Owning a business makes the American dream a reality for millions of people, and the franchise model makes it possible for many of them. There are over 780,000 franchises in the U.S. employing millions of people, and they include some of the world’s most well-known brands like AAMCO, 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, and Miracle-Ear. These businesses are based on a fundamental exchange in value between the franchisor and the franchisee, and are designed to turn a profit for both sided. But for many high-touch franchises like the ones I mentioned above, a lack of data visibility is causing a conflict between franchisees and franchisors, and diminishing the bottom line.
The all-too-common rift at many high-touch franchises today is this: How can you validate a marketing strategy or campaign without data? How do you know if it’s working?
The answer is you can’t.
Franchises that lack tracking data for ambitious marketing campaigns involving hundreds or thousands of franchisees have no way of knowing if leads are being generated, the quality of those leads, or if leads are being converted to sales. At the same time, corporate marketing doesn’t know if franchisees are capitalizing on the leads they’re being sent. This creates a lot of finger-pointing between franchisors (you’re not following up on leads!) and franchisees (the leads you’re sending stink!) and the friction it creates puts their relationship and the whole franchise model in jeopardy.
Franchises play a big role in the U.S. economy. In 2020, franchise businesses contributed $670 billion of economic output, according to the International Franchise Association. Expected recovery and growth for the franchise market in 2021, as the pandemic recedes and the job market grows, is worth $780 billion to the US economy, or 16.4% growth.
The franchise model is based on trust and cooperation. From the investment perspective, it’s about both parties believing that they’re getting the benefits of what they pay for. But when it comes to marketing, trust and cooperation is eroding because there’s often limited accountability and data transparency to back up the results.
Franchisees often pay fees to the parent company to do the marketing that will drive them leads. But the franchisee is flying blind because they have no way of tracking how many leads are coming in, the quality of the leads, and if those leads are converting—especially when these leads come in through phone calls. This is because phone leads may have even less of a data trail than those that come in digitally, and many franchises have no way of attributing phone leads to the campaigns that drove the calls.
When the store owner asks corporate if they’re sending the leads they pay for and corporate says yes, that’s usually the end of the conversation without any marketing data to back it up.
This handshake arrangement doesn’t work well for the franchisors either. They are missing vital information on which advertising spend is driving leads or revenue. They don’t know if the franchisee is receiving the calls, answering them, or converting them. They don’t know if the business owner is holding up their part of the deal.
This is an unproductive and problematic cycle for the franchise as a whole—with no winners.
The good news for marketers is that conversation intelligence platforms like Invoca can provide the data visibility required for accountability, smart decision-making, and the ROI that franchises are looking for.
Invoca’s AI-powered conversation intelligence platform is able to connect every phone call with the digital journey that preceded it. It also automatically analyzes the call to determine if a conversion occurred. A centralized view of data enables informed decisions on where to spend marketing dollars, and improve marketing program optimization for greater revenue. Perhaps more importantly, it provides transparency to both the franchisee and franchisor with data to end arguments about whether or not the leads are hot and if sales are getting closed.
This is crucial for the many franchise brands with complex marketing organizations where most digital marketing conversions take place over the phone. In these organizations, digital marketing drives customers to call and set up appointments with local franchisees for in-person consultations. The result is that digital marketing often accounts for a sizable slice of total business revenue—which means it’s critical to use a conversation intelligence solution that can provide the granular data needed to support new and innovative marketing strategies.
Miracle-Ear provides hearing aid technology through more than 1,500 locations nationwide, with most being locally owned and operated stores that have been franchisees for decades.
By using Invoca’s conversation intelligence solution, Miracle-Ear is able to drive and track high-value franchise leads, resulting in a reduction in contact center costs, increased efficiency, and double-digit improvement in digital marketing performance within the first three months of use. Miracle-Ear realized a 15% increase in call efficiency, 65% reduction in spam calls, and a 16% improvement in media efficiency.
Conversation intelligence enables Miracle-Ear to achieve campaign-level attribution to understand the context and quality of calls driven by its digital marketing spend. Additionally, Invoca enables automation and centralized management to streamline analytics, simplifying tasks like data management, data reporting and user management.
Digital transformation supported by AI-powered conversation intelligence has allowed Miracle-Ear to attain its goal: to understand the true cost of each new appointment that customers make in real-time, which allows the marketing team to more efficiently and effectively spend marketing dollars.
Marketing attribution and data transparency are prerequisites to creating trusting relationships between franchisor and franchisees. Using conversation intelligence, franchises can validate marketing data and take the argument out of the marketing equation.
Franchisees see the calls that are coming in, and which channel is driving the calls, such as digital, print, etc. In fact, franchisees can see all the marketing campaigns that the parent company is running, or if they’re excluded from a campaign. They can see what their marketing fees are paying for. They also get insight into local campaigns that they may choose to run on their own—something that wasn’t previously possible.
With this new data visibility, both the franchisee and franchisor get validation for the marketing they’re paying for. Both players have visibility into leads and the quality of leads because they get access to the exact same data.
When franchisors and franchisees can clearly see that they’re working from the same marketing data, they can build a cooperative and collaborative relationship, solving marketing issues together and converting leads. And, there’s no quarrel between franchise players about their goals, they are very clear—to grow the brand and ROI.
Another example of how data visibility can enable a harmonious working relationship comes from the 1-800-GOT-JUNK? franchise. 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, one of the most well-known junk and debris removal services, believes that the success of the company and its more than 150 locations throughout North America and Australia, is its people. Hence the company’s business motto “It’s all about people.”
That is what drove the company’s director of acquisition, who directs ad spend for franchise partners, to find a solution that would allow franchisees to see how their ad spend for paid search campaigns was delivering results.
As mobile search increased in importance for 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, it needed visibility into attribution data that it could share with franchise partners. More than two-thirds of visitors to the company’s website come from mobile search. In fact, in 2019 mobile bookings were over 40% higher than the previous year.
The company needed to see individual job outcomes from its click-to-call advertising—and not only the click. Today, those calls produce visible and valuable data.
With the help of Invoca and Google, 1-800-GOT-JUNK? can now match customer calls to outcomes and demonstrate to franchisees that their marketing dollars are being well spent. Since deploying Invoca, bookings increased by 10%, without any incremental spend. The call conversion rate increased by 20%, and the number of booked calls increased by 30%.
Today, franchises that want a better handle on data and visibility into data can access solutions that deliver better business outcomes and bring the franchisor and franchisee together. These solutions can benefit franchises in many ways:
The franchise business sector looks promising for 2022. To improve long-term performance and uncover new opportunities, franchises must establish trusting relationships through marketing attribution and data transparency. Conversation intelligence technology can help franchises eliminate the blind spots in their marketing campaigns. With this new wealth of information, franchises can develop new strategies that provide benefits to their locations throughout the U.S. or beyond.