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    Six ways to reduce marketing costs and drive sales in the year of Covid-19.

    Multi-location and franchise brand marketing teams are under pressure like never before.

    Budgets and teams have been cut, while sales are inconsistent as communities move in and out of lock down levels. As brands rethink what they do and how they get it done, here are the trends we are seeing:

    Moving creative production to the locations

    For many brands, marketing team capacity to service the one-off needs of store locations or franchisees is just not there anymore. As a result we’re seeing renewed interest in Marketing Hub, our self-service local area marketing portal technology, which allows stores to create marketing material themselves using our advanced template technology. Once this tech is in place, stores are mandated to use it, with head office firmly (but nicely) refusing to create bespoke marketing if suitable templates are available.


    Companies with our LAM portal already in place have found it a godsend during Covid, enabling stores to manage their own notifications for store closures, re-openings, changing hours and health and safety notices, plus promotional material to help get sales moving again.

    Connecting with local communities

    Covid has rammed home the importance of community. As Jenny Anderson wrote for Quartz, “Our concerns have become local, our networks street-long, the hustle of modern life reduced to the unit of the home, the local park, the grocery store and pharmacy”.  As a result brands are taking steps to create stronger connections between their locations and the communities that surround them, rather than just relying on generic national activity. And with its geo-targeting capability, digital media is proving to be the place to get this done effectively and at scale.


    Automating 'local social'

    Being local with your social is easier said than done, especially with a reduced marketing team. Fortunately automation tools are available to mitigate the challenges. We’ve experienced strong demand for our new Brand Amplifier tool, which allows brands both large and small to execute organic content and paid campaigns at scale across all their locations at once. The content is localised dynamically and appears as a local post, which together creates much higher local engagement and campaign ROI. Community management and analytics are consolidated into a single dashboard, and marketing can choose which (if any) locations are able to do their own posting.


    Programmatic media buying replaces ‘spray and pray’

    While Brand Amplifier can automate the local placement of your social ads and Google Adwords, what about your other digital media? Anthony Ord of Acquire Data Driven Marketing says combining the ability to automate the creation of localised display banners with audience triggered targeting tools that serve the right message, to the right person in the right location, can deliver four times higher engagement than what he calls ‘spray and pray’ tactics. “We’re getting an increased demand for automation technology to replace outdated manual processes so brands can act more local more efficiently,” says Ord.

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    Franchisees have budget. Now brands are empowering them to use it

    It’s common for rebates to be given to franchisees for local marketing, or for them to be required to spend a percentage of their turnover on marketing. However often franchisees simply don’t know how to spend it. Developing marketing playbooks is one strategy we're seeing – giving locations a step-by-step guide on how to execute various campaign types.

    And our Brand Amplifier solution can also help here, enabling marketing to set up Facebook, Instagram and Google campaigns that franchisees can simply select, choose a budget and start date and push play. Absolutely no social media skills or knowledge are needed by franchisees, just a credit card. You can even set up a co-funding option for any campaign. For example, for every $100 the location spends, you’ll kick in another $100 to make the campaign go further. Research shows co-funding is a very effective motivator for franchisees to get behind local area marketing.

    Using template technology instead of designers or studio.

    Some of our clients are using Marketing Hub's template technology to create artwork for weekly or monthly promotions themselves (bypassing a designer). This reduces external design costs and/or internal studio workload. Sophisticated styling controls can be added to ensure a template can deliver the required creative flexibility. Jason Clapperton, Marketing Director for the Robert Harris café franchise in New Zealand, says this has been a game changer for his team. "In the same time it used to take us to brief a designer, we're actually creating the artwork for a promotion ourselves. This has been an important saving for us, plus we can react fast and get promotions to market literally overnight”. Click here to see a short video of a Robert Harris template in action or play the video below.


    In conclusion, if we are looking for a silver lining in 2020, it’s that some of the step changes brands are being forced to make will have significant benefits for sales and profitability in the long run. Just make sure you seize the opportunity.


    GET A FREE ONE HOUR LOCAL AREA MARKETING PROCESS CONSULTATION  Feel free (literally) to leverage our knowledge to help you fast-track some  changes  to your marketing processes to save costs and improve sales. We’ll quickly run  through   our 10-step warrant of fitness checklist and see where the opportunities for  your brand lie.     Click here to request a consultation.

    Author Andrew Mitchell

    Sep 24, 2020 9:28:50 AM