Much like all other aspects of business, franchise marketing made a major shift in the wake of COVID-19. This week, we’re sitting down with DBMG’s Manager of Franchise Marketing, Berkeley Wolford, to discuss his thoughts on the current landscape. Read on to learn more about how businesses and agencies alike have learned to weather this storm.
The Current Landscape of Franchise Marketing
The past year was a very enlightening time in the marketing world for a lot of reasons, and as a marketing agency, we have had to shift the way we develop our client strategies. At DBMG, our clients, especially our franchise clients, were heavily impacted by the pandemic. The restaurant industry stopped in its tracks, home improvement clients were not sure when they would be able to do consultations again, and automotive maintenance businesses halted, since people were not commuting to work, or venturing anywhere out of their homes for that matter.
The one thing that remained consistent was that nobody was certain what the next day would bring. This raised a lot of questions for us. How should we respond if clients made the choice to cancel or pause their campaigns? What kind of messaging will resonate? What could be seen as insensitive in such an unprecedented climate? What are our campaign recommendations going to look like for each channel?
The list went on and on.
What we came to understand is that everybody’s situation was different. As some states started to open back up while others remained locked down, there were a host of new restrictions within different industries, and different mentalities among business owners and consumers alike. Inconsistency became consistent. I spoke to a franchise owner in Texas who could not be more excited for his dining room to open again, and another owner just down the street who was afraid to open indoor service for the safety of his employees.
Very quickly, we realized we needed to shift our mindset. Our focus needed to be on really understanding what business owners were going through, and how we could meet them in their comfort zone to support their business. It became the perfect time for me to take a step back and ask the right questions. What are their short-term marketing goals? What concerns may they have with using different marketing tactics and channels? What are they doing to organically drive business?
Now, in the fourth quarter of 2021, almost two years into the pandemic, I find that continuing to take a consultative approach is the new normal. My goal is to not only helping develop the right strategy for consumer segments and geolocations, but to build a strong relationship with clients that fosters trust and confidence in our campaigns.
At the end of the day, we all want to be heard and understood as business owners, professionals, and consumers. The pandemic acted as catalyst to remind us to stay humble, empathetic, and tailor to the needs of people we serve, both now and in the future.