Managing marketing vendors can be messy, time-consuming, and frustrating.
As a franchise marketer, you’re juggling website development, SEO, local listings for your franchisee locations, a social media presence across multiple platforms --
The list goes on.
You have dreams that one day you’ll be able to attain full transparency and attribution across all your marketing channels so that you can map out full customer journeys, which will allow you to focus on the marketing activities that deliver the greatest ROI.
But to do all this, you need help. You need more bandwidth and resources. You need extra hands to ramp up your marketing strategy.
Generally, your company has two options when boosting your marketing strategy: hire an in-house expert, or outsource each element of marketing to a vendor. Goals, budget, and circumstance dictate your decision. Both choices can work for your company and result in successful strategies, but both also have their drawbacks.
So, without further ado, let’s dive in and parse out what works and what doesn't to ensure you're making progress in your franchise marketing.
1. Establish an In-House Professional
In-house hiring allows for a more personal touch. Companies can meet their hires, quickly speak to them if questions arise, and mold them into the company vision. Their services are on demand and their attention isn’t divided.
But maybe you don’t want to fully rely on one person’s expertise. Hiring one expert to manage the dozens of marketing tasks per day potentially limits you to one perspective. There’s also the chance that it might not be worth the resources and time it takes to train a new hire. The overall, long-term cost of a full-time employee, especially for an expert, is pricey (salary + taxes + benefits). And if that expert leaves, the already lengthy process of onboarding starts all over again.
So, maybe you decide to outsource, instead.
2. Outsource Your Needs Individually
Vendors handle an individual element of marketing. They can build a marketing activity, collect data from that touch point, and dedicate their team to understanding the intricacies of a single channel.
Their targeted discipline makes for high-level quality and expertise. Pricing models vary but generally, the cost of outsourcing to a vendor is lower than onboarding a full-time hire. With vendors, you’re accessing a team of experts: a collective mind versus a single professional.
But each vendor handles marketing channels differently. Contacting numerous individual vendors takes a lot of time, and the data yield doesn't always justify the amount of workplace time and energy given. It’s hard to consolidate. A lack of transparency or integration are common complaints about vendors. Vendor interaction can turn into juggling multiple personalities, emails, policies, and invoices--interactions that all take away time from actually using the data.
According to a survey done in 2014 by Yes Lifecycle Marketing, a vendor consolidation company, 52% of 250 companies use at least six vendors to connect with customers and collect data; and 21% use more than 10. Another 21% of marketers spend an average of 15 hours coordinating with vendors every week. That’s 15 hours not spent on crafting strategy, or analyzing data -- it’s just collecting.
Companies have felt limited by these two choices: in-house or outsource. It’s a false dichotomy. Because the truth is, there’s a third option: hiring a “one-stop-shop” partner.
3. Implement Vendor Consolidation
What you should be looking for is a partner who will manage multiple marketing channels and attribution under one system. Consolidating services increases workplace efficiency saves time, and makes data collection simpler. It can also be cost-efficient since resources aren’t spread across multiple vendors. When Matt Friedman, CEO of Wing Zone, switched from multiple vendors to one partner, he felt that his company “...did not have the resources or the money to do what [a partner] can do; it would have cost us a whole lot more.”
Having one account manager -- who replicates the relationship you would have stretched across multiple vendors -- streamlines the process. A partner is a conglomeration of different vendor efforts, tied together with a personal relationship with your account manager.
A vendor is great for immediate if formulaic, answers. A partner is needed for long-term solutions, because they’ll get to the root of your needs -- rather than “here’s what you wanted”, partners ask, “why do you want this, and how can we turn it into a sustainable strategy?”
Managing vendors doesn’t have to be a headache, and you shouldn’t lose 15 hours of your work week to time-consuming data collecting. Partnering with a one-stop shop ensures you can concentrate on next steps rather than being stuck at step one.
Scorpion is a full-service digital marketing company that helps franchises boost their exposure online and attract new customers. As the winner of the 2016 Google Customer Satisfaction Champion award and hundreds of other prestigious awards, Scorpion delivers second-to-none Internet marketing solutions to franchises who are looking to expand their organizations. Clients get access to a full range of services, which include website design, search engine optimization (SEO), paid search advertising, online reputation monitoring, video production, and more.