Archive for the 'IFA' Category

04
Mar
13

Top 10 Things We Learned at the IFA Conference (Part 2)

In Part 1 of our Top 10 list, we shared franchise industry insights Tracy and I learned at the International Franchise Association (IFA) 2013 conference in Las Vegas. Today, we are rounding out our list with the marketing takeaways.

Kate Upton says that Carl's Jr. sandwich is spicyOne of the strategic marketing concepts that we thought was astute came from Andrew Pudzer, CEO of CKE Restaurants, describing the Carl’s Jr and Hardee’s ‘Young Hungry Guys’ target market. Andrew discussed at great length the Aspirational target market vs. Direct target market. This has manifested itself into a regular SuperBowl ad with some of the ‘it’ girls of the day. Last year’s ad was one of the most talked about after the big game and featured Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue cover girl Kate Upton. You might think we mentioned this to give us a reason to feature Kate Upton in our blog, you might be right.

Here are the five marketing takeaways from IFA 2013:

1. 25 – 29% of ALL Internet traffic comes from a mobile device. The percentage is continually increasing. Businesses that choose to ignore creating a mobile optimized site or developing a mobile app are going to be in trouble. Consider this: if you gave a bad experience to 1 out of 4 prospects, would you fix the problem?

2.  SEO Killer: less than 1% of franchise business listings are accurate in the top three search engines (Google, Bing and Yahoo). It may be as simple as inconsistencies across business locations. I searched “UPS Store” and found these four results on the first page:

        • theupsstore.com                       –>  Thornton, CO
        • theupsstorelocal.com/2579      –>   Denver, CO (7th & Broadway)
        • shipgeorgetown.com                –>  Georgetown, TX
        • fsups.net                                  –>  Tallahassee, FL

3.  The overwhelming majority of franchisors we’ve met do not have the patience for social media. They keep talking about wanting some old school reactions instead of engagement, sharing or interactions. This attitude must change or Millennials will focus on brands that understand.A lack of consistency with the URLs means a more generic search like “package shipping” won’t include UPS Store locations. In fact, the search returned a US Post Office, 2 FedEX office locations and 1 DHL location.

Equally important point, do not hire interns or entry level newbies to “do” your social media. Being a digital native does not make someone a social media expert or marketer.

4. Google is working with the IFA to make Google more franchise-friendly. This is a important development for concepts that are not brick and mortar.

5. We’ve heard of success across different franchise systems using a retargeting program. Retargeting keeps track of people who visit your site and displays your retargeting ads to them as they visit other sites online. Every time your prospect sees your ad as it follow them, your brand gains traction and more recognition. This Kate Upton Carl's Jr.has resulted in higher click-through rates and increased conversions.

All interesting stuff you say, but we know you want more Kate Upton. OK, we get it.

Let us know if you think we missed something. Share your thoughts about IFA with us on Facebook at Weise Communications and follow @Weise_Ideas on Twitter.

29
Feb
12

Top 5 Things Learned At IFA Conference 2012

The Weise Communications team is back from the International Franchise Association (IFA) conference in Orlando. The conference was full of highlights, including newest Hall of Fame inductee Jim Amos  and his moving prayer breakfast speech; Bonny LeVine award-winner, SuperWash COO, Susan Black-Beth; the two keynote speeches – one was from host of the O’Reilly Factor, Bill O’Reilly and the other was New York Times best seller, Guy Kawasaki. There was even an appearance by Shaquille O’Neal, performing a random act of Shaqness on behalf of the Original Soupman. The four-day conference didn’t disappoint. After sessions, roundtables and a host of meetings, here are the top five things Tracy and I learned at the conference.

1. In 2011, there was a lot of discussion about access to financing as the biggest hurdle to overcome for franchise systems to grow. In 2012, financing wasn’t nearly as significant of a topic. There appears to be much more optimism that economy is turning and that the rumored lowering of the corporate tax rate from 35% – 28% will keep the U.S. competitive in the global economy.

