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How Franchise Brands can Leverage Community Insights from National Campaigns to Optimize Local Efforts.

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Michael Morris

When it comes to the biggest problems franchise marketing executives face at the roundtable, there’s a common theme that revolves around two main keywords: National and Local. 

We previously explored one major franchise marketing problem in the form of franchisees complaining that national ad fund campaigns don’t benefit all locations equally at the local level. And rightfully so. A secondary problem arises when national or corporate digital marketing campaigns often compete with local store marketing campaigns, leading to cannibalization. This ultimately harms the franchisor, local franchisees, and the end consumer. 

The holy grail for franchise or multi-location digital marketing is creating a symbiotic relationship and avoiding cannibalization. A playing field where national campaigns can coexist with regional or local campaigns and work together in harmony. Or is it? What if there is an even greater prize that can be had to reap riches upon all? A scenario where local and national campaigns not only complement each other, but actually elevate one another to drive results and revenue for the brand and its local franchise locations. Where both high level and granular insights gained can be used to guide the decision-making process across a brand’s entire organization, not just within the marketing department.  

As a franchise marketer, it’s not as elusive as you might think. The answer can make you a hero in the eyes of your peers and the entire franchise system. 

Local Marketing is Important. Hyperlocal Marketing is Essential. 

It’s safe to say most franchise brands recognize the importance of local marketing and the ability of digital marketing campaigns to deliver a powerful ROI. Large retail brands, enterprise QSR, and other multi-location financial services companies have seen measurably improved results by taking national and global campaigns and geo-targeting them down to individual regions and DMAs. The reason behind this success is simple: regions have varied audience numbers you can target for reach and frequency, certain products/promos work well in specific markets, and a DMA’s demographic data can help you better segment and target an audience.

So there you have it, tailor your digital marketing campaigns down to the DMA or region level and you’re as good as gold, right?  Not exactly. There’s a better way.

DMA’s, developed by Nielsen Media Research, are regions or territories where people get the same television and radio options.  DMAs are more than just cities. For instance, the Philadelphia DMA encompasses not just the city, but all areas where Philadelphia TV stations are most watched. The Philadelphia DMA actually includes southern New Jersey and most of Delaware. DMAs might work well if you’re doing media buying for local TV and radio, however when it comes to digital marketing this should no longer be your default option. 

Customer buying patterns and expectations have changed. According to Google, 4 out of 5 consumers use search engines to find local info and want ads customized with locally relevant info based on their city, ZIP code, or immediate surroundings. Local, community level marketing will always be more relevant in the eyes of the consumer because it impacts them on a personal level. Today’s customer searches online with a local intent (e.g. dentist near me, or dentist in [local city]), reads and leaves local online reviews, conducts research online before purchasing at a local store, opts in to receive special deals from their local fast food chains, retail shops, or supermarkets, and now prefers to support local businesses by buying local.

So why do brand managers draw the line at understanding audiences just at the DMA level? It essentially boils down to cost and what it takes to build and optimize 1000s of local campaigns, but the four underlying factors are:

  • Staffing
  • Time
  • Lack of technology
  • Inability to gather and store data

Sure you can market more effectively to the Detroit metro DMA than you can running broad campaigns throughout all of Michigan, but all cities and those surrounding it are their own individual target markets with local customers who have their own unique needs and preferences.  It's very likely that these “successful” brands aren’t going local enough, mistargeting, wasting money, and therefore leaving revenue on the table.

Say Goodbye to Ad Waste and Hello to Data-based

The most successful franchises and multi-location businesses are using past and current data and predictive analytics to generate a better return on investment (ROI). This national and local data can provide primary insights leading to effective business strategies and decisions across the entire organization. Not just within Marketing but across Operations, Product & Category Management, Franchise Development, Human Resources and other teams.

Customers don’t just differ by DMA they differ by location. The best part of having local data is being able to know exactly who you are talking to, what messages, ads, or products resonate the most with them, and who you should be targeting in specific national and local marketing campaigns. You can track the type of visitors that come to your websites, purchase in-store via POS data, are loyal users of your mobile app, and those who engage with your emails, build personas around these “best customers”, and then remarket to them on other sites they visit.

You can also build lookalike audiences based on your best or most engaged customers to target similar prospects and potential new customers across all channels they use from Google, Bing, Facebook, Amazon, YouTube and more. The best part? You can now leverage hyperlocal data to more accurately pinpoint these potential local customers. Gone are the days of having to rely on overly broad national data. 

