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IFA Convention 2015 - Engage has left the building

By Jason Stone

This week we had the pleasure of attending the International Franchise Association’s IFA 2015 Convention as guests of our friends at Higher Logic. Higher Logic is a leader in cloud-based community platforms, and a fellow Protech partner who, like us, works with a number of associations. We and Higher Logic were booth neighbors at Protech’s Fusion Conference where we discovered we had another common market -- the franchise space. Their team graciously invited us to share their booth at the IFA convention so we could learn about more about the IFA and its largest annual event. 

It was quite a show! Some 3,700 attendees from around the world packed Las Vegas’s MGM Grand to learn about franchises and support suppliers. Senior representatives from every franchise brand you’ve ever heard of -- from Anytime Fitness (a pleasure to meet you, Jennifer!) to Ziebart -- networked, shared their knowledge and learned from one another. And it was Vegas, so there was some fun to be had as well.

Kevin O’Brien and I had the pleasure of sitting in on a Digital Marketing and Technology Summit session where we heard several franchisors share pain points around dated and clumsy-to-use websites. We were surprised to hear from some businesses that their sites weren’t even on a CMS, while others were beholden to developers who had locked them into proprietary software. Some had fully responsive websites with slick UIs, but limited backend integration that was holding them back from their users’ best online experience. Everyone had a pain point, and it was pleasure to have a chance to share what we’ve learned in our own work on franchise and dealer sites.

Vegas is all about winning, and what booth is complete without a fun giveaway? We made a number of new friends with our FitBit and GoPro giveaways. Congratulations to our winners Steve Bailey of Sonic Drive In (pictured) and René-Charles Landry of GUS!

What a great event. It was no small feat to come home from sunny Vegas to 13 degree weather in St. Louis. We hope to see you again next year!

To read more about Engage's work with franchises, see Engage > Franchises
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