from Jim Fitzgerald, founder and CEO, Taradel LLC.
Not that long ago, franchises had it easy when it came to marketing.
As long as it had a decent budget, a franchise could introduce its brand or build its identity through a coordinated plan of newspaper, TV and radio ads, taking advantage of the fact that consumers had limited ways to consume media. And limited ways to ignore or avoid an ad.
Alas, consumers have logged on, effectively shunning newspapers. They’ve tuned in to YouTube or Netflix, limiting the effectiveness of commercials. And they’d rather click than call, removing that personal touch in the selling process.
It’s a far cry from a time when the newspaper ruled the day, and it took real, actual effort to change the channel on your TV.
These days, studies have shown that it takes marketers seven to 12 impressions of a single message to impact a consumer’s buying habits or purchasing decisions. Even though businesses and consumers are connected around the clock, it takes a lot of effort to craft the perfect message for Facebook, LinkedIn, Pandora and wherever else your customers spend their time.
We’ve all been calling it “integrated marketing” for a couple of decades, and the term has experienced several rounds of being buzzworthy. I’d argue that we just call it marketing.
Whatever you call it, it’s the new standard.
Think about your online searches or purchases. Remember when you started researching a used car and ads from Cars.com or another site began appearing when you went to your favorite websites. Or when you stocked up on dress shirts from Joseph A. Bank and started getting near-daily offers for other items.
But it’s not just the Starbucks and McDonald’s of the world that can play ball. When done strategically, consistent and relevant marketing can level the playing field for franchises and small business owners.
Take for instance Mosquito Squad, one of the 15 fastest-growing franchises in America according to Inc. magazine. We had the privilege of working with the up-and-coming brand as it encountered some common marketing pitfalls.
Like many franchises, Mosquito Squad was searching for affordable, convenient and efficient ROI-driven marketing solutions for its franchises. In particular, it sought a solution through Every Door Direct Mail® (the U.S. equivalent to Snap Admail in Canada), an affordable and targeted direct mail product, to serve as a core component of its integrated marketing strategy.
Franchisors and franchisees don’t always see eye to eye when it comes to marketing the franchise. Sometimes, it’s a lack of leadership, communication or vision from the franchise. Other times, the franchisees either think they can market to their market better on their own or don’t understand the harm inconsistencies in the look and feel of marketing materials can have on their business.
Mosquito Squad wanted to streamline the process, making it simple so its franchises didn’t need to worry about design, printing, mail prep, postage or delivery. And it was able to approve all creative, branding and offers during the process, a win-win for both corporate and the franchisees.
Arming your franchisees with consistent messaging, in this case a direct mail piece, is just one piece of the puzzle.
Remember, it takes seven to 12 impressions of a single message to impact a customer. For lack of a better term, it’s time to integrate.
Many franchises and business owners treat direct mail and email marketing as separate. In reality, the two should work hand in hand and be integrated into other marketing strategies.
All the effort that goes into the direct mail look can be replicated for well-timed e-mails to hit your customers’ in-boxes shortly after they receive your offer in the mail. That same look and feel can resonate on your social media channels, banner ads or even, dare I say, TV or newspaper ads. Across the channels, the call to action should remain the same, as should the offer, redemption and end result.
Haphazard or inconsistent attempts to move the needle will result in just that: inconsistent results. The same can be said for putting all of your eggs into one marketing basket. Your customers are all over the place – one size no longer fits all.
Marketing your franchise or small business these days need not break the bank. But it does take time, effort and patience. And above all, it takes coordination to put all the pieces together to create something special.
Without it, you’re living in the past.
Jim Fitzgerald is the founder and CEO of Taradel LLC, an advertising and marketing services firm that offers solutions like Every Door Direct Mail, integrated marketing, digital marketing and more for small businesses, franchisors and national corporations. Jim has more than two decades of marketing experience and has helped dozens of businesses grow.
To learn more about Taradel LLC, visit www.Taradel.com.