Why Your Franchise Needs a Marketing Plan?
A strong marketing strategy is the need of the hour, without which a business cannot run successfully in the market. A franchising business is a two-fold marketing strategy, in one way it boosts the sales of the parent company and in another way it also takes care of the franchised outlets. A franchisor is involved in the promotion of the brand at the national level while its franchisees at the local level.
Course of Action
Marketing poses a great aid to the franchisor and the franchisees, adding value and profit to the franchising business. The promoting plan is altered to comprehend the necessities and requests of the clients and impact them similarly.
As more and more entrepreneurs adopt franchising as a business model, franchisors should draw a franchise marketing plan laying down specific guidelines to achieve one or more marketing objectives:
Situation Analysis: A thorough analysis of the situation is required to flourish successfully in the fiercely competitive market. Every business needs to have an edge over other rivals to achieve sustainable growth. As customers are the driving force of a business, therefore, a franchisor or franchisee has to analyse the customers’ requirements on regular intervals.
Marketing strategy: A franchisor or franchisee has to strategically plan to pursue the required business proposition. It is necessary for you to conduct market research as it provides specific information about the market. Not only this, market information makes it easy for you to target the specific customers and make changes according to the market.
Marketing-mix decision: Marketing-mix is the basic and tactical element of a marketing plan. It includes four Ps i.e. product, price, place, and promotion. One can modify the offering (to the customers) by varying the elements of marketing mix. For instance, if your product or service is high profile, then you need to focus more on the promotion part rather than focusing on the price. Similarly, if your offering is meant to the lower middle class then you need to highlight the price tag to allure the target customers. So, marketing-mix holds the most important part of the marketing process.
Implementation and control: Once you have placed your product in the market and promoted it through various mediums of communication, the next step would be to monitor it closely. Monitoring the marketing process is necessary in order to incorporate the necessary changes. As the market keeps on changing it becomes essential to accommodate the changes to ensure the sales at various franchised outlets.
Thus, we see that marketing process is an integrated process through which companies operate and fulfill its business targets. It’s well said that business and marketing are interdependent and complementary to each other and when done tactfully can help you meet the desired business targets.
Franchise marketing plan for the prospective franchisor
A typical prospective franchisor is a small and medium business, foraying into franchising. He has the profitable, scalable and duplicable business model which he wants to expand through franchising. As this franchisor is a first timer, he should implement all the 8 Ps of marketing plan, with a special focus on 3 Ps, namely:
Promotion and Advertising: As usually, at this stage, an SME company does not have a big brand name, and finances are tight. It is always a catch-22 situation between how much to spend, what should be the returns on marketing spend and which medium to use. In the internet age, it is recommended that companies should use internet intelligently. Other efficient media for a prospective franchisor is direct marketing tools like exhibitions.
Product: A franchisor's decision about launching a product is very significant. All the products may not be franchisable, even if a product is franchisable, it needs to be modified to suit various regions and countries.
Price: The decision about pricing is crucial for a first-time franchise. Whether to wear a premium tag or allow discount should be decided after an intensive market study of the product.
Franchise marketing plan for emerging franchisor
An emerging franchisor is one who has a good franchise system now and is desirous to go national from being a regional player. This franchisor is also looking forward to fast track growth and is desirous of a sound franchise recruitment plan. For such a franchisor there are four focus areas:
Place and Distribution: The franchisor should carefully select the areas for expansion. For example, if a training company wants to expand its presence from north India, it should decide which next state it should step in. It would make more sense to go to west - adjoining north, rather than heading to extreme south. It should also decide on expansion model, whether master franchise, multiple outlets or single outlet franchise.
Price: As the entry is being made into a new region, a survey needs to be done of competition, price acceptance and product preference in the region. One may have to go for multiple price points for the same product in different regions.
People: The entry into the new region demands study of people's tastes, preferences, and customs. Accordingly, the franchisor may have to bring in appropriate changes in his products/services to make it acceptable to the local people, as also bring in changes in the organisational structure. I have observed that south based stock market companies have not been able to penetrate into north India.
Process: As now lot of franchise recruitment and support will happen from a distance. If the processes of recruitment, on-going support and after sales are not set and implemented, it can lead to failures or franchise disputes. A case in point was coaching classes franchise 10 years back they were all regional based and were not able to go national.