Marketing Agency Perspective: Improving the Franchisor-Franchisee Relationship

Marketing Agency Perspective: Improving the Franchisor-Franchisee Relationship

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The relationship between a franchisor and a franchisee is … unique. Given the franchise business model and the fact that a franchisor is in a relationship with hundreds or thousands of franchisees, it’s especially important to nurture a better corporate and franchisee relationship. Here are five ideas to do just that, from a franchise marketing agency who’s worked on both sides.

Be Transparent

Franchisors, be transparent about the brand’s health. Outline the steps you’re taking to differentiate yourself from encroaching competitors or combat an incomplete understanding of your USPs.

Also, explicitly state how you’re spending franchisees’ fees:

  • Don’t say: “You’re getting local SEO; it’s included with the website platform.”
  • Do say: “Our agency is securing three local links and writing one blog post every month.”

Note: If you can’t get a straight answer from a national vendor – surprise! – that’s a red flag.

Franchisees, be transparent about the help you need. If you aren’t entering lead quality data into your CRM, is it because you don’t understand how? Or you don’t see the value in it? Your franchisor wants to help you succeed, but they can’t do that if you’re not open with them.

Encourage Regular Performance Feedback – On Both Sides

Franchisees and franchisors must both be accountable. It’s fair for a franchisor to assess and report on franchisees’ adherence to brand standards, ability to follow the established business model, training, operational compliance, and marketing efforts.

On the other side, franchisees should hold franchisors accountable for the effectiveness of the support they provide in the form of training programs, marketing materials, and ongoing franchisee support and check-ins. Additionally, how responsive are they to franchisees’ concerns and questions?

A franchisor and franchisee relationship marked by a mutual commitment to growth and constructive feedback is a win-win.

Adapt Your Communication Style

It’s easy to forget that good communication is the backbone of any successful relationship, and we all need reminders that people have different communication styles.

For instance, if you’re a franchisor interacting with a franchisee who is retiring from a successful corporate career, you’ll need to be crystal clear about revenue expectations, especially early on. That franchisee may have spent the last 20 years overseeing multi-million-dollar deals, weekly; now they’ll be generating the same amount in a year.

Or, if a franchisee is the ambitious, first-to-do-everything-you-ask type, they’ll respond well to consistent enthusiasm for their successes, no matter how small. They also make ideal franchisee ambassadors.

Franchisees, this goes for you, too. In your earlier life, you might have had teams of seasoned pros reporting up to you, but as a franchise owner, your main point of contact might be an overwhelmed 25-year-old marketing associate. So go easy on them.

Have a Central Hub for Everything

Franchisee training and support should extend well beyond onboarding. Create a central hub for all your training and marketing resources so zees have on-demand access to the tools and materials they need to run a successful business.

Design some social post templates they can quickly grab. Upload all the best resources, like the Franchise Marketing Playbook or this marketing guide for franchise owners. Offer an archive of past performance reports. And invite them to submit ideas for other resources they’d like to see.

Franchisees are busy people, so make it as easy as possible for them to get supporting materials and resources.

Let an Agency Field the Questions

Of course, no matter how brilliant and thorough and well-organized your resources are, people want to hear from other people. We’ve worked with franchisor contacts who spend 50% or more of their time just fielding questions from franchisees. (And the other 50% is probably spent in meetings!)

That’s simply too much for a franchisor to handle, especially when it’s not their main responsibility. As an alternative, let an agency field the questions.

At Oneupweb, we’ve had great success using a ticketing system for this kind of work. Zees can easily submit questions about marketing or website performance, or they can request changes to their microsites, such as image updates, analytics tags, new content or updated offers.

Franchisees want answers, and franchisors have a lot to do; that can create tension. But do you know what does wonders for franchise relationship management? Using an agency that has enough experience to anticipate national and local needs.

David Doran is the Director of Strategy at Oneupweb. He has worked in digital marketing for more than 10 years and has spoken at conferences like Digital Summit. Before joining Oneupweb, he was a writer and editor for