What multi-location global brand markets with this level of sophistication? Look no further than the coffee behemoth Starbucks. They leverage data collected from their mobile app to determine busiest hours, most ordered drinks during certain times of day, seasonal trends, weather, customer habits and preferences. They use these local customer insights to build national and local marketing campaigns and promotions relying on data that is relevant to their customers based on their demographics and location.

The Benefits of a Symbiotic Relationship Between a Brand’s National and Local Campaigns

So what does this mean for your brand and its franchisees, and how will they mutually benefit? Individual franchisees can benefit from the shared knowledge and history of thousands of national and local level campaigns. Converting national ad copy, top performing keywords and best ad group structures can be applied across all individual locations, but with a hyperlocal twist. Community relevancy can be gleaned through A/B testing creative and incorporating franchisee input. Empower franchise owners and location operators with the ability to participate in campaigns that use highly valuable first party brand data specific to their local communities. The result? Precious national ad funds and individual local marketing budgets are spent with greater efficacy. Budgets and clicks are no longer wasted, leaving potential revenue on the table. 

Here’s a high level look at what’s in it for you and your stakeholders:

National Benefits Gained 

  • Cost savings
    • Spend only where ads have an impact
    • Eliminate hours in spreadsheets and save money on FTEs
  • Strategy
    • Show the creative most relevant to an individual service area
    • Leverage local franchise input and the ability to A/B test
  • Data
    • Macro and hyper micro-level data
    • Connect upper and lower funnel activity
    • Accurate first party info you can’t find anywhere else
    • New customer insights through predictive modeling and look-a-like audiences 

Local Benefits Gained

  • Cost savings
    • Stretch your limited dollars further by using local insights to target the right customer from the first $1
    • Focus spend on retargeting your best local customers and eliminate waste
    • Increase efficacy of prospect and new customer acquisition campaigns by building accurate “local” look-alike audience models based on best local customer attributes
  • Accurate local insights and data gained via national efforts
    • Attributes & affinity overlap
    • Performance relevancy (what national ads worked?)
  • Community relevancy
    • Leverage A/B testing on creative
    • Incorporate local franchisee expertise and give them input
  • Gain franchisee favor and buy-in
    • Through accountability, transparency, and data-driven decision-making power

How Your Brand, Franchisees, and Customers All Come Out Winners

The ability to utilize your data to make global decisions and deliver individual experiences is no longer a thing of the future, it’s the here and now. Understanding, and more importantly, using the macro-level data gained from your customers in a micro-level way for each location is the foundation of a personalized customer experience. Centralizing your customer data in a DMP means you can quickly identify trends based on customer engagement, conversion rates, product sales, and campaign success. These DMPs can be used for optimization, reporting, analytics, attribution, product improvement and innovations, operations, staffing, identifying new franchise development target markets and so much more. The possibilities are astounding and nearly endless.

For new technologies to be truly powerful, they must rely on data as a fundamental driver. At Hyperlocology, our sophisticated tech-based multi-location marketing platform can leverage data from several sources — ranging from keywords someone typed into a search engine, mobile apps, first-party point-of-sale (POS) systems in stores, user behavior on your website, or even email engagement — to drive more targeted, relevant content to each user interacting with your brand at the national and local levels.

The bottom line is this. Technology moves fast. Our proprietary digital marketing solution was developed specifically to handle the unique challenges of multi-location brands and to keep you ahead of the curve when it comes to the evolving digital landscape. Our solution will help relieve your administrative and organizational marketing headaches while enabling you to maintain brand compliance. We give your franchise the flexibility to empower your franchisees to utilize their knowledge of local customer preferences to better engage them in a way no digital marketing algorithm can, as well as the ability to highlight products, promos, and services for their specific locations. 

Ultimately, a centralized marketing and data management platform will allow franchise brands and your franchisees to more cost-effectively tell your stories, only spend money where it counts, promote relevant products in local markets where there’s a demand, and engage with customers at the local level in a more meaningful way. This equates to more revenue for your franchisees at the local store level which means more revenue and profit for your franchise brand as a whole. “National to Local” is where it’s at and we have the tools and expertise to help you get there. 

If you want to dig in more on the topic, read our guide to Transforming Multi-Location Digital Advertising From Siloed to Centralized - just click the button to open!

Transform multi location digital advertising


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