Franchise Consumer Marketing in 2017
Our firm, Franchise Marketing Systems, supports businesses in developing franchise networks and launching businesses into the franchise market. This work is exciting, new, innovative and really fun work in most cases and we get to in many ways be on the leading edge of what is happening in small business and what trends are taking place in the small business community. Franchise expansion is a great test for what industry segments are showing the most opportunity for growth and what categories are expanding. Really, the franchise market growth is just an extension of the consumer market and what is driving consumer spending.
Sometimes, consumer spending is just part of a trend. Starbucks has been literally genius in how they have managed their market and brand, but ultimately, Starbucks was the beneficiary of a consumer trend where coffee consumers transitioned from spending $1 a cup to $5 a cup and this entire “coffee lifestyle” was born. Starbucks was at the leading edge of this transition, but certainly was the largest beneficiary of this enormous transition in consumer spending for high-end coffee products. Only this type of consumer spending trend could drive the chain from 10,000 units in 2005 to over 25,000 units in 2016 all amidst one of the worst global recessions in history during 2008 – 2010. (https://www.statista.com/statistics/218366/number-of-international-and-us-starbucks-stores/ ) So what’s the point? Some consumer markets are blessed with opportunity and upside and it seems like businesses couldn’t lose if they happened to be in that space at the right time, yet there were hundreds of examples of coffee brands that either failed entirely or didn’t achieve any significant growth during this same time frame in the coffee industry growth curve.
What Starbucks and other successful brands who have scaled through franchising or company owned growth have done exceptionally well is understand and embrace consumer marketing. In 2017, the consumer marketing trend is certainly focused on digital, much like everything else in our lives, the Internet has transformed the way we buy virtually everything. Digital isn’t everything though and brands that are effective at marketing their model on the consumer level understand the complete marketing paradigm to effectively draw traffic into their stores and businesses.
First, great marketing companies are effective at defining their culture and standing for something. Their marketing and promotions all are consistently reminding consumers what they stand for and what the value of the brand is to the customer. Define what makes your brand special and make sure that all of your marketing strategies are effectively telling the same story. If your brand is positioned to be a premium offering, don’t focus on discount marketing through coupons and things that might cheapen the offering. If you are a discount brand, probably better to avoid marketing in the Robb Report.
Second, understand who your customer is and what they read, watch, listen to or care about. Although digital is enormously important, it’s still not everything, there is still a strong case to be made for direct mail, community-directed marketing and referral marketing. In some cases, radio can be even still be effective for some markets and with some customer bases. Social media and loyalty marketing are incredibly important in today’s market for virtually any business. Define your consumer marketing channels that effectively reach your target customer and then build strategies that allow you to execute at the store level.
Christopher Conner is the founder of Franchise Marketing Systems, he holds a degree in marketing, management information systems and an MBA in marketing. Mr. Conner has worked with several hundred businesses to develop platforms to help these brands transition to franchising and position for scaled duplication of a business model. Mr. Conner founded Franchise Marketing Systems in 2009 and has since started 7 new companies in 5 different industry segments. Chris Conner currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia with his wife and two children.
For more information on Mr. Conner’s background, visit this overview: