By now everyone is back from IFA’s Annual Convention in Las Vegas and any embarrassment from attempted bull riding at FranJam is in the past… hopefully!
This year’s convention was stronger than ever, with higher attendance from suppliers as well as Franchises. Every speaker, from Dr. Rice and Mika Brzezinski to guest speakers for Facebook and Krispy Kreme were fantastic.
If you have any lessons learned from IFA, we would love to hear them. Here are our top 10 takeaways from the convention:
- On Change Management – Gordon Logan, CEO of Sport Clips suggested that we look to Kaizen (改善?), Japanese for “improvement”, or “change for the better” referring to philosophy or practices that focus upon continuous improvement of processes in manufacturing, engineering, and business management. While speaking at the session titled ‘C-Level Franchise Executive Issues’ Gordon repeatedly encouraged everyone to find the opportunity in change, not the challenge… so we don’t look at change as being scary. This couldn’t be more sage advice in a time of such change!
- On Understanding - Susan Black-Beth reminded us of Stephen Covey’s saying: “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Thank you Susan.
- On The Ideal Fan - Jessie Dwyer, from Facebook, warned us of creating a fan base that is potentially toxic. He suggested investing in quality connections, not customers who want free stuff, because on Facebook, and everywhere else throughout the social graph, your connections tell your story online.
- On the Future of Search – We heard from several marketing experts, including our own Michael Boyer and Steve Bridge, that keywords are dead… long live user intent. Digital marketing has become more about engaging content, and providing ways of allowing your customers to create that content, than simply pushing out messages. As a result, digital marketers have to be aware of how complex SEO has become and how sophisticated Google is in looking past mere keywords and understanding the ‘intent’ of your webpages, so they can continue delivering the most relevant content to their users.
- On Your Future Customer – At the Tech Summit Jeff Fromm, from Barkley, Inc, spoke about the keys to connecting with millennials being value, price, share worthiness, or peer acceptance, and the ability for them to participate. This is the future!
- On Your Next Ad Dollar – Much was discussed about Location Based Marketing, or using real-time location, or geo-aware, data from a consumers mobile device to deliver targeted messaged based on proximity to a specific location.
- On Technology – Paul Segreto, CEO of Franchise Foundry, discussed his concept of Integrated Franchise Marketing & Development and not falling behind on the technology curve. He suggested that an integrated marketing plan will provide you more automation, insight across your enterprise and ease of use by everyone involved. Go Paul!
- On Building a Business – Tom Feltenstein reminded us the true nature of business, “Recruiting is your most important decision! You don’t build business; people build business, hire better people!”
- On Customer Satisfaction – John Hewitt, CEO of Liberty Tax, in that same session, reminded us that we never meet customer expectations… we either fail to meet them or we exceed them. I’m also looking forward to reading the book he suggested, titled What’s Your Purple Goldfish?: How to Win Customers and Influence Word of Mouth. I’m looking forward to getting my copy from Amazon soon.
- On Focus - When a panel of experts was asked what a CEO should focus on… a resounding response suggested: vision, leadership and the morale of your customers and employees. You can’t beat that!
These were just a few of the many great takeaways we got from IFA this year. We would love to hear yours.