How to Achieve Excellence in Local Area Marketing

Something happened yesterday at our Brisbane office that sent the team into raptures. A guy in a smart black Polo shirt with a hot pink heart on the sleeve, turned up with a big smile and two large ice-cream cakes. His name is Steven Widener, he’s a Wendy’s franchisee and he was practising, what I have since learned is called, a “random act of Yum!”.

After we all fed our faces and shared our bounty with the physiotherapists next door I headed off to a client meeting over the other side of town. On arriving I chatted with two of the reception staff about our morning ice cream cake experience. What amazed me was they both simultaneously cried out loud “Yum!”. At that moment it occurred to me that Steve’s random act of Yum! was vicariously spreading across Brisbane. The fact I am telling you now is also a testament to the power of a well executed local area marketing initiative.

Is traditional marketing dying?

I think it’s fair to say the use of traditional marketing media such as television and print is fragmenting and being replaced by new forms of media. This trend means franchise systems will increasingly rely on each franchisee to show leadership in promoting their brand and business in their local market.

Local area marketing is of course nothing new. Small business people have always promoted their wares to their local customers. Show me a high performing franchisee and I’ll show you a passionate local area marketer. Whether it’s working with local schools and sporting clubs, sponsoring a community radio show, supporting a local charity or teaming up with other local businesses who serve similar customers; you’ll inevitably find successful franchisees investing time and money in their local markets. Their goal is to be known as a valued contributor to enriching the lives of their local customers and community. People appreciate this and will reciprocate with loyalty.

This highlights an important and valuable opportunity for franchisors to support and equip their franchisees with tools, guidance and encouragement to get involved in their local communities. But is this happening?

Research highlights a gap in local area marketing skills

Last year we conducted a research project investigating the competence of field managers and the value they add to their franchisees. We looked at data from over 300 field managers who had assessed their own skills and abilities in eight key support areas such as training, compliance, business analysis, local area marketing, and so on. We also looked at franchisee ratings of the value their field managers were delivering in these eight areas. The area that both field managers and franchisees rated the lowest was, you guessed it, providing support in local area marketing. (Incidentally, the area rated the highest by both groups was compliance).

This highlights a high value opportunity for franchisors to be doing more to support field managers and franchisees in this area. It is also why we have dedicated two Masterclasses to this topic in our forthcoming Field Manager Summits.

91 free tips on getting franchisees more engaged with marketing

If you are interested in some great tips on getting franchisees more engaged with local area marketing I’m happy to share the findings from a fantastic Franchise Marketing Forum we ran a few years ago. Click here for 91 very practical tips on a range of hot franchise marketing topics. You’re sure to find something useful here.

Finally, a friendly reminder, the early bird registration for this year’s Field Manager Summit ends in just 10 days. It look like the Melbourne Summit in particular will soon be full so I encourage you to visit the website and book your team’s places.

Until next time,

Greg Nathan

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