Kamyar Shah is a Tampa, Florida-based business and franchise consultant who offers remote COO and CMO services to young-but-growing businesses across the United States. He currently serves as a member of the Forbes Coaches Council. 1851 tapped into Shah’s small business and franchise leadership coaching and executive expertise to learn how brands should be spending their marketing budgets in 2020.
1851: What's working marketing-wise for brands in 2019 that you recommend they continue allocating budget toward in 2020?
Shah: One of the most underutilized marketing methods that is surely going to be around for years to come is native advertising. It is rather logical to assume that as content productions increase, the opportunity to utilize native advertising similarly will increase.
1851: In what areas of the business can franchisors lighten their budgets or lessen spending next year?
Shah: There is no hard and fast rule because different franchises have different rules. That being said, I have seen lower returns on local print media in recent months. Hence, I would start by looking at lower-performing projects and marketing venues.
1851: What's the biggest trend you're seeing when it comes to franchise development and marketing budgets and spending?
Shah: In the last couple of years, I have witnessed an upward trend toward loyalty programs. As a whole, data-driven decision making has had a big role in steering businesses toward those underutilized methods.
1851: What's an area in which franchisors commonly overlook or spend too little?
Shah: From personal experience, I have seen a real underutilization of social media. Though franchises have many rules that may virtually prevent social media usage in creative ways, franchisors and franchise owners could do a lot more to utilize social media marketing to their advantage. The business world has massively changed from the time that a franchise has any real impact just by its name.
Be social! Invest in social media and social causes—the returns are almost evergreen.
1851: Where do you advise franchisees and other small business owners to spend their marketing budgets on the local level?
Shah: Using social media to interact with the local community is rather simple and can have a measurable ROI. One of my clients was able to use social media to promote several local charitable events, which, in turn, had measurable ROI in terms of traffic to her physical location. The dollar amount was easily several folds of her investment; sponsoring local events is one of the easiest ways to have a prominent presence in the community. If done correctly, it has substantial ROI.