Following the advent of television, people were quick to declare print marketing dead. Many advertisers were surprised that print continued to be a necessary and effective element of marketing campaigns in a variety of industries.
Nearly half a century later with the rise of social media and the Internet, print marketing was pronounced dead yet again. But again, print marketing continues to survive and thrive, and remains a perfect channel for franchise marketing.
A Unique Marketing Channel
Far from dying, print marketing has found its place as a unique medium, capable of targeting very specific demographics as part of a multichannel or omni-channel marketing strategy.
To avoid going extinct, print marketing has evolved. Next time you see a print ad on public transit, outside of a venue, or in a magazine, look for a QR code. QR codes are coded images that can be scanned by smartphones or other devices to direct readers to your homepage, landing page, contest page, or social media channels. Despite popular belief, print ads aren’t stuck in the 20th century. QR codes and other innovations have turned print ads into modern omni-channel marketing devices.
Of course, like any marketing channel, some business models, brands, products and services benefit more from print marketing than others. Franchises are one of the business models that stand to benefit the most from print marketing.
Franchises in Canada are huge business. Over 1 million working Canadians make a living in the franchise industry, working at an estimated 1,300 different franchised brands, across 78,000 units across the country. When it’s all said and done, the Canadian franchise industry generates $68 billion annually.
Although it’s more affordable than it was, print advertising remains more expensive than many forms of online advertising. For individual small businesses the price tag can be prohibitive, but for franchises print advertising is financially feasible and generates a significant return on investment (ROI). That is why, according to the white paper Successful Franchise Marketing by Local Vox, “88 per cent of franchisees see locally synchronized national campaigns as a competitive advantage.”
According to The Canadian Franchise Association “the advantage of being a franchisee includes working a business that already has a proven business format, a successful track record and a recognized brand.”
The importance (and monetary value) of a franchise’s brand cannot be overstated. McDonald’s brand value is estimated to be $81.162 billion, the second most valuable restaurant franchise brand is Starbucks at $29.313 billion. Canada’s Tim Hortons is the 7th most valuable restaurant franchise brand, coming in at $4.59 billion.
Franchises benefit from brand recognition more than any other type of business, and print advertising is a great way to capitalize on that advantage.
Print Advertising Offers Franchises Clear Advantages
Print advertising is often more expensive than alternative marketing channels like online advertising, which means it is often out of reach for smaller businesses. Although most franchises do not afford individual franchisees the freedom to pursue their own campaigns, franchisees can pool their resources to take advantage of more elaborate campaigns run at the corporate level that would be out of reach for independent businesses.
Print marketing has a number of advantages that are particularly beneficial to franchise marketing including:
- Credibility – You are asking potential franchisees to make a significant investment of time and money. Print marketing has a sense of legitimacy that online marketing sometimes lacks. Pop-ups and banner ads just don’t have the same sense of trustworthiness as a brochure, ad in a trusted publication, or strategically placed ad in a trusted establishment.
- Branding – According to Forbes “print ads are excellent for solidifying your brand identity. Your ads should have a consistent aesthetic in terms of fonts, colors and types of images to establish brand recognition.” Franchises already benefit greatly from their brand. Emphasizing and enhancing this advantage is a crucial advantage of print marketing.
- Longevity – Online campaigns, television, radio ads or other forms of advertising all have a limited run time. You can always extend a campaign, but it will cost you. Print ads, on the other hand, can stay around for weeks, months, or even years after they first appear. Think about how many old magazines, brochures and business cards you keep around the house or at the cottage.
- Targeting Franchisees – Franchisors’ marketing goals can be broken down into two categories: attracting franchisees, and marketing their product or services to customers. To attract franchisees, the franchise must first determine what its ideal franchisee looks like, make a profile of who they are and define what they want. When determining your marketing strategy choose to target franchisees in trade magazines, or other interest specific magazines. There is less competition offline, so targeting just one major publication in a specific area of interest can be more affordable than an online ad because it’s difficult to target franchisees through online advertising.
- Less Competition – Print advertising has lost some clients to the Internet, there is no denying that. For smaller businesses going online is simply more affordable. This paves the way for franchises and larger businesses to take advantage of less crowded ad space, and possibly reduced prices.
- Greater Engagement – Readers are more engaged by print. Online articles are often skimmed in mere seconds, hardly time enough to process the information presented, let alone to consider the ads. Print ads, particularly when placed in relevant publications, cultivate greater engagement from readers.
For franchises, print ads are an important part of an integrated marketing strategy. To market your franchise, don’t rely too heavily on any one marketing channel. As the world shifts towards omni-channel marketing, your business must create a comprehensive marketing strategy that includes all channels, including print.