Santa hats? A green and red tinsel draped catalogue? Customer selfies with the latest promotional product featured on the Facebook page?
It’s that time of year again: a challenge for anyone responsible for promoting their business and spreading goodwill among customers.
Independent business owners add marketing guru to their long list of essential skills and the best commit to an annual campaign that gives them a boost to their brand, product and service which is needed at seasonal and industry-specific times.
Marketing today isn’t just about the sales catalogue, the gift-wrapped merchandise, Santa specials and the promotional posters. However, the prevalence of social media and the need for an online presence for all businesses has added numerous complexities to the job of marketing a brand.
Christmas brings a spotlight on to the issue – is there a greater concentration of marketing minds at one time working to get the mix of promotions right across online and offline channels? Get it right and there will be benefits for business owners clamouring to take their share of the Yuletide dollar.
It’s time consuming to create an idea, then plan and execute the concepts that will tempt the promotion-weary shoppers or clients. It can be an expensive exercise to get wrong.
It then makes sense for small business operators to look for dedicated support from experienced practitioners. The proliferation of independent marketing and social media consultancies geared to the small business market is an indication that marketing professionals believe there is a need for such outsourced services.
It’s possible though for small business owners to have access to the expertise in-house, without employing a marketing professional. The level of support provided by franchisors to their franchisees is one of the great benefits of a franchise partnership, which includes marketing assistance.
An investment into a franchise brings with it certain returns (and we’re not talking financials here). Buying into a brand in many cases equates to an on-hand marketing team that creates the campaign idea, provides templates for local area marketing, can advise on promotional activities and is in charge of a marketing levy which is used to establish and boost the brand across the whole network.
Franchisees can enjoy the results of a one-for-all, all-for-one approach to branding and marketing – without the stresses of creation and execution.
That’s not to say the franchisee has no hand in the marketing process. Most franchisors are explicit in their commitment to promoting the brand as a whole and insistent that boosting an individual franchise outlet is the prerogative, and responsibility, of the franchisee concerned.
It’s just so much easier to have the marketing guru to generate or advise on an idea, to bring the latest marketing knowledge to the project. Allowing business owners to work on their business, not just in their business, is one of the truisms of franchising. Another is that going into business as a franchisee means being in business for yourself, not by yourself.
No more anxieties about whether the discount voucher is a better option than an upsell offer, realising that it’s too expensive to run an imaginative campaign so last year’s stocking filler promotion gets a repeat run.
There’s no let up; the marketing calendar rolls on. Before long Australia Day and Valentine’s Day will be demanding attention in the retail world, with the requisite products and promotions.
Individuals with a creative spirit might love the opportunity to bring their ideas to life but others face the marketing challenge with dread. In those instances, having access to a skilled professional has a certain appeal.
About the author
Sarah Stowe is the Editor of Franchising Magazine