McCadden: Franchise Your Marketing

by Kyle Clapham

Over the course of my career, I’ve asked remodelers if they had a marketing plan. I also asked if I could see it. If they had one, most just had a list of the tactics. They thought that was a plan. Tactics are required.

But you must also articulate why you’re using those tactics and have a way to measure whether those tactics are serving your intended purposes. If not, you’re likely wasting a lot of money and time.

From a strategy standpoint, you might want to consider franchising your marketing. By that I mean that you should set up your marketing, so the right employee will know why you do the marketing you do. That person can also be empowered to make it happen and to make sure the money and time invested are serving the intended purpose.

Establish a Budget and a Written Plan

Before you can develop your marketing plan, you need to decide how much money you will commit to investing for the year. The key word is commit. Think like a design-builder. If you’re doing the design-build process the way it is intended, you should never start planning until you know which budget you need to be working within.

If you are a full-service remodeler who hasn’t been doing much marketing and you now need more leads, you’ll probably need to invest at least 4 to 5 percent of your volume on marketing. Once your marketing is up and running—and your plan is working—you can likely then start to reduce how much you invest. The “flywheel effect” applies here.

Getting it up to speed takes extra energy, but once it is up to speed, it has its own momentum. It requires less energy to maintain that momentum. However, if you stop your marketing and let the flywheel slow down, it will take just as much energy to get it going the second time as it did the first.

You’ll also need a written plan. Again, a plan is not a list of tactics. Those come later. First you need to document the purposes for your marketing. You need to be clear about the why.

Remember that marketing is a combination of advertising and branding. Your plan should clarify how the marketing will reveal and support your brand. This comes before any results from advertisements.

Decide Your Tactics and Purposes

Having committed to a budget and then clearly understanding your intended purposes, now you can choose the tactics you’ll use to accomplish your plan. I suggest creating a grid listing all the tactics you intend to use. Write these down the left side of a sheet of paper or type them into a spreadsheet.

Across the top, list the purposes you identified in your written marketing plan. With this outline in place, then indicate within your grid whether each of the tactics support the purposes from your marketing plan that are listed across the top of your spreadsheet.

This exercise can help you visualize the potential cross pollination of your group of tactics. This will help you strategize the best combination of tactics required to hit your goals. This exercise will also help you make choices that maximize your return on investment (ROI). With the grid tool, it’s easier to visualize how certain combinations of tactics can serve multiple purposes.

ROI Must Be Measured

Marketing is simply an expense if you can’t measure whether it is working. On the other hand, marketing can be converted from an expense to an investment if it’s measurable. A good marketing plan will include how you’ll capture the performance of each tactic. Further, a good marketing plan will offer a way to analyze actual results against your plan.

Create a lead sheet for tracking incoming leads, their sources and what prospects know about your brand (or not). Use your lead sheet to also track the types of projects requested, project locations and other factors that correspond with your written plan. Ask why they contacted your company versus your competition. This is a great way to gauge if your marketing is working.

Create a Marketing Calendar

With your purposes and tactics identified, now you will need to decide when you will do each tactic throughout the year. A grid tool helps in this area too. Tactics are listed on the vertical column, and months of the year go across the top. Tally up the cost of each tactic for each month.

These details will help you stay within your budget, strategize maximum returns and anticipate the cash flow your business requires. Very often, tactics cost more at different times of the year. You want to be sure you can pay for the marketing as it happens.

Empower the Right Person

With all the prior pieces in place, it’s time to franchise your marketing. Like a franchisor would do when selecting franchisees, be sure you’re delegating the marketing plan to the right person. Fully empower them to get it done on their own.

With the pre-work completed, the designated employee will know the why and the what. They’ll also know the budget that they’re empowered to deploy without having to ask for it. Knowing the why gives the employee the ability to track and measure whether the tactics are working.

Final Word of Caution

Just like a franchisor would do, don’t let the employee you assigned to handle marketing just keep going without checking in to see that you’re on the right path. Fully delegate the responsibility but check in along the way. Don’t abdicate it and then be surprised months later to find out the plan had faltered along the way. QR

Shawn McCadden is a speaker, business trainer, columnist and award-winning remodeler with more than 35 years of experience. He can be reached at

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