Marketing Byte: AFDR Finds Digital Marketing Remains Supreme in Driving Franchise Business
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Marketing Byte: AFDR Finds Digital Marketing Remains Supreme in Driving Franchise Business

Marketing Byte: AFDR Finds Digital Marketing Remains Supreme in Driving Franchise Business

Building a marketing budget and deciding where to spend those dollars are important decisions in any business. Data in the 2023 Annual Franchise Marketing Report (AFMR) reveals that, for franchise locations, digital advertising is the leading generator of customer leads and traffic. Digital advertising was followed by social media and email marketing.

"Which marketing efforts have been most effective in driving customer leads or traffic?"

23% of surveyed franchisors have implemented strategies to lessen initial expenses for potential franchisees, including:

  • Digital advertising 75%
  • Social Media 38%
  • Email marketing 26%

Brands are significantly increasing their marketing investment to gain an edge in an increasingly crowded and competitive environment. This decisive shift is one of the central takeaways from the AFMR.

The comprehensive annual study surveyed franchisors across numerous sectors and found a resounding trend - the strong majority boosted their overall marketing budgets year-over-year. Driving this heightened spend is a concentrated push into digital advertising tactics tailored for our digital-first era.

Digital Advertising Ranks on Top

According to the AFMR data, franchises ranked digital advertising as their most effective marketing method for catalyzing business growth. This encompasses a wide array of digital strategies, like pay-per-click campaigns, display ads, online video, mobile advertising, and more. Social media marketing emerged as the second most impactful channel, solidifying its integral role for franchise brands aiming to engage modern consumers.

The surge in digital ad spending, while anticipated, is remarkable in terms of the accelerated prioritization by franchises. As consumer behaviors continuously evolve, with people spending more time online and on mobile devices, brands clearly recognize the pressing need to aggressively market on the digital platforms and channels where their audiences are most active.

Traditionally entrenched marketing methods like email are still employed, but have taken a backseat in perceived efficacy compared to digital's measurability, advanced targeting capabilities, and ability to deliver highly relevant messaging to specific audiences. For franchises facing cutthroat competition in every market, these sophisticated digital strategies offer a key competitive advantage.

The very top franchises are utilizing cutting-edge digital marketing techniques - marketing automation, programmatic advertising, localized marketing execution technologies, and more. Leveraging smarter data and insights allows them to optimize targeting while stretching their marketing dollars further than brands still primarily utilizing traditional approaches.

Multi-Faceted Marketing Strategy

However, while digital is undoubtedly the prime focus area for most franchises currently, an omnichannel approach incorporating both digital and traditional channels is still viewed as ideal by respondents. Legacy marketing staples like email, direct mail, TV advertising, and others continue to play an integral role for franchises aiming to maximize visibility and reach across audiences.

As the AFMR data illustrates, developing an integrated, multi-channel marketing strategy that harnesses the respective strengths of various mediums is a top priority. And within the social media sphere specifically, the report shows Facebook reigning as the top platform producing the most sales and drawing the highest investment from franchises.

Fueling this strategic evolution is an overarching boost in total marketing investment - a clear sign that franchises increasingly view marketing as mission-critical for driving growth against intensifying competition. As the business environment continues rapidly shifting, franchises are banking on bolstered digital-driven marketing capabilities to effectively reach and resonate with their target customers and prospects.

Published: May 14th, 2024

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