How to Develop Your Franchise Marketing Plan

How to Develop Your Franchise Marketing Plan

9:55 a.m.

My Outlook calendar reminds me that I have a meeting in the conference room at 10 a.m. I’m going to squeeze in a few emails before I head that way. I still beat everyone else here, so I have time to finish my iced coffee.

10 a.m.

My mind is racing as a dozen other marketing executives, marketing managers, copywriters, graphic designers and brand specialists walk through the doors. I’m involved in seven other projects going on, and if that video isn’t edited by 3 p.m., it won’t be delivered on time. I hope this meeting doesn’t last more than an hour. I can’t believe I forgot to pack Sam’s lunch this morning. Ugh, my neighbor just texted to remind me that I am watching her dog Saturday. I’m checking Instagram. I continue to scroll.

10:05 a.m.

The meeting is starting, but I’m still thinking about that video. What are we meeting on again? Oh, that’s right: 2022.

We begin to review last year’s franchise system sales. Now everyone is discussing peaks of seasonality, COVID-19 shutdowns, what campaigns worked and what didn’t, what the competition is doing. There are lots of comments and lots of ideas, some brilliant and some ridiculous. We are talking about opportunities and challenges. It’s overwhelming, to be honest.

10:58 a.m.

We all have to go to different meetings, but we’re nowhere near finished with this conversation. We set another meeting for next week.

Why? Because this year needs everyone’s full attention. This is a seriously important year.

If you are going to grow your franchise system, you need more than one, two, three or even four marketing and planning meetings to discuss how to move the needle. You need a rock-solid strategic plan, creative plan, media-buying plan, content plan and execution plan.

Let’s be real. These have been some very tough years, impacting our businesses more than any other time in history. So, it’s extremely important to get this year right. And even if your brand has been lucky enough to do well during this pandemic, you can’t stop being innovative or let up an inch.  

Here are a few things to think about as you dive into your annual planning sessions. (That’s sessions, plural.)

1. Develop your goals and KPIs.

  • What are you aiming for, and how will you measure success?  
  • Are you trying to grow brand awareness?
  • Are you trying to grow sales?
  • How many leads do you need? How are you going to get them?
  • Do you want to grow in specific areas more than others? 

2. Develop a strong media plan.

  • How are you going to reach the audience you desire?
  • What personas do you want to target?
  • What is the best platform for those personas?
  • How will your budget be split out?
  • Should the allocation change from last year?
  • What will your national budget and strategy be? Local budget and strategy?

3. Develop your creative strategy.

  • Are you going to do a new photo shoot, video shoot?
  • What campaigns will you do? How different will they be from last year?
  • What assets will corporate provide to franchisees?
  • Will you have an evergreen marketing campaign going on to help grow the national brand while you have promotional campaigns to help grow your franchisees at the local level?

4. Develop your social content strategy.

  • How often are you going to post?
  • What are you going to post?
  • What is the engagement of what you’ve been posting?
  • Do you need a new strategy?
  • Do you need new images?

5. Develop your public relations strategy.

  • Do you have a separate PR strategy for consumer and for franchise development?
  • What would be a big win for your franchise system?
  • Which franchisees do you want to feature?
  • What other stories do you want to tell?

There are a lot of distractions, and there’s still a lot of work to be done. Make sure you work with your team and your agency to give them the time next year deserves.

Oh, and good luck on the video editing that’s due at 3 p.m. And don’t forget to feed your neighbor’s dog Saturday. Cheers.