Under the general name of "marketing" a series of disciplines are concentrated, aimed at:
- keeping current customers satisfied, knowing their preferences and making sure to offer what they really want at the franchise location.
- attract new customers, understanding why "non-customers" do not come to our franchise and investigating what new products and services we could offer to attract them.
- inform current and future clients of our products and services, through efficient communication, public relations, press and corporate sales.
To properly carry out the marketing activities of your franchise, and make it stand out in your territory and have more clients every day, you must face a marketing plan that contains strategic and tactical components.
The strategy is for medium and long term, it is messy, intuitive, innovative, creative, chaotic. The strategy must be up to the franchisor, since by its nature, he/she can look at the maze from above and shape the chaos to try to order it. In this sense, the franchisee and his/her franchise play a fundamental strategic role: the occupation of a territory. This is the strategic sense of the franchise, stopping the competition in its territorial advance, this being a quasi-military analysis.
Instead, the tactic is short-term, orderly, regulated, predictable, smoothly. The role of the franchisee is purely tactical, fulfilling an orderly schedule of tasks to maintain the position and improve it as time passes.
Of course, the franchisee needs a guide from his/her franchisor, also to develop his/her tactical-territorial marketing plan. When both disciplines work in coordination, success is very likely. Without that coordination, the result will be failure, and, as those of us who have worked in this industry for so long are used to, the franchising method will be to blame.
The tactical activities of the franchisee basically consist of the collection of territorial information:
- know the main trends of the industry to which his/her franchise business belongs
- know all the corners of his/her territory, its main public offices, its main companies, its main colleges and universities, its main clinics and hospitals, its clubs, that is, all the opportunities that are hidden behind every corner.
- know his/her customers.
- know his/her competitors.
- carry out effective communication of his/her franchise, the brand that was entrusted to him/her, and develop promotions and events.
So far, the letter of the good marketer's manual.
But what happens in the concrete practice of every day in a franchise?
The franchisee must develop a “curiosity instinct” to carry out his/her daily work as a franchisee. All the information that exists in his/her territory is available to him/her and also to him/her competitors, and whoever sees it first always wins.
The problem is that the opportunities are hidden, it is not easy to see them, you have to find them. And to find the information, you must first search. Hence the issue of curiosity.
The information comes in a disorderly form, without any kind of systematization, it is sometimes confusing and contradictory, and then, it is necessary to learn to detect pearls distributed along the beach, with the absolute certainty that they are there waiting for someone to come and find them.
How to develop that instinct?
Here are some ideas that you should apply daily in a systematic way, assigning tasks and responsibilities among your employees, and setting times and objectives. With the classified and systematized information, you and your collaborators should find the latent opportunities in your territory, before your competitors.
To face the search for addresses, telephones, email, and relevant data of the different targets in your territory, you have tools such as the yellow pages, the local media in which your possible targets advertise, the Internet, or simply walk your territory and find things that others can't.
- Make a list of all companies of all sizes in your territory. This database is of fundamental value to your business and gives you a huge competitive advantage. Schedule a schedule of visits with these companies. Present yourself as a franchisee of your brand for your city. Design special plans for each company and invite top executives to test your product or service. You must gain prestige in your territory as an innovator and avant-garde in your sector.
- Put together special financing plans for each individual company. Company managers are used to negotiating and planning payment terms for what they buy, and they may consider your product or service as just another business.
- Make a list of all sports clubs, gyms, official sports institutions, athletes of all categories, teams and national teams of all sports disciplines in your territory. Prepare sales plans for each of them. Get seen as a "problem solver" while your franchise gains prestige and reliability.
- You have the opportunity to turn one sale into many more sales. A person who attends your local franchise can be your best salesperson from that moment on, if he/she had a shopping experience that delighted himself/herself. This is what is called viral marketing and its results are explosive for sale. If you are proactive and build a good base of relationships, you can take advantage of the multiplier effect that word of mouth has, so that one sale brings you many more sales.
- Invite the most important people in your territory to dinner. You have in your territory a VIP group with whom you have to establish a deep relationship, so that they know in depth the products and services of your franchise and how they can be used to improve the well-being of the city town. Invite them to get to know your franchise and organize special events for them. Be you the one who creates and professionalizes the work in your area, make them identify you with initiative and pro-activity. The list of VIP characters in its territory is unlimited: renowned doctors, engineers, businessmen, lawyers, directors of schools and universities, club presidents, police, fire chiefs, hospital directors ...
- Periodically organize special events open to the public at your franchise store, based on thematic basis of a product you want to promote. This is the best marketing investment you can make. Some of the attendees will become a customer in no time.
However, all these customers may have very different habits and behaviors to consume and to choose their places of consumption.
The theory marks three types of customers according to the place of consumption:
- Flux clients. They are those who live and/or work very close to your franchise premises. They spend most of the day within a 3-minute radius on foot, making center at your franchise store. You must measure this radius, calculate how many people live and/or work in that area, and be in permanent contact and interaction with these potential customers, since they are the ones who will cost the least money to attract.
- Traffic customers. They are customers who live and/or work outside of that radius, and who are in a greater radius, approximately 10 minutes by car or other means of transportation. You will have to attract these customers in some way to your franchise location. They are going to evaluate the “hassle/reward” ratio that buying from your franchise generates.
- Traffic Induced Clients. They are customers who buy at your franchise store but were not attracted either by your communication actions or by the brand of your business, but by some other brand or store or company that is nearby from your premises. That is, they entered your franchise store because they were already in the area for some reason. From this, it follows that this type of customer can be very attractive if it is attracted together by merchants in a certain area who do customer attraction actions, although not for a specific brand, as it typically occurs in Shopping Malls.
As you can deduce, each of these types of customers needs special types of communication. And that is where you can contribute the most to the strategic communication plan of your franchisor, since no one like you knows your territorial habits.
Your tactical function is of paramount importance for the strategic building of the brand. Working in coordination increases the value of all participants.
The Japanese have a saying "strategy without tactics is useless, but tactics without strategy are deadly."
Both are of fundamental importance, and, more than once we have seen a chess game that ends up with the best tactician of the two, although both have had a well planned strategy.
Thank you for reading!
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