What’s Happening with Trade Shows?
Full disclosure here—and I’ve said this before—I love trade shows. There is no better way for distributors to connect with their supplier partners. Suppliers have the opportunity to connect with new prospects and to strengthen relationships with current customers. There is no question, however, that the dynamics of trade shows are changing. It’s a big topic that I will address in two parts.
Trade shows offer professional development opportunities that you can’t get elsewhere. The networking component of trade shows nurtures long-lasting personal relationships. These relationships are one of the things I cherish most about my choice to be actively involved in the promotional marketing industry. This article is being written during the Specialty Advertising Association of Southern California (SAAC) Show. The SAAC Show draws engaged distributors and suppliers. It’s held in Long Beach, Calif., which is a beautiful location, and it’s cool in August!
Preshow education kicked off with two thought-provoking sessions. Mark Graham, president of Commonsku, presented a session geared toward suppliers more effectively communicating with distributors. Rod Brown, chief financial officer from MadeToOrder, and Gary Haley, president of Beacon Promotions, facilitated Product Safety Jeopardy, covering an important topic with a unique approach. The always fun PromoKitchen Chefs hosted their classic mixer where relationships are built and a good time was had by all.
Some may find this amazing, but I participated in the SAAC Ex-President (Craig Reese from Jack Nadel) Run/Walk at 6:15 a.m. This speaks to the commitment that people have to be fit and active. I have a long way to go, but I catch the vision and enjoy walking. Successful people take care of themselves, so they can stay healthy and continue to be successful. It’s great that SAAC adds this informal event to the show
Wednesday morning at the convention center began with a state-of-the-Industry panel discussion, featuring a brain trust of wisdom. Graham also facilitated this interesting session. The panel featured: Marty Lott, CEO of SanMar, Tom Goos, President of Image Source, Leeton H. Lee from ETS Express, Tom Mertz, CEO of Distributor Central and Trade Net Publishing, Karen Kravtiz from Commotion Promotions and Nichole Stella, President of the Promo Marketing Media Group. It was a great way to start the day!