Better Data Management Leads to Improved Marketing Results
I'm a big fan of fantasy football. If you've ever played fantasy football, you know how easy it is to track what's happening throughout the season, week-to-week and day-to-day. Each one of my player's statistics rolls up into an easy-to-use dashboard I can log into and check whenever I want. When I need to make a change, I can easily see who is performing, who is not, and who is playing well. The platform makes it seamless for me to make sure I can get high-performing players into the game.
Now imagine playing fantasy football, but instead of having easy-to-read statistics, you're asked to make decisions based on gut instinct, piecing everything together from different sources to try to form a picture that makes sense. Not only that, but you don't have any player news that could guide future decisions. If that were the case, my team would be guaranteed to miss the playoffs, forcing me to face the last place punishment for our league: performing a 10-minute stand-up routine at an open mic comedy night.
What's really crazy about this second scenario is that franchisors are asked to do this all the time (make decisions based off little data, not perform a stand-up routine). But it doesn't have to be this way, nor should it.
Take control of your data
One of the first questions we ask when analyzing a franchise's marketing strategy is, "Can you tell us what marketing is driving results at a local level for your network?" More often than not, the answer is, "Not really." Most have a "sense" of what is performing based on discussions with the franchisee network, but they do not have any metrics or reporting that explain what is happening across the board so they can make strategic decisions.
As you can imagine, this makes it extremely tough on the franchisor. So, what can be done? One of the most important steps a franchise can make is to understand and take control of their marketing by seeing what is happening clearly across all locations. Finding a centralized platform that is easy to understand and provides dynamic reporting for both individual locations as well as the entire brand is vital.
So why is a 360-degree view of reporting so important? Here are a few reasons.
1. Understanding the return on investment of your marketing mix is key to future decisions
More and more, CMOs are being held accountable to make sure marketing decisions are bringing in a solid return on investment. While that has typically been the end goal of any marketing campaign, it has often been difficult to measure clearly. With the ability to see direct leads come in from all of your locations' digital marketing efforts, it is now easier than ever to determine what is driving the most direct revenue for your business. On top of direct marketing campaigns, you also are able to see how your programs are working together to lift your revenue and brand recognition system-wide.
2. Your network is depending on you for strategic insight and recommendations
Many times, franchisees are making decisions in a silo because they do not have a clear understanding of what is working for someone else. With a bird's-eye view of the marketing efforts of each location, you can drill down to see what is most effective for each location. You can also see what is driving the best results when compiled together. These results make it easy to recommend strategies and best practices to any individual location across the network.
3. Consistency is vital to developing the strength of your brand
Not only is it important to understand what marketing is working, developing consistency across those efforts is key. One of the major struggles that can happen with many locations running marketing is that the core message or brand identity can be lost, leading to brand confusion for the consumer. By having streamlined reporting, you can see which locations may be going a bit "rogue" and help realign them with the brand vision.
4. National marketing must align with local marketing
Last, having a strong grasp on what is working across your locations is integral to figuring out how your national marketing strategy can support those efforts. The key here again is consistency. By developing a consistent message nationally that reinforces the message at the local level, your brand continues to grow. Your reporting can show you exactly where national marketing can help strengthen your network.
Understand your goals
Even with centralized reporting that gives you an understanding of your network's marketing efforts, setting goals is still crucial to determine your success. Are you running a campaign focused purely on leads? What would you like to see as an average cost per lead for your brand? Are you looking to build brand recognition? What metrics are most important to you in determining success for brand lift?
These are key questions when thinking about your strategy and plans for the next year (and beyond). With everything made available to you, there is no longer a reason to have to hem and haw when discussing your networks' marketing successes or challenges.
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