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What is Local Area Marketing for franchise?

Kate Elizabeth — 14 March 2019


Local Area Marketing (LAM) or Local Store Marketing (LSM) is a core tenet in any franchise system and is an invaluable asset to both franchisees and franchisors.

What is Local Area Marketing for franchise?

Local area marketing allows franchisees to identify and implement marketing actions in their local community, forging relationships and connections with locals, rather than have a solely head office-driven, national campaign.

It takes a national, recognisable brand with a higher level of awareness and funnels this awareness and perception to the local area, or territory, of the individual franchisee.

Local area marketing provides options to tailor, or adapt, a national campaign or promotion to local needs. It allows the franchisee to customise the positioning, channel selection and offers to their local audience.

Most franchise agreements include specific directives around local area marketing, and it can be mandated that in addition to the national franchise fees and national adfund contributions, franchisees are to spend an additional % of sales on local area marketing in their territory.

The pleasure and pain of scale

For a franchisor, and the national brand and marketing team, there is an inherent risk in local area marketing, particularly across an extensive network. Whether your model is mandated or opt-in for LAM, every franchisee who executes local area marketing has the potential to dilute the brand and brand strength - the very thing that attracted them in the first place. Most franchisees choosing to execute LAM won't have the intention to damage the brand, but it can be accidental. A network of 30, 70, 150, 500 amplifies the potential pain of this risk.

While the risk is substantial, the upside is also strong, and most likely stronger than a well-managed risk. A franchise network benefits when individual franchisees connect with their local community, support other local initiatives and businesses and are seen to be the local expert, positioned against the faceless chain option.

Dedicated LAM spend allocation also extends the scale and impact of national campaigns, increasing the footprint of awareness and enquiry and footfall generation.

Smart local area marketing

Smart local area marketing uses national campaign assets and customises them for local use. Smart local area marketing fits into the national marketing and promotional plan and is sustained - no one hit wonders here.

Strong franchisors and their marketing teams communicate their national marketing plan with franchisees and then work with them to map a local area marketing plan based on their budget, channels and objectives. Particularly in the early days of a franchisee joining the network, it is important to support them and upskill them in LAM planning so both the network and the store benefits.

Franchisee LAM management

Your franchisees know their community better than anyone - their LAM marketing plan should be based on this in-depth knowledge of both their audience and your product or service.

Common and effective channels for local area marketing include:

  • Radio
  • TVC
  • Letterbox drop
  • Digital advertising
  • Social
  • Press
  • Networking and community events
  • Events sponsorship and hosting
  • Email

Each franchisee should include a mix of these throughout their year and ideally not weight their activity too much in one quarter to the detriment of awareness and sales in other quarters.

Encourage your franchisees to build a plan based around their customers' preferred channels, rather than their personal preference. This can be a challenge because they might not see value in a particular channel, but just because they don't use it doesn't mean their audience doesn't consume content within this space.

If your franchise network also has company-owned stores, use these stores to test and prove new channels or propositions and use the results to demonstrate to franchisees the opportunities within LAM activity they might be hesitant to commit to.

Control and guide

Local area marketing essentially puts the control of the brand into your franchisees to grow awareness and revenue. In most franchise networks a rigorous approval process is in place for each piece of LAM produced and placed to help manage franchise brand reputation.

This approval process is often necessary for brand control but is onerous for both franchisor and franchisee, doubly so with the quick turnaround times evident in local area marketing.

Franchisors can make this control piece easier by producing customised artwork of national campaigns, for example, a flyer for letterbox drop with targeted local offers and products. They can produce individual stings for radio ads and have them ready for franchisees to customise their local radio spot.

Templates can also provide a valuable source of brand control while allowing the franchisees freedom to develop their own collateral. Gone are the days of clunky templates in Word - today's templates are flexible, constraints-based templates, capable of ingesting and using diverse data sources directly from your franchise system.

Talk to our expert team to find out why Outfit’s superior brand management

and marketing production system is the solution to support your local area marketing needs.

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