Published October 7, 2013
The title says it all: Compete locally to succeed nationally. There’s a bit of a “duh” response that comes with reading that. Does anyone not compete with other local businesses? But local efforts can have a big impact on a franchise system as a whole, including its unit profitability, storewide sales, and overall brand growth. If you’re not already, you may want to consider what (or who) is actually driving your local efforts.
Often, franchisees handle their own local market promotions. They’ll use their business revenue and do what they can to promote their business and drive sales. The franchisor, on the other hand, works on the overall brand, hoping to increase awareness, customer acquisition, and retention. The key may lie in combining those two ends.
Think about who your top competitors are. Are they the same in every market? Do you own the same relative market share in every market? Do you succeed more in areas where you have multiple locations or territories? These are all important questions to ask and investigate. If you can build your local brand awareness one market at a time, or focus your sales team (and your brokers, reluctant as they may be) on specific geographies or types of markets where you’ve shown the greatest success compared to the top competitors, you’ll notice the overall company analysis looking better all the time.
In practice, this idea really comes down to going beyond the big picture and exploiting your findings on a market-by-market basis. Franchisees, with corporate support, should be utilizing the marketing tactics that work best in their regions, and not necessarily those that work best for the brand overall. If specific markets with a higher number of units show significant differences in awareness and retention among consumers compared to competition, pick a few lower relative concentration markets and build them up. You may see the same effect and subsequently apply to more and more markets.
It’s definitely a test-and-learn scenario, and may or may not make an immediate impact. The key is to understand your markets individually as well as in relation to each other so you can better analyze your opportunities for growth, both in unit profitability and at the corporate level.