Category Archives: events

views and insight from attended events

2013 dealer expo lands with thud

Riders Edge captures the mood

2013 event turnout follows disappointing trend

“To me the most important thing we need to do right now is listen to our customers. In order for us to get back on track, we need to talk less, listen more and fully partner with the customers who are the reason Dealer Expo exists.” Harris said. “Our industry has changed. What people need from this show has changed. But, we’ve been somewhat slow to embrace that. That ends today.” – Tracy Harris, Advanstar VP-Expositions

Houston, we have a problem. And we’ve had it for a long time. The buzz coming out of this month’s final forever February Dealer Expo was this: zzzzzzzzz. Most comments run along the lines of being able to talk to company CEOs without a crowd – any crowd – around, as unintentionally confirmed by most of the live (search YouTube for 2013 dealer expo) video already uploaded. (Read more about the issues facing trade shows: Trade Shows At A Crossroads)

While it’s been a few years since I last attended, YouTube reporting now making its way online supports the notion that Advanstar threw a party and nobody came. At least not in numbers unseen since the heyday of the mid 2000s.

move to september in 2014 a hail mary

Next year they’ll move to a (much more sensible, and perhaps fatally too long in coming) Fall event, a perfect time to be in the Midwest. All this follows a series of course corrections that can’t be described as anything other than chaotic.

Adding the IMS public event and a crowd pleaser at that to coincide with the trade only show in the convention center should have produced better numbers but it didn’t. What it did do was lead to small embarassments as many vendors appeared confused as to the difference between trade only, public, and yes dealer price lists. Somewhere, Homer Simpson’s LOLing.

former exhibitor measures event value

Industry watchdog Joel Martin raised his own penalty flag as one of the first to comment publicly on the failure to deliver the dealer head count that is the lifeblood of a trade only event.

What happens next remains to be seen. The overall trend line for trade shows in general continues to head in the wrong direction. As newly added events like AIME elbow their way onto the scene, Advanstars options are increasingly limited but that doesn’t mean they’re dead in the water.

What it does mean is that the powersports industry cannot continue to support the current level of trade only activity at the present level. While hope these days revolves around the private-public EICMA and Intermot models, it’s possible the problems run much deeper than simply throwing open the doors to retail.

pri celebrates 25th motorsports expo

Performance Racing Industry 2012 PRI 25th Trade Show

pri ends orlando run with successful show in sunshine

December’s 25th annual Performance Racing Industry trade show was the first under new owner Specialty Equipment Marketing Association (SEMA) and recorded a solid three-day run of attendees in search of merchandise.

Just before show open, SEMA announced the purchase of PRI rival International Motorsports Industry Show (IMIS), which has hosted a December trade only show in Indianapolis since forming nine years ago. Beginning in 2013, SEMA will combine both shows and move the event to the new convention facilities in Indy. continue reading here

goodway’s friedman talks digital media

getting to the heart of paid digital media with jay friedman of goodway group

For much needed insight into the confounding world of paid digital media I staked out a seat at American Advertising Federation’s Tampa chapter Doing Digital Media Right meeting when they imported Goodway Group’s COO Jay Friedman from Dallas to talk shop. Thanks to a small class size, comfortable venue, and a generous with advice accessible speaker I got plenty of big data answers to my small data questions. (Also see online spending: search vs. display)

media plan starts with organization

At Goodway, the emphasis is on holistic planning. Just like the health philosophy of the same name, holistic planning encourages Continue reading

barcamp tampa 2012 – new directions

BarCamp — A Premium Social Digital Experience

barcamp fills the hunger gap with traditional food

This year barcamp returned to the University of South Florida’s School of Business Administration for a combined event with codecamp. More than 300 creatives, engineers, and coders from a broad range of backgrounds began lining up before 7:30 a.m. for name tags, coffee, donuts, and a presenting slot. view barcamp Tampa 2012 on flickr

To the average person who might find themselves marooned in this gathering by either a fussy Garmin GPS or a galactic wormhole, barcamp tampa surely comes across like Santa’s Little Helper on the Simpsons – blah blah blah blah blah. I’m no coder, so much of what enters my ears during each of the day’s 50-minute sessions finds me in full agreement with that cartoon greyhound. What does get through, though, is often priceless in terms of application and value.

from statistics to startups to plugins – what you can learn

Barcamp Tampa 2011 was my introduction to the network’s universe of mostly backend web and app design. This year, a shorter list of speakers meant a leaner menu of topics, spread across nine venues in six time slots that started at 8 a.m. and ended at five.

