With planning well under way for the 3rd annual Franchise Consumer Marketing Conference in Atlanta on June 25-26, we asked our incoming chair, Wendy Magus, vice president of marketing at Kiddie Academy, for her thoughts on why this conference has quickly become so valuable to her. Part 2 of the interview will appear next month.
Q: This is the third Franchise Consumer Marketing Conference. What does this conference offer attendees that has made it a must-attend event for franchise marketers?
Magus: This conference is very different from any other. The quality of the attendees is unique. These are senior-level executives who are all focused on the same challenges and opportunities. As we are entering the third year, what really makes it wonderful is the relationships I've been able to develop with other franchise marketing executives from the previous two conferences. That is the real beauty of going back year after year. When we're 10 years down the road, I'll have a network of 200 close marketing friends who I can call and ask how they solve a particular problem, or to find out who they use for a particular service.
Q: What is unique about consumer marketing in franchising?
Magus: What's unique about the franchise space is that we have two layers of customers: the franchisees and the end-consumer. Some of the conference content is about how to market to that first layer, the franchisee, and how to get buy-in and drive adoption of the really important programs that will grow their business. It's about overcoming obstacles to implementation. And some of the content is about effective, efficient, and emerging ways to reach the end-user, the consumer. With all of these constituents, as franchisors we're trying to drive adoption and brand engagement. This is what is common across all concepts, and why there is such synergy among the people who come to this conference.
Q: What would you say to a CEO considering whether they should invest the money to send their CMO or brand manager to the conference? As we know, ROI is on every franchisor's mind today.
Magus: There is no other event like this. Over the past 2 years, I have come away with some very big ideas and very meaningful vendor relationships that have paid back exponentially compared with the small investment to attend. If I can take away one great idea that I can integrate into my existing marketing strategy, that makes the conference worthwhile. In actuality, I've come back from the previous two conferences with so many ideas, that I've had to evaluate and prioritize their implementation to get the most bang for my buck.
Q: As chair of the 2013 conference, what do you hope to accomplish, in terms of bringing value to the attendees and the key takeaways?
Magus: My goal for everyone who attends is the same as for myself: to come away having developed some really good new relationships and a handful of really great, actionable ideas. I want to make sure everyone has the opportunity to network with colleagues and vendors, and has the time for personal exchanges. At other events, you might have surface conversations with people as you walk the Expo floor, but the format of this conference allows for a lot of real, in-depth dialogue. It's not just the size of the conference, but also the culture of networking and relationship-building. Our big challenge will be to keep the same intimacy and culture as we continue to get bigger and bigger.
For 2013 Consumer Marketing Conference information, contact Sharon at 800.289.4232 ext. 202.