Get Better Franchise Marketing Through Data

Automotive marketers today are mastering their digital marketing efforts and coordinating efforts across a specialized franchisor-franchisee relationship. The franchisor (OEM) and the franchisee (dealer) send brand messages that harness the power of data to reach the right audience on the right channel with the right message at the right time.

But it wasn’t always that way.

In the heyday of traditional media, most marketers relied heavily on the “spray and pray” marketing method to get one message seen by as many prospective customers as possible.

Back then, it worked, especially for automotive marketers. A limited number of channels existed, so OEM and dealership marketers could reasonably assume one message on a specific channel—such as print, radio, or TV—would create profitable impressions on a well-defined audience.

Two things happened in the 2000s that would forever change the face of automotive marketing.

First, internet use and access for consumers exploded. Second, the Great Recession knocked down car sales—and knocked out some 4,000 dealerships.

The dealers who survived the recession also learned to adapt their marketing so they can thrive in the digital revolution. In addition to a focus on compliance with overarching franchise messages, automotive marketers are moving away from “spray and pray” methods in favor of targeted marketing strategies.

Beyond automotive, other types of franchise marketers also recognize the need for brand compliance in messaging. However, some franchise marketers have been slower to adopt and implement individualized communications based on data.

Graduating Car

So, franchisors: Consider this a lesson from the car lot on how franchise marketing can see better results by using data.

About “spray and pray”

Today, there are data analytics applications and software for just about any digital platform. Marketers can analyze digital actions taken on Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, email newsletters, and corporate websites. Data-driven marketing is accessible. It’s mainstream.

“Spray and pray” marketing is not data-driven. Instead of capitalizing on data—data gathered from social media interactions, email engagement, and other digital actions taken by customers and prospects—“spray and pray” marketing ignores data in favor of a mass message blast.

Essentially, “spray and pray” marketing is a two-step process:

  1. Send the same message to every person in a database.
  2. Hope to see good results.

The digital revolution has made “spray and pray” an unsuccessful marketing technique for most industries, including the automotive and franchise industries.

How it hurts franchisors

One of the major limitations of the “spray and pray” method is that marketers are not able to effectively collect and analyze feedback from their audiences.

Corporate franchise marketing teams use feedback from their franchise locations to help craft brand messages and materials. That feedback is based on interactions and engagement with customers in a franchisee’s local community.

Although corporate messages help maintain a consistent brand image, they aren’t relevant to how customers actually view the franchise brand unless the messages also reflect that community feedback—in other words, that data.

Franchisors know they must continually collect feedback to understand how communities feel about their brand. Unfortunately, a company called Local Vox has found that national franchise brands miss 86 percent of engagement on social media channels.

Multi-Ethnic Group Of Diverse People Holding Letters That Form F

It’s not that people aren’t engaging. Rather, corporate marketing teams miss their feedback. Or, they might misinterpret a lack of feedback.

For instance, say a corporate marketer for a barbecue franchise brand posts a #FF (or Flashback Friday) of the brand’s first store opening. However, the post gets little to no engagement. The marketer concludes that the community isn’t interested in historical posts.

However, maybe that community just doesn’t engage with #FF posts. Maybe #TBT (or Throwback Thursday) is a more compelling and relevant hashtag for the community.

That’s just one example of lost feedback. Email engagement—or lack of it—is another area of missed opportunity for valuable, usable consumer feedback.

Rates for email opens and click-throughs reflect how customers and prospects feel about the messages and offers they receive from a brand. If they find an email relevant to their wants and needs, they will engage.

However, a corporate franchise marketing team may not understand why some people open and click-through their franchisees’ email messages or why others don’t open or click-through. They lack the close connection with people from those communities to gauge how relevant an email message could be.

It’s why franchisors are tired of “spray and pray” email blasts. When they send an email blast to customers and prospects for all of their franchise locations, they have trouble understanding why one message works while another fails.

However, an email campaign driven by data can allow marketers to send one set of messages to customers and another to prospects. They can see which types of content are more compelling to each type of audience.

Conclusion: Franchisors, learn from the auto world and adopt a data-driven approach

“Spray and pray” marketing sounds easy. A corporate franchise marketing team can make a single message to distribute to customers and prospects, so their franchisees don’t have to do any marketing.

However, automotive marketers have found those email blasts and generic social media posts aren’t relevant to franchisee communities. When they are relevant, a corporate team may not understand why one email blast succeeded when others have failed.

So, they’ve turned away from “spray and pray” marketing in favor of a more data-driven approach that can help them collect feedback and apply it more effectively for their audiences. It’s a lesson that all franchise marketers can look to for the future of their marketing.

“Spray and pray” marketing also has negative consequences for franchisees. We’ll get into that in the next post!

Comments are closed.