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Yodle Franchisee Survey: 89% of Franchisee Owners Cite Online Marketing Support as a Key Factor in Selecting a Franchise Network

Marketing survey exposes chasm between franchisee expectations and what franchisors are delivering

NEW YORK, Feb. 13, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Yodle, a leader in local online marketing, today announced results from the first annual Yodle Franchisee Survey – a study that examines franchisees' marketing strategies as well as how those strategies relate to franchisees' respective corporate franchisors.  The survey, which was conducted in December 2012, looked at 437 franchisees nationwide across a large array of service industries.

"We are grateful to the franchisees that participated in the survey and appreciate having the opportunity to hear from them on issues affecting their business," said Corey O'Donnell, VP of Marketing at Yodle. "We hope their candid feedback, along with our other surveys we're planning for this year, serve to further inform both Yodle and the entire franchise industry on technical and marketing strategies online and off."

Major insights from the Yodle Franchisee Survey include:

1) Franchisees are putting a high premium on online marketing support and franchise networks need to respond accordingly.  More than half of franchisees (58%) view online marketing as "very important" or "important" to the success of their business, while another 27% said it was "somewhat important."  A vast majority (89%) of franchisees also shared that corporate online marketing is an important factor for choosing a franchisor.  This finding indicates that it's imperative for franchise networks wanting to recruit new members to demonstrate their commitment to online marketing. 

2) Franchisees are still dissatisfied about the online marketing support that they currently receive.  Despite the importance that franchisees place in getting online marketing support when selecting a franchisor, almost two thirds (64%) are at least "somewhat disappointed" with the level and quality of support they actually receive.

3) Franchisees' approach to both online and offline marketing leads to branding inconsistencies and performance issues across franchise networks.  Only about half of franchisees (48%) seek guidance from the franchisor when selecting marketing channels and vendors, with recommendations from other small business owners and vendor reviews usually playing a bigger factor in their final choice.  This not only has the potential to lead to branding inconsistencies but also further reflects dissatisfaction with corporate support. 

Additionally, nearly half of franchisees (49%) are not required to follow specific corporate recommendations on marketing strategy.  In 30% of cases, the edict that franchisees receive is to select from a list of vendors or a menu of options recommended by corporate, potentially further perpetuating inconsistency of brand and performance across the network.

4) Franchisees are getting a poor return on investment (ROI) or are struggling to understand what they're receiving from both online and offline marketing. A majority of franchisees stated that they are disappointed with their ROI, while an average of 15% across all media shared that they "don't know" what ROI they're getting from marketing.  This result indicates that these franchisees have either been given a lack of visibility into this crucial metric or that they are setting up marketing campaigns without appropriate tracking infrastructure.

"The Yodle Franchisee Survey illustrates the disconnect between franchisors and their franchisees around marketing, particularly in the online channel," said Mr. O'Donnell. "Not only can this have a damaging impact on the performance of franchisees, especially when you consider that 85% of consumers now use the Internet as their primary source to find local businesses, but it also affects the branding, growth and performance of franchise networks.  Franchisors usually implement strong consistency for items such as messaging, pricing, and even uniforms; there is an obvious need to have that same consistent franchise-wide approach to online marketing."

Yodle is exhibiting at booth #318 and #319 at the Annual IFA Convention in Las Vegas from February 17 – 20. Yodle can further discuss the survey results at the event and also share other insights about online marketing and franchises based on its strong experience of localizing national brands. The survey is also available at http://www.yodlefranchisenews.com/files/2013/02/Yodle_Franchisee_Survey_Summary.pdf.

About Yodle

Yodle connects consumers to local businesses simply and cost-effectively.  The combination of automated technology and comprehensive customer support makes Yodle easy to use.  Yodle's offering is also ROI-driven: local businesses set a budget for which they receive calls and emails from qualified consumers.  Today, Yodle delivers results for more than 30,000 local businesses including franchise networks such as Miracle-Ear, Fred Astaire Dance Studios, and Cottman Transmission and Total Auto Care.  To do so, Yodle establishes a comprehensive desktop and mobile web presence, implements unique SEO techniques, and deploys proprietary paid search technology that dynamically optimizes online media buys across multiple desktop and mobile outlets.  Yodle's solution also includes display advertising, review/offer management and a simple performance dashboard.  Yodle's competitive advantage is derived from the sheer scale of its local performance data across multiple industries. Yodle is ranked #26 in the Forbes list of America's most promising companies.  For more information, visit www.yodle.com, go to the Yodle company blog or see Yodle reviews from customers. You can also follow Yodle on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. If you're interested in working at Yodle, visit the company careers website.

SOURCE Yodle

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