5 Tips For Building a Franchise Marketing Team
Behind any successful business is a strong team, but behind an exceptional business is a superhero team. Franchise businesses are no exception to this rule.
Franchise marketing is the most overlooked component, usually outsourced or dropped on the laps of the franchise development team. This is partially because of the franchise leadership team’s lack of understanding of the importance of marketing, and partially because of specifics of the franchise marketing discipline.
I will not argue about the importance of marketing or cover generic team building techniques. The point of this article is to address specifics of franchise marketing and how to build a strong franchise marketing team.
Table of Contents
1. Have a franchise marketing plan in place
2. Focus on bigger franchise development goals
3. Identify franchise marketing team workload
4. Communicate in franchise organization
5. Measure franchise marketing performance
1. Develop a Franchise Marketing Plan
Benjamin Franklin once said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail”. Although he did not say it about franchise marketing it cannot be more true and apply to building a superhero franchise marketing team.
Building a detailed marketing plan is not an easy task and should be addressed at the infancy of any franchise organization. The process should go along with preparing franchise disclosure documents. Although often missed by most franchise companies, franchise marketing plan creation should be on the top of the list of any franchisor.
The task of creating a franchise marketing plan can and in most cases should be outsourced to outside consultants or agencies specializing in such type of work. It requires high level expertise. Franchise marketing consultants are usually hired to create the franchise marketing plan.
To make a football analogy: at this stage, you need to create a playbook and usually it is done by the coaching staff (leadership team) and consultants.
A franchise marketing plan is a playbook that is built once and can be adjusted at different stages of franchise organization’s life.
Can you imagine if a professional football team decides to play the season without a playbook?
2. Focus on Bigger Franchise Development Goals
So many times I find franchise organizations focusing on low-hanging marketing goals. They take their eyes off the bigger picture – building a sustainable organization that is in the business of growing and supporting franchisees.
Failing to focus on the big picture usually leads to hiring low and mid-level marketing team members like graphic designers, web developers, and social media managers. For small and medium size franchise organizations, these job functions can be easily outsourced to outside agencies and freelancers.
Usually, hiring decisions at this stage are driven by immediate needs like building websites, creating graphic files, or managing social media accounts. Don’t get me wrong, all these marketing tasks are important but bringing a person with marketing vision to the team must be a priority for any franchisor.
The key at this stage is to have an experienced Marketing Director as part of your in-house marketing team. There is no need for a VP level position because 80 percent of the job duties will be tactical work executing the marketing plan created earlier. The other 20 percent will be the ongoing franchise marketing strategy work driven by an evolving franchise development process.
Back to the football analogy: at this stage you do not need to hire a coach, you need a quarterback who understands the game plan and can play on the field.
3. Identify Franchise Marketing Team Workload
Now is the fun part.
Quarterbacks cannot throw the ball and catch it at the same time. They need a team around them.
Due to the complex nature of franchise marketing, many organizations outsource marketing functions to outside agencies and let agencies do all the work. In this scenario, the marketing director will end up managing the marketing agency. Managing an outside agency is not an easy task, and requires skills and experience.
Good marketing agencies can be a part of the in-house marketing team but not the marketing team.
Most franchise marketing functions are focused on digital marketing, and the key is to hire a marketing professional who is cross trained on different subjects. For example, many graphic designers are taking on web development and social media tasks.
Hiring Digital Marketing Specialist is the next step in building a successful franchise marketing team.
A Digital Marketing Specialist must have skills and be responsible for identified marketing tasks. These tasks should not be outsourced to outside agencies or freelancers.
The marketing director should identify the workload and consider using an outside agency for specific tasks that cannot be performed in-house. Some of the tasks that can be outsourced are content writing, SEO, public relations, and franchise lead generation.
As the marketing team will grow, look for skill diversity: hire professionals who have skills that can complement the team. The goal is not to do as much work as possible in-house, but rather focus on the quality of completed work.
4. Communicate in Franchise Organization
There are 2 types of communication that are important for franchise marketing teams.
The first type is communication within the team and communication with marketing agencies. Communication sparks creativity and creativity is what makes a franchise organization stand out among competition.
The second type of communication is between different departments within the franchise organization. The franchise development team should provide feedback about the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, new franchisees joining franchise family, etc. Operations and product franchise teams should notify marketing staff about upcoming changes and discontinued products.
5. Measure Franchise Marketing Performance
“You can’t manage something you don’t measure,” said Tony Robbins in his article “The 2-Millimeter Rule”.
One of the terms often used in marketing industry is “key performance indicator” or KPI. The main point to keep in mind is that not all marketing metrics are KPIs. KPIs are only the most important metrics franchise organizations should track to determine the success of their marketing efforts.
Some of the KPIs can be metrics like website traffic, number of franchise leads generated, and social media performance.
Future marketing decisions should be based on legitimate performance data collected from franchise marketing campaigns. The KPIs help franchises determine if the results are improving or changes need to be made.
Winston Churchill once said, “ Those who fail to learn from the past are doomed to repeat it”.
Hiring is always tough and to do it right you need to have a plan and not be afraid to make mistakes. Building the team is even harder because you are not only hiring for skills – you also have to make sure that you build chemistry between the members of the team. I hope that this article will help you to make the right decisions in building your franchise marketing team.