Monthly Industry Roundup: February 2020

Q&A With IFA Chief Catherine Monson

The International Franchising Association Annual Convention is the biggest event in franchising, and IFA 2020 in Orlando was marked by the introduction of Catherine Monson as the new IFA Chair. Monson, CEO of FASTSIGNS International, Inc., recently spoke to Franchising World about the future of the IFA and the franchising industry at large. Here’s an excerpt from that discussion:

What are your top priorities for the association in 2020?

My top priority is to protect and enhance the franchise business model.
I believe we can be most successful achieving that goal when we, concurrently, focus on a couple things. The first is teaching and promoting franchising best practices to franchisors. Great franchisors provide service and support to their franchisees, focus on franchisee profitability and develop and maintain positive relationships with their franchisees. Not only are they more successful, but they lessen the likelihood of unhappy franchisees pushing for corrective legislation, which would likely have unintended negative consequences for hardworking franchise professionals.

What got you started in franchising?

While getting into franchising was unplanned, I have grown to love it. I get to make a positive difference in people’s lives. Franchising is a way for people to achieve the dream of business ownership, control their own destinies, create jobs and economic output and build wealth for their families. It allows them to be in business for themselves, but not by themselves, with the power of a brand, marketing, training and support. It’s allowed me to develop relationships with thousands of franchisees. Some of my best friends are former franchisees of brands I’ve worked for. My involvement in the IFA has also brought me many meaningful relationships with others in franchising.

The full interview with new IFA Chair Catherine Monson can be read here.

How to Dominate Branded Search in 2020

In the first two parts (read Part 1 and Part 2) of our 3-part series on branded search strategy, we examined the legal history of competitor keyword bidding and the viability of ditching branded paid search as a strategy altogether. In Part 3, we look forward to 2020 and how brands should be managing their brand keywords. Here’s an excerpt from Part 3:

Let Paid Search and Organic Search Work Together

Paid search and organic search are separate strategies that require separate tactics, but that doesn’t mean they operate independently. As we discussed in Part 2, the relationship between search ads and organic search is cooperative. Protecting brand keywords as well as optimizing for organic search can positively affect both strategies.

A branded search strategy that starts with protecting your branded typically requires you to be the highest bidder for your brand terms. Unless your competition is desperate to sink a substantial amount of their budget into owning your brand keywords, this should be relatively affordable and well worth the investment. Studies have consistently shown that owning your brand terms through paid ads is the single biggest factor in driving traffic to your site on branded queries.

When running campaigns in different geographies, data points can be collected on how competition may vary from region to region. It’s important to assess national competitors as well as local players to monitor difference in costs and auction dynamics to inform your overall strategy.

To keep costs for your brand search in check, always reference system-generated metrics for top-of-page bids as a guideline, but experiment (important) reducing your keyword bids until you start seeing impression share slip outside of an acceptable level. This is a good way to understand specific auction dynamics — considering competition, but not overpaying on inflated cost per clicks.

For more analysis, read Part 3 in its entirety.

Location3 VP of Growth Becomes CFE

As the preferred digital partners of franchise brands, Location3 is committed to understanding the many challenges of franchising. That’s why Location3 VP of Growth Tom Lynch recently became a Certified Franchising Executive, joining Location3 CEO Alex Porter in that honor. Lynch was honored in a graduation ceremony at IFA 2020 in Orlando, Florida.

The CFE program is a rigorous process that requires a dedication to understanding the nuances of franchising, including the perspectives of both franchisors and franchisees. Lynch shared his experience upon returning from the convention. Here are a few of his thoughts:

At Location3, we take pride in immersing ourselves in our partners’ business at every level — from local franchisee marketing to national ad campaigns, franchise development, grand openings, and more. This allows us to lend our resources and expertise to offer solutions for our partners in every situation. The deeper our understanding of the everyday processes of a franchise system, the more likely it is that our tactics will help our partners accomplish sustainable growth at both the ‘zor and ‘zee levels.

That level of partnership drives our business and continues to drive my goals for partner growth success. I’ve always strived to make a meaningful impact on the professional and personal lives of our franchise partners. The CFE program gave me confidence that every day we’re helping our partners in tangible ways, aside from simply exceeding marketing KPIs.

For more details on the CFE program, read Lynch’s post here.

2020 Franchise and Digital Marketing Events

We’ve compiled a list of the best events in franchising and digital marketing for 2020. Here are the upcoming events for March:


March 13-18, Austin, TX

Localogy 20/20

March 16-18, San Antonio, TX

Restaurant Franchising & Innovation Summit

March 16-18, Atlanta, GA

LocalU Advanced

March 25, 2020, Atlanta, GA


March 26-27, San Diego, CA

If you’re looking for a conference that’s best for your professional development, check out our full list of events for 2020. We’ll be updating the list frequently, so feel free to email with any conference information we missed.

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