Millennials have been top of mind for marketers for the past five years. This generation, supposedly born between 1982 and 2004, remains on the radar of marketers mostly due to their size and influence. In the Philippines alone, more than 32.2 million—or a third of the population—are millennials between 15 to 34 years old.
Due to the rise in popularity of entrepreneurship, these millennials are now also looking to franchising to jumpstart their entrepreneurial journeys. This stems from the frustration of not finding the right job after graduation, or of having a less than favorable job market in the country.
As of October 2016, the country’s unemployment rate is still at 4.7 percent. Of the total unemployed, 77.7 percent are millennials between 15 to 34 years old. Franchising still remains a viable alternative to corporate employment or starting a business from scratch.
There was a time when owning and running a franchise was an “old man’s game,” often reserved for retirees and returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs). But now, data from the Philippine Franchise Association (PFA) reveal that there has been a shift—over the past five years, attendees of the PFA’s annual Franchise Asia were mostly 16 to 25 years of age, with Facebook as their major source of information on franchising.
Since there is growing interest in franchising among millennials already, here are some tips on how you can better market your individual franchise concepts to the so-called “selfie generation.”
1. Go social, but still stay present in multiple channels
According to market insights firm Nielsen, millennials are the top smartphone users in the Philippines. This prompted more companies to go mobile first, developing digital marketing and social media campaigns that directly cater to smartphone users. While mobile and social media remain the main battleground for brands these days, they are not the only channels where one can course marketing efforts effectively.
The aim is to provide a seamless experience to customers, regardless of the channel or device. This means that customers should be able to engage with the company whether it’s in a physical store, on the company’s website or social media accounts, through a mobile app, or even through print catalogues and brochures.
For example, in-store advertising and out-of-home media resonates well with millennials; the former often serve as backdrops for photos of food and #OOTDs (outfit of the day), while the latter often become the subject of memes shared through social media if they are funny or catchy enough.
2. Invest in youthful and graphics-driven materials
Millennials like content that is easy to consume and visually appealing. Therefore, eye-catching graphics with very minimal text are more likely to draw them in. Infographics are also likely to catch their attention, and are more likely to be shared across their networks. These infographics can contain useful information about the franchise, or just trivia about the products or services you are selling.
Tap into the culture and its prevailing messages, such as following one’s passion and not settling for the ordinary. If applicable, you can also inject a touch of travel and even relationship #hugot into your marketing messages, as long as it is still related to the franchise and the products or services it is selling.
You can also choose to engage with young online influencers, such as bloggers and vloggers (video bloggers), to come up with compelling customer experience-based content which can help market your franchise.
3. Highlight other benefits of owning a franchise
Millennials are highly informed and, more often than not, also have informed opinions on social issues and current events. With that said, it would help if they can see that the franchise, beyond being a financial investment, is also an investment for social good. If the company is helping out a good cause, such as caring for the environment or supporting the livelihood of certain sectors, it can make the franchise more appealing to millennial investors.
Millennials also love to learn, so it also helps to highlight the franchise as a learning investment. Since franchisees are owner-operators, they will be trained on how to run the business and how to handle its different aspects like management, sales and marketing. Essentially, a franchise is like an MBA (Masters in Business Administration) that pays for itself.
4. Inject hard data into your marketing
Remember those infographics? Well, millennials love them because they also love hard data. Thanks to the wealth of information made available to them via the Internet, millennials can easily do their own research and find the numbers to back up any claim.
Therefore, you can use hard data to make a more compelling case about your franchise offer. Don’t just say that the franchise has “quick returns on investment;” offer a simple and visually appealing computation of your claim. Don’t just say that it is “the number one franchise in the Philippines;” explain the basis of your claim. It may be based on annual gross sales, number of outlets nationwide or number of franchisees.
Marketing your franchise to millennials can indeed be a challenge. But with the right mindset and the right marketing tools on hand, it can be achieved with great success.
U-Franchise Sales & Management is in the business of marketing homegrown and international franchises, and can help you land the right franchisee. For more information, please visit ufranchiseasia.com, or call (02) 634-0586 and 0917-8816999.
Sam Christopher Lim is the senior vice president for marketing and strategy at franchise consultancy Francorp Philippines; president of U-Franchise Sales &Management; and chairperson and director for special projects for Asean integration at the Philippine Franchise Association.