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After attending Springboard last year, I couldn’t escape the buzz about YoungConference being a must-attend event. The chance to connect with future franchising leaders and powerhouse mentors in Chicago definitely piqued my interest, and I jumped at the opportunity to attend! I was so excited to pack my bags and head to Chicago, looking forward to learning, connecting, and growing. And, this conference totally lives up to the hype!  Here are my six favorite parts of YoungConference 2024!

1) 2024 Marketing Hot Takes

During this panel, we were reminded about the power of making data-driven decisions so franchisors can stay ahead of their competition. The emphasis was on harnessing the data that is so readily accessible today to ensure you are meeting your customers exactly where they are, ensuring relevancy for what they are looking for. Your company receives valuable information from places such as GA4, social media platforms, POS systems, and other platforms. Therefore, you must be reviewing, analyzing and using this information to inform your strategy moving forward. The panel reinforced the importance of agility and being quick-moving and informed in all marketing tactics, something we preach constantly at Elysium Marketing Group—especially regarding your franchise digital marketing strategy. 

2) Finding Superstar Employees

The challenge of attracting and retaining top talent is more important than ever, and the Employee Recruitment panel offered invaluable insights. The focus was on creating a supportive and enriching work environment, highlighting that while compensation is necessary, culture, perks, and meaningful engagement are key to long-term success. 

3) The Future of Fran Dev

Innovation was the buzzword in the panel on franchise development. The speakers discussed leveraging emerging technologies, unique marketing strategies, and sophisticated candidate profiling to drive franchise growth. The insights were particularly inspiring, showcasing the potential for the millennial generation to become the wealthiest franchise owners yet. It was a reminder of the dynamic and evolving nature of the franchise industry.

4) The Magic of Supplier Relationships

One of my favorite sessions was the strategic decision of choosing suppliers. The panel highlighted the considerations for build vs. buy, the choice between “all-in-one” vs. “point” solutions, and ensuring suppliers align with the brand’s core values. We experience this first-hand at Elysium Marketing Group daily with our franchise partners. We are always ensuring that our team is aware of each brand’s values and tones to ensure we deliver the most on-brand marketing strategy possible.  

5) Responsible Franchising on Our Minds

The concept of Responsible Franchising was a hot topic this year, generating meaningful discussions and connections. Panelists and attendees alike explored what this means in practice, emphasizing sustainability, ethical practices, and community impact. Long gone are the days of brands trying to sell as many franchise locations as humanly possible, but rather are focusing on ensuring the right franchisees are awarded opportunities in regards to their cultural fit for both the short and long term. 

6) Shark Tank Strikes Again

The YoungConference Shark Tank competition was simply fantastic. Who doesn’t love watching individuals pitch their dreams to the Sharks each week on TV? Now imagine it in person… such a unique opportunity! The pitches were informative, engaging, and genuinely showcased the breadth of industries that can be successful franchises – we saw pitches from everything from an airbrush tanning concept to a music class facility concept, a pour-your-own beer taphouse to a dog spa (that looks like an oasis for humans)!  Congratulations to Tiger Adjusters, the US’s first tech-enabled Public Adjusting franchise, for winning this year’s competition and bragging rights for years to come! 

YoungConference 2024 was a whirlwind of learning, networking, and inspiration. From marketing strategies and employee engagement to franchise development and supplier relationships, the insights gained will undoubtedly influence our approach at Elysium. If you have the opportunity to attend in the future, I 100% encourage you to go!  I’m grateful to all the incredible partners, sponsors, panelists, and attendees who made this event one for the record books. Here’s to carrying these learnings forward and staying ahead of the curve in the ever-evolving world of franchising!

~ Lexie