Franchises: The Sophisticated and Loyal SMB Client


The media business often lumps all small and mid-sized businesses together into a single bucket, speaking of SMB as if they all looked alike. In reality, there are many different kinds of SMBs. There are independent companies that can range from family-run to a few dozen employees. And then there are franchises, which may still fit within the definition of SMBs but are part of a larger network of businesses.
Perhaps the most noteworthy characteristic of franchises is that they tend to spend more on marketing. According to a BIA/Kelsey survey from earlier this year, 70.6 percent of franchisees partner with digital ad agencies and/or marketing platforms, and 28 percent have worked with those partners for more than two years. In other words, franchisees are committed to marketing and they display a great deal of loyalty.
This is an important trend for the local media companies and agencies that provide advertising services to SMBs. While it’s certainly attractive to pursue small, independent businesses and upsell them on marketing services over time, franchises represent a ripe opportunity for steady, consistent revenue.

Like independent SMBs, franchises are turning to service partners because they want to grow their businesses. But, there is also the strong possibility that the parent organizations are driving strategies that require certain types of marketing and they will only select service providers who can meet these needs. Therefore, SMB franchises should not be viewed as unfamiliar with marketing strategies and goals. These SMBs are focused on the clear goal of driving new business leads and, as a result, “cannot be regarded as unsophisticated,” according to  Celine Matthiessen, VP, analytics and insights for BIA/Kelsey. If local media companies have the services to launch campaigns to fulfill these goals, they stand to benefit.
The best way to align your organization so that it appeals to franchises is to offer a variety of marketing services, both traditional and digital, while also maintaining the flexibility to adopt new marketing tactics as they emerge. The easiest way to do this is for local media orgs and agencies to partner with white-label providers who can help them maintain domain expertise and meet the needs of franchise advertisers, ensuring long and successful client relationships.