I’ve always prided myself on my creative marketing solutions. I scoffed at people who owned franchises. What possible challenge could there be in taking your franchise marketing out of a box and putting it up?
Truly I felt the same about a franchise business as a whole. I built Egg Marketing from the keyboard up, and a “turnkey solution” just never appealed to my entrepreneur spirit.
Enter my husband. Entrepreneur, lover of all opportunities, big or small. He convinced me to buy a Marble Slab Creamery near our home (not really: 20-minute commute) in Orlando. I was skeptical, but I love ice cream, so hey, how bad could it be? And since I am a Marketing Eggspert, I would handle the take-out-of-the-box marketing.
Except it was more than that. Sure, the franchise company provides us with instructions and posters for each promotion (which is actually refreshing: we don’t have to hire a graphic artist to handle each promotion!). They walk us step-by-step through when to hang the posters and how to make the most out of it.
But then there are so many other ways we can market. We can take cakes to local businesses as a means of introduction (trust me: that gets me a smile and half off a massage at the Massage Envy in our shopping area!). We can put coupons in the apartment complex newsletters. We can send the schools free coupons and tell them about our fundraising. The possibilities make me dizzy with marketing fever.
So here are the lessons I’ve learned about franchise marketing:
1. You are not restricted by franchise marketing rules (well, they discourage you from posing nude with the ice cream, but beyond that, it’s fair game).
2. You are only limited by your own creativity.
3. Free ice cream goes a long way. (Thanks for lunch every day, Panera!)
4. Be open to partnerships with other businesses, and your marketing will go even further.
5. Listen to employee ideas (maybe not the Karaoke night one, though).
6. Utilize your resources. The franchise firm is there to provide you with marketing assistance. In fact, you’re paying for it, so use it!
7. Everybody loves ice cream.
8. After a hard day’s work in marketing, nothing hits the spot like Coffee ice cream with Heath and caramel in a waffle bowl!
I’d love to hear from you! Do you own a franchise? How do you market outside that box?