How MarTech Is Revolutionizing Franchise Businesses’ Localized Marketing

By Ken Madsen

In today's digital age, consumers are more connected than ever before. They have access to a wealth of information at their fingertips and can easily compare prices and products from different businesses in a matter of seconds. This makes it far more challenging for franchise businesses to stand out from the competition.

However, marketing technology (martech) is helping franchise businesses to level the playing field. Martech is a term that refers to the use of marketing technology to improve the speed and effectiveness of marketing campaigns. There are a variety of martech tools available, ranging from customer relationship management (CRM) software, marketing automation platforms, creative automation, content marketing platforms (CMP) and social media management tools, through to workflow tools, DAMs, PIMs and more.

These numerous platforms and tools can be used to collect data about customers, segment them into different groups, create thousands of asset derivatives (creative automation) and deliver personalized marketing messages within a matter of minutes to any (and every) channel. This enables franchise businesses reach their target audiences with relevant content, on the right channel, at exactly the right time.

For example, a pizza franchise could use martech to segment its customers based on their location, purchase history, and interests. Then, it could deliver personalized marketing messages to each segment, such as coupons for free delivery to customers in a certain area, or special offers on their favorite pizzas. This is a relatively common model used by franchises and/or brands today.

Martech can also be used to track the effectiveness of marketing tactics or campaigns. This information can be used to optimize campaign performance and improve results. For example, a franchise business could use martech to track the number of website visitors who click on a particular ad or the number of people who sign up for a newsletter after receiving a marketing email.

This would be arguably the most common approach, but the introduction of artificial intelligence (AI) takes it a step further, enabling brands to test an ad or promotion prior to it going live in their markets, and then continually enhance their campaigns using performance-related insights. These insights influence the automated templates the brands use to create their content, resulting in even more fine-tuned ads moving forward. And in turn, these new, more targeted ads give the brands the lift in sales they desire, with no additional labor or resources required to produce them.

We know that technology is absolutely essential in order for brands to deliver localized, personalized marketing at scale, but it is often the case that even businesses who have implemented a strong martech solution aren't using it properly, or to its full potential. This can be down to poor change management or a lack of training, which may mean marketers aren't able to get the most out of the platform.

It's also important to consider the whole of the martech ecosystem when onboarding a new platform, as using multiple platforms from different vendors, each with their own specific function, can result in "martech fatigue." This occurs when the tech landscape within a business is so complex, with various disparate platforms crudely stitched together, that any efficiencies are quickly lost in convoluted processes – with the problems only deepening as these systems evolve away from each other over time. With that in mind, an "integrated suite" approach is often the preferred option, with martech provided across the board by a single vendor for seamless integration.

When properly utilized, martech is empowering franchise businesses to improve their marketing campaigns and reach their target audiences more effectively. This can lead to significant cost savings while still producing more relevant ads, aligned to increased sales and greater customer satisfaction. We call this "reducing the marketing execution gap."

With demand for more content (of higher quality and at a faster pace) often overwhelming brands, it is creative automation that decreases the marketing execution gap. Of all the technologies mentioned above, it is creative automation that is causing real paradigm shifts in the way that marketers work today, while allowing companies to keep up with evolving trends and content demands.

Take Storyteq – this creative automation platform is used by leading global brands such as Heineken, who create campaigns for 160 countries worldwide, in 28 different languages. Manually adapting and translating every asset for every market would require a huge amount of time and resource, but thanks to Storyteq, Heineken's local marketers can create their own multichannel content from a centralized master template; this ensures that all campaigns remain fully on brand and are pushed live to relevant markets and channels at a faster pace than ever before.

With the genie now firmly out of the bottle, demand for content is only going one way, and businesses who are slow to adopt martech are almost certain to be left behind. However, if brands are swift in onboarding martech (and implement it effectively within their teams, partners, and suppliers), then it will become an even more powerful tool for businesses of all sizes as it continues to evolve to meet the challenges of tomorrow.

The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the ANA or imply endorsement from the ANA.

Ken Madsen is chief marketing technologist at Team ITG.