2. Millennials, those born between 1980 – 2000, currently make up 25 percent of US population and account for $200 billion in direct spending. This generation is going to be very important for marketers; here are four considerations when marketing to millennials:

  • They consider themselves health fanatics and live a lifestyle to back it up.
  • They actively support causes and prefer to spend with companies that support causes as well.
  • They are early adopters of technology and avid social media participants – more connections and greater frequency.
  • They create and consume more “word of mouth, mouse and thumb.”

3. Social media in a vacuum is not going to sell you a franchise. Any franchisor that doesn’t believe in the value of social media most likely has the wrong mindset. Social media is not a vehicle to pitch products and services; it is one of the tactics a franchisor should use to develop a relationship with a prospect. According to Jeff Hayzlett, your social media goal should be to engage, educate, excite and evangelize.  Thanks Jeff, your session was awesome!

4. There was a lot of interest in franchise sales lead generation. Despite franchisors overwhelming their business development system with poor quality leads, they kept asking the question: “How do I get more leads?” Weise Communications believes that franchisors should be more interested in the quality of lead they generate rather than the volume of leads. There are plenty of methods to generate volumes of poor leads. If the franchisors were more interested in conversion percentage, they wouldn’t stand for the tactics that waste time. Instead, they would ask, “How do I close the sale?”

5. Veterans are going to be a target and a trend for franchise sales and franchisors should strongly consider participating in Operation Enduring Freedom through the VetFran Program.  For the uninitiated, VetFran is a voluntary effort of IFA members that offers financial incentives to encourage franchise ownership to honorably discharged veterans.

We have a sixth thing we learned, you must be very careful at the passenger drop-off at the Orlando Airport. Cars, taxis and shuttle vans are constantly moving in and out of very tight spaces. It is possible for a person removing luggage out of the trunk of a car to get their legs crushed between their car and a run-away shuttle van. The results of Tracy’s MRI will be in later this week.

Let us know if you think we missed something. Share your thoughts about IFA with us on Facebook at Weise Communications and follow @Weise_Ideas on Twitter.

See you in Las Vegas in 2013.

21
Mar
11

Top Ten Lessons from the Franchise UnConference

Straight off the heals of the International Franchise Association Conference in Las Vegas, Weise Communications turned around and headed to Utah for the UnConference. Hosted by Fisher Zucker, Fishman PR and HotDish Advertising, the UnConference was a productive and less structured way to continue working with Franchisors and suppliers to determine best practices for franchise development and franchisee support.

What follows are our top ten nuggets of information from the UnConference.

The view from the gondola. Skiing only happened after a lot of hard work by all attendees.

1. When using Brokers, make sure you leverage them to the full extent. Brokers have historically been, and continue to be, a great asset for finding franchisees. Remember that Brokers are an extension of your sales staff and like all people, they need to be continually educated about your company, your brand and your ideal candidate. For best results, treat them as part of your team.

2. Technology done right can be very effective in making a difference in many areas of your organization, even franchise relationships. We all know nothing is better than a face-to-face meetings to improve relationships. However, meeting all of your franchisees regularly may be near impossible to accomplish. So try video conferencing! Video conferencing on Skype brings people face to face in a more intimate atmosphere than just a phone call and can create better relationships with your franchisees. Bonus, Skype is free.

3. Webinars are effective tools to generate higher quality franchise leads. Webinars are a great way to execute meetings that provide a terrific overview of information about ownership that is controlled and managed so that all key points are expressed in every meeting.

4. Websites can’t do everything, so don’t expect much if its designed for everything. The most successful sites for franchise sales are microsites that can be optimized for your sales keywords. (email me if you would like a PDF article on this topic originally published in Franchise World.)

5. Public relations is an effective way to geo-target franchise sales. Getting media exposure in a certain city or region will help generate sales leads in that area.

6. Treating franchisees like business partners allows you to break down barriers and create a more reciprocal relationship. Ultimately the success of the system depends on the success of franchisees and the franchisor. Working together is in the best interest of everyone.

7. Treat your franchisees as if they are your children – they should each truly believe they are your favorite. Thanks, Lane Kofoed, Assisting Hands® Home Care, for this great insight.

