Franchise marketing data is simply unmanageable. It’s hard to wrap your head around why until you play out the realities of franchise marketing in the digital age.

Let’s do a thought experiment: say you’re the CMO at Llarry’s Llamas, a fast expanding franchise that sells knitted llamas. You want to capitalize on your recent momentum to rocket to the top of the plush toy industry.

1. The Campaign

First, you plan out a campaign — alongside two others — that focuses on moms and grandmas looking for gift ideas. Within this campaign, you identify three overarching strategies to pursue: awareness, engagement and conversion.

2. The Strategy

The goal of the conversion strategy is to get your target audience to visit their local Llary’s Llamas store. So, you identify all the locations you’d like to have run the conversion strategy  — let’s say your 30 locations on the west coast.

3. Channels

Each of these locations has a set of channels they’ll use. The channels for conversion would most likely be: paid search, paid social and some display sprinkled in.

This is where the complexity of franchise marketing data starts to compound.

4. Platforms

Each of these channels will have a set of platforms the ad sets (i.e., groups of ads) will live on. Paid search would use Bing and Google.

5. Ad Sets

Each platform has a series of ad sets to measure. Ad sets are groups of ads tailored to specific goals. For paid search ads, we would organize them around keywords (e.g., “Cuddly Toys” or “Knitted Llamas”), audiences and destinations (e.g., mobile or desktop).

From here, all franchise marketing data rolls up from individual ads to their ad sets, platforms, channels and on up.

And all this is a fairly simplified explanation. What we aren’t including are the nuances of how a franchise handles campaign deployment. For Llary’s Llamas, let’s say corporate has an agency that provides creative assets, strategy and guidelines.

Ultimately, it’s on the individual stores to execute, though. It’s possible these stores have local agencies of their own to execute for them. So now all this franchise marketing data is getting passed from team to team to team.

By the time it reaches you, the CMO of Llarry’s Llamas, it’s difficult to know

  1. Who all has touched the data.
  2. How out of date it is.
  3. What people leave out for the sake of efficiency and clarity.

Remember, this is for one store using one channel aligning with one strategy within one campaign. Also, you cannot reuse most of the creatives because they’re specific to certain locations.

Time for Some Real Numbers

OK, that’s a lot. Let’s apply some real numbers to this.

Over the course of a month, one multi-location business LumenAd partnered with had 250 ad sets across 15 channels for one campaign. That worked out to around 14,000 records to parse through (i.e., rows in a spreadsheet). That’s one month of one campaign.

That is a lot of data.

How do franchises keep up? Well, most don’t.

The digital advertising ecosystem makes franchise marketing data impossible to get a handle on. It’s just how the industry grew and it seriously underserves a business model that could benefit from it the most, namely multi-location businesses.

What franchises need to properly capitalize on digital advertising is a centralized hub for all franchise marketing data that’s agile enough to adapt to whatever they throw at it.

Next week we’ll dive into why digital media has the potential to turn world of franchise marketing data on its head.

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