Four elements play a role in a customer's decision whether to buy what your franchise offers: product, price, place and promotion.
These four Ps of marketing are variables that can be mixed, matched and manipulated to create an unbeatable blend of attributes that's sure to attract customers. Take hamburgers, for example. To appeal to a teenager, the product has to be tasty and conveniently packaged. The price has to match the teen's spending habits. The place where the teenager purchases the hamburger needs to be somewhere along his or her regular route. And the hamburger must be promoted in a manner that catches the teen's attention-probably not in a copy of Reader's Digest.
Your franchisor will already have made many of these decisions for you. The product is the cornerstone of most franchise systems. It's been extensively tested, and if you're buying into an established franchise, it has a strong track record in other units. In most cases, franchisees are responsible for maintaining product quality rather than developing new products. While antitrust laws prohibit franchisors from dictating specific prices for their products, your franchisor will probably suggest a pricing structure. Your franchisor will have suggestions about how to deliver the product or service in an appropriate place, but selecting the location is your job. So is promotion. The franchisor will provide some support, but most local marketing decisions are up to you.
Good market research is critical to achieving the right mix of product, price, place and promotion. Ultimately, you'll use your research to guide your promotional efforts and build sales in your franchise outlet.
- What is the physical product?
- What additional features/accessories are needed?
- What are the functions or uses of the product?
- What services need to be provided?
- Do customers expect guarantees or warranties?
- How should the product be packaged for shipment?
- How should it be packaged for consumers?
- What images should the product project?
- What brand name should be used?
- What price is needed to make a profit?
- What price will customers be willing to pay?
- Who determines the price customers will pay?
- Should discounts and allowances be provided?
- Should coupons, rebates, markdowns or sales be used?
- Should credit be extended to customers?
- How should the business respond to competitors' prices?
- How will the product reach the customer?
- How will products be handled, stored, displayed and controlled?
- How will orders be processed?
- Who will be responsible for products that are damaged or not sold?
- What kind of traffic patterns fit the buying patterns of target customers?
- What information do customers need?
- Should promotions be informational, persuasive or merely reminder messages?
- Do all customers need the same information?
- What combination of advertising, personal selling, sales promotion and publicity is needed?
- Will mass or individual promotion be most effective?
- What media should be used?
- How often must information be communicated to franchisees and customers?