8. Changing their focus from “Lead Flow,” to “Deal Flow,” is the development strategy of Steve Greenbaum and his team from PostNet.

9. Benchmarking is essential to make improvements within the system. It is also great way to make better marketing decisions to increase unit level revenue. OnTrack™ is a free benchmarking tool for IFA members to compare key metrics for sales, expenses, employees, and best practices to improve franchise system performance. Click Here for more information about OnTrack.

10. Corporate level operational and training programs may need adjustment if your new franchisee demographics have changed due to the recession and the availability (or lack there of) for financing.

A special shout out to the program facilitators; Steve Greenbaum of PostNet; Joe Lindenmayer, TSS Franchising; Charles Chase, TFC Brands, and Steve Hearon, Certa ProPainters.

Thanks again to HotDish, FisherZucker and Fishman for a great week. We look forward to seeing you again next year.

Did I miss your top takeaway from the conference? Share it with us here!

02
Mar
11

Top 10 Things Learned At IFA Conference 2011

Weise Communications is back from the International Franchise Association (IFA) conference in Las Vegas (Feb. 13-16). The conference was full of highlights, from newest Hall of Fame inductee (Doc Cohen) and his moving acceptance speech, to 7-Eleven CEO Joe DePinto’s presentation on customer service and the two keynote speeches from former Massachusetts Govenor Mitt Romney and editor in chief of Forbes Magazine, Steve Forbes. The four-day conference didn’t disappoint. After five sessions, four roundtables and an executive forum, here are the top 10 things learned at the conference.

  1. Benchmarking KPI (Key Performance Indicators) through IFA ‘on track’ system is long over due.  Props to IFA for making this happen and highlighting it at the conference.
  2. Financing is still the biggest hurdle to overcome for franchise systems to grow. The IFA continues to push for political and financial movement in this area, while many franchisors look for innovative financing options of their own.
  3. Integration of marketing tools is essential.  Communication is no longer filtered through the media and our messages can go direct to the consumer. Thus, we need tighter control over what we say about our companies.
  4. A great way to get into the social media game is to use store locator maps on websites to help drive foot traffic. But, if you are using this tool, it is essential that locators are accurate and complete. The franchisor should own this operation, not the individual franchise owners.
  5. In 2010, there was a lot of discussion about using social media effectively in the world of franchising. In 2011, the entire conference could have been dedicated to this topic (@davemurr of Re Group). Franchise systems are increasingly savvy about driving consumers to their locations through mobile and location-based marketing, but still unsure how to use the same tools to sell franchises. Luckily we heard from some great systems that they are developing leads and closing sales based on their social media efforts. Social media is here to stay and it sounds like that message has been heard loud and clear by most franchise systems.
  6. A lead is a lead. A conversion is a sale. Franchisors are now more interested in the quality leads they can generate that actually close a deal, rather than simply how many leads they can get from any one source. The prevailing question now is, “How do I close the sale?” as opposed to “How do I get a lead?”
  7. Franchisors that still don’t believe in the value of social media probably have the wrong mindset. Social media is not pitching products and services; it is a relationship-building tool.
  8. When it comes to social media, like any other marketing outreach initiative, you need a plan that is realistic to execute and based on a legitimate goal. It also needs to be a sustainable plan because social media is not considered authentic unless it is ongoing.
  9. Separate training and support operational functions. Good professional trainers can get a franchisee started with excellent training. However, those skills are not necessarily successful for a franchisee operating for a while. They need a different level of support. Both of these functions need distinctive skill sets and most likely different people working on them. But the increased focus on the right area will increase franchisor profitability (@Mike_Walls of Caring Senior Service).
  10. Franchising industry must integrate social media with traditional methods and processes (@PaulSegreto of franchisEssentials). Social Media is a vital channel for growth both at the franchisee and the franchisor level (@JackMonson of Engage121).

Let us know if you think we missed something. Share your thoughts about IFA with us on Facebook at Weise Communications and follow @Weise_Ideas on Twitter.

See you in Orlando in 2012.




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