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Saturday 1st October, 2022

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The importance of consolidating digital tools


The importance of consolidating digital tools

The use of SaaS for various functions is par for the course nowadays, but how much quicker and more efficiently could decisions be made if managers had a single piece of software and a single dashboard to make decisions from?

This article is powered by Scorpion

Franchisors and franchise owners suffer from similar pain points when it comes to marketing – they’re both constantly strapped for time and resources. Franchisors need to divide their time between growing their brand nationally while providing marketing support to an increasing number of franchisees.  

In a similar vein, franchisees are small business owners who have to run all aspects of their business and can only dedicate a fraction of their time to marketing, if at all. The problem only gets worse as marketing becomes more complex with more channels and options vying for consumer attention.  

Thankfully, technological solutions exist to help handle the growing amount of marketing data and decision-making needed to execute and benefit from fully-developed marketing campaigns.  

Unifying digital tools 

While various solutions exist for different marketing goals, the degree of depth and specialization that is available has led to franchises using half a dozen or more tools to control their marketing and track key performance indicators (KPIs). Ironically, it can take a huge amount of manual effort to process information across all these different tools. 

“The number of tools will vary greatly depending on the size and sophistication of a brand, but we typically see anywhere from six to 10 different tools being used by our customers,” said Jordan Smith, executive VP of franchise at Scorpion. 

“Data tells a story, and if you are spending all your time trying to tie data from all your sources into a cohesive story that tells you what you need to do next, where your deficiencies lie, where your opportunities are, then you have that much less time to actually build a solid strategy and execute.” 

In an interwoven digital landscape, marketing channels inevitably affect one another. Understanding what that effect is, and how it ultimately impacts customer acquisition can be a powerful insight for both franchisors at the national level and franchisees at the local level.  

But with dozens of channels to consider and understand, being able to find these insights when they live in separate marketing tools or platforms can be exceedingly difficult for time-strapped franchisors and franchisees. Franchises that want to keep up with modern consumers need to have reviews and reputation managementemail marketing, social media management, paid advertising across multiple channels, comprehensive reporting, and more. 

A robust marketing platform that unifies multiple tools can undoubtedly be a huge time saver. When a platform brings together marketing tools and comprehensive reporting while recommending the best course of action, franchise owners can make better-informed decisions knowing they’re getting maximum efficiency and return on investment from their marketing budgets.  

“Marketing technology is so valuable because it enables a few people to do more at a faster pace.  From identifying problems to executing a strategy across an entire brand, having a great technology platform ultimately saves money and time for both the franchisor and franchisee,” said Smith. 

At the brand level, tying every franchisee location into a consolidated platform can be a fountain of actionable insights for franchisors. It can enable a small team of franchise marketers to amplify their efforts and knowledge without needing to increase headcount or make guesses when it comes to strategy. 

Technology makes marketing easier and pain-free 

The number of channels and options available to franchise marketers can feel overwhelming, but a technology partner with the ability to weave them all together can transform what time spent on marketing looks like for both franchisors and franchise owners.  

“The questions franchisors must ask themselves is, Where should I focus my time and energy to make the largest impact on the business?’  That answer usually leads them to looking for a partner who can be leveraged as an extension of their team because of time and headcount saved, and faster progress towards the goals they are after,” said Smith. 

Of course, even the prospect of taking on more technology to help solve for some of these pains can feel daunting to franchisors and franchise owners. They’re often under the misapprehension that the use of such tech requires special education or long training programs to utilize it. However, modern franchise marketing technology is designed to make life easier with user-friendliness in mind.  

Decision-makers get information from multiple sources in one place, rather than having to log into multiple platforms that have different layouts and nuances. Long gone are the days of sifting through several Excel spreadsheets to try to piece together a concise marketing story. When a system is completely integrated, it can provide a complete picture of a company while also equipping franchise owners and marketers with the power to do what would have taken an entire marketing team to execute on. 

Digital marketing in 2022 

If trends continue in 2022, tech will unify even more operational and marketing functions as teams grow in size and specialization. As more channels will become available, it will require more time and energy to track and plan. 

“We see the operation of franchise systems getting more complex and the corporate teams that must support them getting larger and more specialized,” said Smith.  

“With so many different functions and key performance indicators (KPIs) being tracked across a franchise brand, there must be a technology play that creates unification for how those KPIs are tracked, measured, and executed on.  The savings in time, money, and efficiency are too great not to leverage technology.” 

For many, there will come a breaking point, and it will be one tool or platform too many. It will spark a move to consolidate and bring the various tools that are available under one roof to both save time and improve the efficacy of marketing activities. 

Franchisors will also recognize the importance of franchisees having marketing strategies and growth plans that are suited to individual local markets. 

“The problem comes down to time and money.  Leveraging a tool that is valuable to everyone in the organization is usually the most economical path towards building customized plans,” said Smith 

“An organization needs to start by thinking through the obvious questions:  How do we qualify each franchisee to know which plan they should choose? How do we collect feedback from franchisees on what is working and what is not working?  How do we measure success? How do we take the outcomes/results to then build something even more valuable and powerful moving forward?  

“That is a lot of heavy lifting and manual work for a brand not leveraging a technology partner.” 

Attempting to create individualized plans without leveraging technology will be tough and time-consuming. While success is still possible without technology, it reduces the likelihood of effectiveness and greatly increases the time taken to reach a goal. 

Consolidation and the use of tech will become non-negotiable 

Digital marketing can be a splintered experience for many franchise owners, but it doesn’t need to be. The use of technology to both improve campaigns and free up time for other business operations can create great savings and gains. Consolidating a legion of SaaS applications will create a more seamless workday, and provide the customer with a smoother and more holistic customer journey. 

Ultimately, marketing technology exists to improve our professional lives and give us more time to deal with strategy. As more and more franchises employ the use of marketing technology and consolidated platforms, they evolve from competitive advantages to becoming necessities in any franchise’s arsenal.  

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