Growing a National Massage Franchise with a Centralized Digital Marketing Strategy

Megan JoosteCase Studies, Marketing

Background

After a massage franchise with over 200 independently-owned locations across the United States and Canada was acquired by a private equity firm, the brand reached out to Parallel Path to unify and improve its digital marketing for the benefit of the entire franchise network.  

Challenge

“What we know from our experience is that the foundation of any successful franchise is unification,” explains Chief Client Officer Hardy Kalisher. “As soon as there’s a lack of unification in systems and processes, a franchise system will inevitably limit its growth potential, and likely begin to erode. The very promise of the franchise industry is unification. Yet, we see it all the time: when digital marketing is not unified, franchisee are left to their own trial and error approaches and the result is limitations on franchise network growth and franchisee success.”

With over eight different digital marketing vendors, multiple DIY approaches, and no overarching oversight, the strategy, tactics, performance, and digital assets across the franchise network varied wildly. Unbeknownst to the franchise network, the brand experienced cannibalization of paid media dollars among its different locations such as on branded paid search. 

In addition, without a centralized managed marketing strategy, there was a lack of ability to prove the value of its digital marketing initiatives for new customer acquisition (leads) and brand awareness. The data was fragmented across its 200+ locations. This meant, among other things: no reliable lead acquisition data by channel or conversion type, multiple analytics, Google Ads accounts, and no direct benchmark and active data for cost per lead, conversion rates, or return on investment.

Solution

Parallel Path unified the entire franchise network by building centrally-managed digital marketing technology, management tools,  strategy, and scalable execution that included paid search ads, SEO, display, remarketing, and social media advertising. This was familiar territory for Parallel Path because of its experience over the previous years helping other franchise brands transition from fragmented to centrally managed (aka Corporate Managed) digital marketing. 

Parallel Path was confident in rolling out its playbook to unify the entire franchise network with one centralized marketing system. To do so, Parallel Path set the franchise network up for success with education sessions and worked arm-in-arm with the brand’s internal marketing and executive leadership teams through in-person visits, workshops, training, and webinars.

Results

While the centralized managed marketing framework enabled economies of scale, data-driven optimization depth, and technology implementation that previously was unattainable with a fragmented system, it was Parallel Path’s approach to the strategic direction and its best-in-class management and optimization that drove performance data that included (year over year):

  • 40% decrease in branded paid search cost per lead
  • 55% increase in paid search leads
  • 50% decrease in paid search cost per lead
  • 30% increase in social media ad leads 
  • 40% decrease in social media ad cost per lead

In addition, organic sessions increased by 43% year over year, providing a compelling argument for the power of a centralized marketing strategy for the brand and its investors.