Michael St. Jacques
The franchise marketer's central dilemma – Space and Time.
Updated: Apr 7, 2022
Having a thorough understanding of the near-term franchisee marketplace is a critical necessity when societal and economic factors throw franchise marketers a curve ball – or several at once – that change the behavior of the marketplace, yet system growth through the attraction of high quality franchise candidates needs to be maintained. Despite today's unique combination of challenges, there's always something affecting this special population.
Understand the 'Near-Term Franchisee' Market.
The 'Near-term Franchisee' Market is that population of individuals who possess a rare combination of attributes to create an economy for the starting/or purchasing a business (both independent or franchised) to achieve certain goals.
They possess several attributes important to franchise marketers:
1). The financial means to start and operate their particular franchise
2). An inclination toward business ownership
3). Experience/attitude/geographic qualifications to make them a good fit for the system.
From a demographic standpoint alone, this is an enormous market. But the two conditions of financial means+business inclination creates special challenges.
Space and Time – The Franchise Marketers Central Dilemma.
If either one of the two primary conditions – financial means AND business inclination – are not met, there is no lead. Or qualified lead. (There's no shortage of unqualified leads.)
The first condition is yours. The second is theirs.
The challenge is created at the very front end of the process when franchise marketers go to target potential prospects.
It's fairly easy to target on a hard demographic, like household income or net worth. Those are physical attributes that are a matter of some record out there that marketers, marketing platforms and related algorithms have access too.
But when you add in the condition of 'business inclination', which is not a hard demographic, and more akin to an attitude or behavior, targeting gets much more challenging.
The Dilemma with Targeting 'Business Inclination'.
Business inclination is not universal among a financially qualified population (there are tens of million of people in the US with HHI over $200k). And if franchise marketers are starting at the 'you should start your own business' point, that's either way too far back in the process and or simply wasting their marketing dollars and time on folks who are a non-negotiable 'no'.
So even if business inclination is not universal among a financially qualified population, that's still millions of people. How do you tell which from which if they demographically 'look the same'? So the franchise marketers first challenge is 'space' and it's a big one. There's a lot of space between those financially qualified AND are inclined toward business ownership and those who are not.
The Dilemma with Timing.
The second challenge franchise marketers face is timing. Those financially qualified AND inclined toward business ownership are in different stages of the vetting process. Most, in the earlier stages.
As purchasing a business, any type business, is risky at any level, the vetting process is careful and often 'choppy', especially for those going about it for the first time.
The Arithmetic of a Lead.
So that qualified lead you generated yesterday has passed through several gates to get to you. (We'll leave out unqualified leads for the moment. A different blog topic.)
1). Financially qualified
2). Inclined towards business ownership
3). In the right vetting stage.
Relatability – A Franchise Marketers Third Dilemma.
Most franchise and business starting/buying prospects are category agnostic, that is they can drop into any industry. Therefore, as prospects are evaluating the return vs risk equation, their perceived viability of a concept/category becomes central.
This is the aspect Franchise Marketers have the most control over. Messaging. Again, understanding the near-term franchisee market will help immensely.
Especially around what they understand about a concept or industry, and the future they may have in such becomes critical.
As we examine first hand prospect's accounts of their vetting process, the business opportunity in relation to aspects of the market they may be operating in – like size of customer base, presence of competitors – all factor into this perception.
They more you understand how prospects react to your concept the better you can shape messaging that make you concept relatable.
Working Through Dilemmas.
As you go to market each stage requires careful consideration to make smart decisions based on real world factors. As you wade into this market, it's important to have a complete strategy – targeting, channel, messaging, measurement – to enter with confidence, insistence and persistence.
Keep in mind, business ownership is a solution to a problem. Franchising is only one path to business ownership. The prospect is going to make the best decision for themselves based on available information.
Interested bringing your franchise lead generation results to a new level? Learn more about WorkWave Agency's approach.