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The FranTech Conference left us thinking about the new era of technology

The IFA FranTech Digital Marketing and Technology Conference was held on October 26-28th in Dallas, TX, this year. It was a great opportunity to see friends from the industry, existing clients and to see some new faces. As you might assume, the conference was about the state of technology and how to cope with its ever-changing nature. To foster this discussion, the IFA hosted two keynote speakers and several breakout sessions that left us thinking about how technology will continue to be a challenge and also an asset in the franchise industry. Below are some key takeaways from the two keynote speakers, Mike Walsh and Jeremy Lynch.

Mike Walsh, CEO of Tomorrow, advises leaders on how to thrive in this era of disruptive technological change. As the conference keynote speaker, Mike discussed how technology is always changing and as such, so are we. So we should always adapt our business practices to match the ever-changing mind of the technology user. Here’s what we found most intriguing from Mike’s speech:

  • Exposure to technology changes the mind. Recall what things you did as a child to stay preoccupied. For example, playing board games with your siblings, coloring a picture for your mom or dad, and so on. Now, compare that to the kids today that are drawn to iPads or iPhones.
  • Visuals have become the key to communication. Use videos and photos to capture your audience. Are words really needed in today’s world beyond their importance for SEO?
  • Keeping detailed notes about your customers or franchise prospects is key. This allows you to constantly analyze your target and make sure you’re communicating with them in the best way. Again, because technology is always changing so is the way we would like to be communicated with.

But probably most important to his speech was the reminder that while there’s a new generation of customers, there’s also a new generation of franchisees that will be more open to technology. Let’s take Mike’s advice and use the technological resources available to us to give the customers and prospects what they want and need to make decisions.

The second keynote speaker, Jeremy Lynch, spoke on behalf of the Facebook team to discuss how prevalent Facebook is in society today. He spoke about the different types of Facebook ads and how targeting can be used to market the right audience. As you know, Facebook is an important tactic to reach an audience. After all, 148 million people use Facebook a day!

Check out these facts. Did you know?

  • 75% of people access Facebook on a mobile device
  • 1 of 5 mobile minutes is spent on Facebook or Instagram
  • 8 out of 10 people on Facebook are connected with a small business
  • 50% of people watch a video on Facebook daily

An important element for all businesses to remember is that you can target your paid ads on Facebook a number of ways. The first way is native targeting, which uses details like interests, demographics, behaviors and location to target your posts to your desired audience. But beyond this, you can do advanced targeting. One type of advanced targeting is custom audience targeting using a database you have on file. This can come in handy for retargeting dead leads, leads currently in your lead funnel, and those who have received a paid e-blast in the past. Each type of audience can have a different message that speaks to their level of previous interaction with the brand.

And last, Jeremy discussed that Facebook has just come out with a new carousel link ad option, which allows you to showcase 3-5 images in a single ad. This new feature will optimize the performance of your ad by selecting and ordering the best-performing images and links for each person who sees your ad.

Design Tip: Use product images to target returning or high-intent customers, and lifestyle images to target new customers. While you should use images that are related to one theme in each ad, try different creative strategies, like storytelling or sequencing, to see what works best for you.

Not only were there two great keynote speakers whom left us pondering the new era of technology, but there were also some great breakout sessions that allowed us to interact with the other attendees. These sessions provided us the opportunity to share our insights with others, and help others determine ways to solve their challenges. Some major discussion items were social media, mobile-responsive websites, e-mail campaigns, and mobile-specific marketing tactics. All great tactics to keep in mind when brainstorming external advertising and communication within an organization. And in the franchising space, we’re all willing to share ideas and keep the conversation going so everyone walked away with information to help their companies grow!
Here’s to the next conference!

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