2024 Franchise Marketing Trends

Courtesy of FranchiseWire

Technology, Fear, and a Desire for Authenticity are Shaping Marketing Strategies in the New Year

This article was not written using ChatGPT or any AI tools. A year ago, I didn’t need to specify that; now, I feel like I need to mention this at the beginning of any article, blog, or podcast! And AI is definitely the latest shiny object that consumer marketers can’t get enough of right now. GlobalNewswire reports that the AI market is projected to reach a staggering $407 billion by 2027, experiencing substantial growth from its estimated $86.9 billion revenue in 2022. That growth is impressive, but how will it impact franchise marketers?

We say marketing franchises to potential owners is very different than marketing products and services to consumers. But when it comes to hot tactics and trends – especially the use of AI – humans are human. Here are four franchise marketing trends I’m watching for 2024:

franchise marketing trends

2024 Franchise Marketing Trends

1. Changes with AI

I recently had the privilege of hosting a Social Geek podcast episode that looked at trends with marketing and franchising rock stars Ali Kraus of Benetrends, Liz Solar of Solar Media, Northeast Color’s Derrick Ableman, author Scott Greenberg, and Kenneth Burke of Text Request. The group made an interesting prediction that marketers will move from using AI to churn out a ton of content to wisely using AI to optimize performance. We want to see authenticity in our content.

We’ve seen so many of our marketing and franchising colleagues using AI to slap together blogs that are not very thoughtful. We scroll past our LinkedIn contacts’ long posts that are high in frequency and quantity, but low in quality. When the honeymoon with ChatGPT wears off, they may stop using AI to create content and use it only to construct content. Franchise marketers see big opportunities for AI in areas like media buying and targeting to maximize the reach of franchise development ads without increasing spend. Meta and many third-party apps have made great strides in optimizing social ad performance using AI.

2. Nostalgia Marketing

A hot marketing trend right now is the return to content and messaging that audiences loved in the past, or nostalgia marketing. This is not rebranding, but rather temporarily reviving old branding. Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, McDonald’s, Pepsi, and many other popular brands are reintroducing old branding, mascots, logos, dishes, and nostalgia from the 70s, 80s, and 90s. From the previously mentioned podcast roundtable, Kraus and Solar have dubbed this the “corduroy movement” due to the return of everyone’s least favorite pants.

There’s a charm and comfort to these retro-branded messages that resonate with audiences in times of crisis and insecurity. We’re looking at 2024 as a year with even more anxiety and economic uncertainty. The upcoming election, weak economy, and world crises will put us in an ugly landscape, so some feel-good content and marketing could work well. This certainly will translate to franchise development marketing.

3. Short-Form Videos

Using videos for franchise marketing has been around for several years, with many brands sharing their brand stories, testimonials, and day in the life of a franchisee videos on their franchise development websites and YouTube channels. These are perfect for sharing with candidates who are researching and validating your brand. But short-form videos serve a completely different purpose. These 30- to 60-second clips typically feature one clip of one person discussing opportunities. They perform well on Instagram Reels, Facebook Reels, X, and YouTube Shorts.

And they perform best for marketing franchises on LinkedIn and TikTok. These videos create awareness with entrepreneurs and others who may not have even heard of your franchise brand. After seeing your videos only a few times, your brand can become top of mind. These advisory videos show you as a subject matter expert on whatever topic you choose to speak about. My team currently has 12 client franchise brands that started using this approach to short-form video in 2023, and I think it could be the biggest boost for many more brands in 2024.

4. Personal Branding

Part of the success of short-form videos is due to the personal branding aspect of the content. Setting up subject matter experts has worked well in consumer influencer marketing for a decade. Now is the time for B2B marketers to share expert advice, offer entrepreneurship tips, or create videos for anything for which the “the face of the brand” is known.

And it’s that face or voice that you’re marketing. We often say people don’t buy from companies…they buy from people. That’s more accurate in franchise development than in any other place. More franchise marketers will call upon that person within their brand for candidates to get to know, like, and trust. Developing those personalities on social and engaging with candidates could be the top marketing success story of 2024.

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