A woman considers how to confront franchise challenges.

Marketing Answers for Consumer Product Franchise Challenges

Published On: July 7, 2023 | Categories: Advertising and Marketing, Blog |

A recent article by the chief economist for the National Retail Federation likened the economy to a kaleidoscope, where the view can rapidly change and the data provides a different reflection at every look. It’s a fitting analogy for the current times. The ripple effects of uncertainty are shaping the business climate and sending a seriously mixed bag of signals. But some common multi location business and franchise challenges are emerging. Smart marketing strategies can help address these concerns. Here are a few we’re using right now.  

Franchise challenges:

1) Inflation has consumers guarding their wallets 

With mixed sentiments about the economic outlook, many consumers are staying financially cautious. Analysis by consulting firm McKinsey in May 2023 showed real consumer spending fell for the first time in two years. Though the inflation pace is cooling, it’s still too high for most Americans, who continue to look for ways to stretch their dollars. 

It’s a tricky road to navigate for businesses seeking to balance value for customers with their own rising costs. In the quick-service restaurant industry, for example, keeping ultra-low-cost items on the menu is more challenging as food and labor costs run higher.   

Marketing strategies to try: 

During uncertain times, it’s especially critical to reinforce the connection between your brand and your audience. Great companies combating franchise challenges find ways to add value and stay relevant across all economic cycles – to do this, you must continue communicating. 

Make marketing a partner to your sales and product teams, working together to understand what that drives purchase decisions. With a strategic view on pricing, product, and promotion strategies, now is the time to more aggressively market the products that appeal to customers at the moment, while maintaining appropriate profitability margins. Construct marketing messages informed by customer data so you can pull the right levers of value, helpfulness, empathy, and decision-making in each campaign. 

2) Supply chain headaches continue 

It may go without saying that almost everyone is ready to move on from the pandemic, but unfortunately, its effects have yet to dissipate. Hiccups are still interrupting supply chains, and diminishing some businesses’ ability to meet consumer demand. In certain industries, such as home services, the lack of one small part can keep a product stuck in a warehouse. This can be especially vexing when that product is one of your most popular, as one SA client experienced.   

Marketing strategies to try: 

Inability to access products can threaten customer loyalty and allow competitors to capture greater market share. So, your response to these franchise challenges is vitally important.  

Though it can be difficult, keeping customers up to date with honest, transparent communications will help maintain trust. If they’ll experience delays or shortages, let them know. Make good use of your company communication channels — like your website, blog, newsletter, and social media channels — to proactively share information. 

You should also adjust your product advertising to promote products that are in stock and readily available. Consider ways to increase their attractiveness to buyers — like offering complimentary upgrades, accessories, or rebates. Look for opportunities to grow sales and loyalty in other areas of your business, such as marketing popular in-stock parts or raising awareness of your service offerings. And, it goes without saying – never let your customer service waiver. In fact, this is an excellent opportunity to look for additional ways to go the extra mile.  

3) Finding and keeping staff 

Talent shortages have been a hot topic across nearly all business sectors, but they’ve affected the service sector most. Since the pandemic, which drove a large “reshuffling” of the labor market, businesses providing in-person services have experienced more franchise challenges in hiring and keeping employees. The lack of workers has had a stagnating effect on businesses unable to retain enough staff to meet consumer demand.  

Marketing strategies to try:

If you haven’t already, it’s time to rethink hiring practices. What worked a few short years ago won’t be as effective in the current environment. Many SA franchise and multi-location business clients are leveraging cost-effective channels to advertise open positions to a large but targeted audience, lower barriers to application, and more efficiently vet candidates.  

Job ads on social media platforms like Facebook are an example of one such strategy. Social media’s targeting ability and large base of users help improve ad visibility with the right people. To see what messages perform better, test your ad copy.

Digital job marketing can also make applying for positions easier. Some SA clients are deploying hiring ads that lead to landing pages, where potential candidates can fill online applications and submit from a mobile device. Initial interviews conducted virtually help screen candidates more quickly and identify which to move forward in the process.  

Sustainable growth

Within every challenge, there’s a hidden opportunity to flourish in new and unexpected ways, even in uncertain times. Make marketing a strategic partner in finding flexible, customer-centric solutions, and you’ll have a sustainable business strategy no matter what comes your way.  


Written by Randy Driesen and Lindsey Moore, directors of Client Strategy and Service at Strategic America, a full-service national marketing agency. Learn how SA can help you with multi-location marketing.