In order to attract and retain the right franchisees, the franchisor needs to develop a marketing strategy through which to inform the target market that the franchise system is ready for deployment- for them to consider investing their hard-earned cash and time in it.
It is important to note that marketing as discussed below is a function carried out by the franchisor-to attract new franchisees-and jointly by the franchisor and franchisees-to attract the final consumer to the franchised and company-owned outlets.
Various communication techniques are available to communicate with the franchisor’s target market. Koekemoer (2005:2) warns however, that using these techniques selectively rather than synergistically, can lead to failure in the effectiveness of a communications programme. In his view, effective communications can be improved by taking an integrated marketing communications approach.
According to Koekemoer (2005:3) integrated marketing communications is “……a process for managing the customer relationships that drive brand value. More specifically, it is a cross functional process for creating and nourishing profitable relationships with customers and other stakeholders by strategically controlling or influencing all messages sent to these groups….”
It is important to note that when it comes to marketing the product to the final consumer, the franchisor handles national while the franchisor handles local marketing.
In attracting new franchisees and marketing the product to the final customer, there are different primary tools of marketing communications that can be used in different combinations and with different degrees of intensity in order to achieve specific communication goals.
The choice will depend on the target of the communication. These tools are as follows:
First is advertising: A distinctive quality of advertising is that it reaches a large and often a mass audience and is generally used to create demand for products and/or services. Advertising messages are delivered in a variety of formats using many different media which include newspapers, magazines, television, cinema, radio, outdoor and the internet including social media.
Advertising targeted to prospective franchisees to invest in the franchise network and to the end user of the franchise network products should therefore be placed in appropriate media where the respective prospects are likely to see and act accordingly.
Second is sales promotion: This communications medium consists of short-term incentives to encourage the purchase or sales of a product or service. Sales promotions offer customers additional value in order to induce an immediate sale.
In attracting new franchisees, a franchisor could use discounts by offering the franchise at a discounted rate.
In attracting the final consumer to the franchised outlets, both the franchisor and the franchisee could use coupons, premiums, discounts and promotions to attract and retain new sales.
Third is personal selling: A franchisor seeking to recruit franchisees could use personal selling by engaging prospects on a one-on-one basis and explaining the benefits of the franchise system. In attracting the final consumer, this function is primarily performed by the franchisee and their staff.
It is a powerful form of communication because the message can be presented in a personal way.
In the franchise system this is a group activity in that all franchisees across the franchise network are expected to present the same message.
Forth is direct marketing: In this method, marketing offers and communications are tailored to the needs of narrowly-defined market segment or even individual buyers or users.
This method consists of direct contact being made with prospects and customers. Communication is often on a one-to-one and interactive basis.
A franchisor seeking prospective franchisees could arrange a presentation at a leading business association. During the presentation, the franchisor takes the audience through the franchise offer and takes details of interested prospects for follow up.
In attracting the final customer, franchisees could use other direct marketing techniques such as direct mail, telemarketing, inserts in print media and catalogues.
Even the electronic media can be used to generate a direct response by both the franchisor seeking new franchisees and the franchisees seeking to attract the final consumer.
The writer is a franchise consultant working to promote adoption of franchising in Africa. He works with country apex private sector bodies to increase the uptake of franchising by helping indigenous African brands to franchise.
We turn around struggling indigenous franchise brands to franchise cross-border.
We settle international franchise brands into Africa to build a well-balanced franchise sector.
We help African governments create franchise-friendly business environments for quicker African economic integration under AfCFTA.