IFA 2019 Convention Recap

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Every two years, the International Franchise Association’s annual convention returns to Las Vegas with a five-day agenda packed full of keynote presentations, round table discussions, focused learning sessions and a wealth of networking opportunities for attendees. Suffice it to say that the IFA’s biggest event of the year is essentially a “state-of-the-state” assessment of the massive (and growing) industry that is franchising. As proven leaders in franchise digital marketing, we look to the annual convention each year as an opportunity to connect in-person with current and prospective partners, and to also gain perspective on the myriad factors currently impacting business growth opportunities for both franchisors and their respective franchisees.

This year’s convention featured some exceptional keynote speeches and presentations from industry giants like Gary Vaynerchuk (Chairman of VaynerX, CEO and Co-Founder of VaynerMedia), Carly Fiorina (2016 Presidential hopeful) and Dennis Maloney (Chief Digital Officer, Domino’s). While their presentations differed in terms of content, there was a common message that resonated and it  was continually reinforced throughout the convention: innovate now or get left behind.

It’s a safe bet (obligatory Vegas pun) that our team walked away from IFA 2019 feeling more energized than ever before about the state of the franchising industry and our own, proven strategic approach to helping our franchise partners grow revenue year-over-year. With that in mind, here are some thoughts and takeaways from our team:

Alex Porter – CEO
“My top two takeaways combine the message from both Gary V. and Google: Do something different this year! Your revenue may be up 10% – but could it actually be up 30% instead? The marketing world is changing fast, so try testing some different things or get beat by your competition.” (Bonus: check out Alex’s recent visit to the Social Geek Radio Podcast, discussing Digital Marketing Trends in Franchising)

Tom Lynch – V.P. Franchise Operations & Development
“Best IFA convention ever! From the inspiring talks from Gary V. and John Miller on maximizing your ad dollars and testing innovations respectively, to the organized and spontaneous smaller discussions with like-minded franchise executives, it was an all-around great event. I came away with some clear takeaways for Location3 as an organization and a renewed sense that we are all experiencing the same challenges – but the sky is the limit for the franchise space in the U.S.”

Boyd Hathaway – Director of Franchise Performance
“In all of my conversations with franchisors at IFA 2019, the approach to proper centralization of marketing services was a focal point. Having a single agency of record to support all national and local marketing efforts seemed to be the most engaging topic and one that we love talking about!”

Gaines Crawford – Director of Business Development
“What a great event to learn, network, and connect with all those involved in the franchise world.  It’s always interesting to observe the relationships between the franchisees and the franchisor, and how the whole system works best when they are working towards the same goal together.  It was great to hear so much buzz around focusing on consumer experience and how digital channels can drive awareness and revenue for brands, as well.” 

Carol Lee – Sr. Director of Business Development
“IFA 2019 was action-packed with lots of energy and networking opportunities. This is, by far, the best event in the franchising space and we look forward to sponsoring and attending every year!”

In addition to the feedback above, it’s also worth highlighting just how much franchisors and franchisees alike have increasingly embraced digital marketing as a necessary element for success and revenue growth. Gone are the days and conventions past where simply presenting the value of digital marketing to potential partners was an arduous task. In 2019 the message is clear: digital now commands more of the overall marketing budget than any other marketing or advertising medium for more franchise brands than ever before and that industry shift is showing now signs of slowing down. The conversation has finally shifted to focus more on how to best leverage those digital marketing budgets in order to drive the most significant ROI possible. We’re excited about that, to say the least.

Lastly, a special thank you to our partners at Google for supporting us at the convention (and for co-hosting our private party)! We’re proud to be among the select few agencies globally who have earned the Google Premier Partner designation, and we continue to appreciate everything our team at Google does on behalf of our clients and our agency.

P.S. If anyone has seen our Google Partners bicycle, we’d really like to get it back after it was stolen from the Exhibit Hall floor. Mandalay Bay is checking the security footage. Last seen here being ridden by our CEO. Thanks in advance.

See you all in Orlando for IFA 2020!

 

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