Franchise Marketing 101: How McDonalds Remains the Industry Hero

Marketing a franchise business can be complex and difficult, especially as we’re competing against competitors and other franchise locations. To overcome issues with marketing, we suggest pursuing tactics that will help you better communicate with your local audience. In this article we will talk about,

  • Why Franchises Have to Think Local
  • Lessons from McDonald’s with Franchising Marketing


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, one of every 10 businesses in the US is a franchise. That’s about 773,603 businesses. Do you own one of these businesses?

If so, you probably know that one of the number one frustrations with owning a franchise business is marketing. 

This is contrary to the beliefs many owners have when purchasing their own franchise. This is because franchisors set rules for the use of trademarks and brand standards, which are to be used in all marketing and advertising materials. They typically offer marketing materials and assets that owners can use and distribute for their individual business. 

And for good reason. These franchisors want to protect the integrity of their brand.

But time after time, franchise owners run into these issues with marketing:

  • Poor lead generation
  • Limited and ineffective communication tactics
  • Insufficient data and lack of KPI management

We can often remedy these issues by thinking locally. We should focus our efforts on the local community that our business serves. Doing so allows us to focus our marketing and save money.

Why Franchises Have to Think Local

We have to understand that marketing is not a one-size-fits-all solution. We have to create a localized marketing plan based on the specific audience we serve.

If we’re comparing the corporate office to the local office, the demographics are going to look a bit different. They are going to be broader and less defined to reach more people. Whereas individual franchises should narrow their focus to cater to their region’s audience and the culture. 

We have to keep in mind that the corporate office is going to have a lot more money and funds to do broader marketing therefore they can reach more people and target broad audiences. Individual franchise locations are going to be more limited in funds so it’s best to narrow the focus to ensure funds are being used effectively. 

Here are some questions we should ask ourselves during the process:

  • Who is our competition?
  • What types of services do they offer?
  • What makes our service unique when compared to competitors?
  • Where, geographically, can we find your customer base?
  • What are the specific needs and concerns of those customers? How can we fulfill them? 

These questions are instrumental in guiding us to realizing who our target audience is and how to best communicate with them. From there they can share any communication issues they may currently have with them.

This can aid in improving lead generation as we can now get more viable leads through our channels or even discover lead generation tools that we are more likely to find our target audience in.

Lessons from McDonald’s with Franchising Marketing

McDonald's is the number one franchise in the world, and they have done this by building a powerful brand with a consistent brand message. 

McDonald’s is a US staple for Americans and we have become familiar with its menu, values and overall culture. So it might surprise you to see in Japan that there are different menu items and even a different perception of McDonald’s. 

To become one of the number one quick service food restaurants in Japan, the company invested a lot of money into market research to bridge the gap between them and customers. Through this research, they uncovered more about the culture, perception, and values of their ideal customers and created messages and pursued marketing that would better resonate with them.

While the company has defined and well-enforced brand standards, it allows franchises to cater to the local trends and prevailing socio-cultural preferences in a specific market. 

While there may be little freedom with our own business to change menus, products or offerings, the lesson we can learn here is how to adapt to the surrounding environment. A lot of the time it isn’t the product that is the problem, it’s how we’re communicating the product to customers.

So when we create our message for our local audience we have to ask ourselves the above questions because it allows us to define our target audience and communicate with them effectively.

What are some struggles you have with franchise marketing? Talk to a business coach today to uncover ways you can better tailor your franchise’s marketing.

Who is Tim Campsall?

I am a certified Business Coach, providing business help, business advice, business coaching and mentoring services to successful and emerging business owners. I have a passion for helping businesses like yours grow and become profitable, so you, the business owner can enjoy the lifestyle you deserve.

As your Business Coach and advisor, I will help you deliver the results you desire using proven tools, methodologies and systems, tested and perfected over tens of thousands of businesses worldwide for over more than two decades. I will hold you accountable for your results and just like a sports coach, push you to perform at optimal levels. Let's schedule a complimentary Business Coaching session to get started.

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Tim Campsall Certified Business Coach

Coach Tim Campsall

Is an award winning trainer, certified Business Coach and business owner of a local ActionCOACH Franchise here in Indiana. He has over 28 years experience running businesses and coaching leaders /teams. He provides business help, business advice, business coaching and mentoring services to successful and emerging business owners. He has a passion for helping businesses like yours grow and become profitable, so you, the business owner can enjoy the lifestyle you deserve.