that incorporates historical content performance data, visually depicting by day, week, month, or quarter where your campaigns are running, which creative and ad formats are being used, and key metrics associated with each.

If you are fortunate to have in-house content marketing resources at your disposal, supporting them with additional exerts from your agency team to execute the plan provides more brains, eyes and hands helping to ensure that the messaging, creative specs, pixels, tracking, legal language, and other details required of each placement are correct and scheduled on time.  Simply put, extending your team with agency resources adds valuable expertise and efficiency to your content marketing strategy and process.

6. Communication & Education

Education begins with communication, and your digital marketing agency can help you with both, however this is often one of the biggest efforts franchisors overlook when it comes to vetting proper partners. Whether it is preparing educational webinars for Franchisees, jumping on a call with the operations team to arm them with information in case they are asked marketing questions in the field, explaining to the executive team why certain tactics are valuable while others may represent a poor strategy (however trendy) that could actually increase costs unnecessarily and waste valuable budget, or informing all parties what kind of messaging results in favorable interactions on social media, an experienced digital marketing agency will live and breathe these scenarios every day, ideally with multiple franchise clients.

As a result, they can provide enhanced training for your marketing team, helping team members add more value to the franchise system and aiding in their own career development. Keeping up with the impact of the latest updates and product advancements from leaders like Google and Meta, to knowing what data will no longer be available in which social media channels, to keeping track of new audience options and content ranking tips is exhausting – and not always possible – for a brand marketing team that has many responsibilities beyond digital marketing.

Ensuring that your internal marketing team understands the overall goals, supports the initiatives, and can explain them to Franchisees goes a long way to creating digital marketing credibility, resulting in more successful campaigns and more confident, happier marketing team members.

7. Testing & Optimization

If you are like most marketers, you have limited time and budget, so testing and optimizing new tactics and campaigns becomes very important to maximizing spend and delivering good results. Testing is critically important, and it is often hard to justify pulling funds from existing programs to test other channels, platforms or creative.  Allocating a portion of your media budget – even if it’s just 10% of the total – is a great way to ensure that you are routinely staying ahead of your competition and fostering a mindset of “testing, learning, innovating” among your own teams. Some of the best tests involve a small number of local markets with Franchisees contributing at least a share of the cost, as it increases their interest in the process and their willingness to implement changes if the test results are favorable.

Knowing what to test, how to set up goals and KPIs, what media or campaign components to modify, how much time is needed to garner trusted results and what the cost vs. benefit of implementing the resulting changes might be, are all things that an experienced digital agency can bring to the table.

Sharing test results with impacted audiences (ex: CEO, Ad Council, Franchisees) will let them know that you are informed, on top of evolving trends, and trying to make the most of the budget, as well as that the team is learning and optimizing campaigns to better reach the audience and achieve more organizational goals.

In Summary

Partnering with the right strategic marketing agency is the catalyst your franchise business needs to achieve sustainable growth. By providing comprehensive strategies, data-driven insights, and expert support, they become an indispensable extension of your team. As you sleep soundly, they work tirelessly to propel your franchise marketing forward, unlocking new opportunities for success and growth.

Stay tuned for the final part of our three-part blog series, where we delve deeper into the value of strategic marketing agencies in transforming your franchise marketing endeavors.

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