I finished the day with three solid seminars under my belt, leaving a couple of half-baked selections behind on the table. Even though overall the offerings were pared down, Beyond Netflix – New Frontiers in Algorithms, Harvesting Social Data, and WordPress Optimization added up to several hours of insight, information, and takeaways that would have proven elusive, if not impossible, to discover if not for barcamp.

quantity and quality – tough to choose from a broad list of topics

  1. Beyond Netflix – New Frontiers in Algorithms This presentation by USF faculty member Balaji Padmanabhan explored the future of preference aware software, using Amazon and Netflix models to demonstrate the value of sentiment analysis engines. In other words, knowing what you want before you do.
  2. Harvesting Social Data TAWLK engineer Lance Vick described the advantages of live tracking search and sentiment analysis simultaneously without having to open a separate window for each stream. The software, still in beta, uses keyword entry to filter results from whatever channel platforms are selected, including social, blogs, and other accessible content.
  3. WordPress Optimization Website host IT manager David Parsons laid out options and best practices for WordPress blogs, ranging from plugin strategy to security to graphic overhead that can slow down load times significantly.

barcamp tours tampa

Barcamp — A One-Day Digital Media Geekfest

barcamp brings top talent to tampa

Perfect Fall weather meant standing room only when Kforce’s Tampa headquarters opened their doors for a dynamic day-long code fest of presenters gathered from across the country. view barcamp Tampa 2011 on flickr

It was my first Barcamp, so it wasn’t until I parked and checked-in for the Saturday series of 30-minute presentations that I fully realized it was a coders’ boot camp with plenty of designers and social media marketers along for the ride.

Unlike the formal speaking schedule found in typical conferences, presenters show up with thumbdrives full of SlideShare, Prezi and PowerPoint content, much of it in beta form, then scribble their themes and topics on Post-Its that serve as both log-in and journal for speaker and subject.

speakers sorted and assigned to rooms

After that it’s up to organizers to arrange the order based on content and context, which is where the Post-Its come in as they’re sorted, organized, and debated before making it on to the quasi-spreadsheet wall listing. The audience gathers around, making notes of which sessions they’re interested in attending.

The unique approach means there’s no way to know ahead of time who you’ll see or when you’ll see them – an experiment in back end democracy, as it were. Barcamp rolls with a dynamic lineup ranging from top tier industry talent to first time content breakouts. Graphic, social media, and styling presentations from notables like Chris Coyier, Dave Cross, and Ethan Marcotte made sure my first Barcamp wouldn’t be my last.

performance racing industry pri expo

Performance Racing Industries Returns To Orlando

PRI has found a permanent home at the Orange County Convention Center. Though exhibitors and attendance was somewhat smaller than in years past, the net result was an event that was easier to navigate and absorb. The 2011 event featured live, knockout kart racing and a list of vendors that represented every sector of automotive related performance. Read the complete article here.

business needs rich media pr talent

manship prssa class of 2010

Mark Ragan’s PR Daily post by Arik Hanson highlights perfectly the growing demand for well rounded PR practitioners in the Twin Cities, a need that’s extendable throughout the country.

In it, Mr. Hanson cites employers scrambling for capable content providers or, as he phrases it, media producers. To me that translates into photojournalists, storytellers, videographers and to a lesser extent verbal audio specialists. Add to that list basic graphic design awareness.

facebook’s not enough to make me look

When I visited LSU’s Manship School of Communications (above) as a guest portfolio reviewer for the PRSSA Class of 2010, I was surprised that the current generation – fluent in texting, IM and facebook – was by and large incapable of producing a rich media story on their own. Continue reading

social fresh tampa: breaking it down

Whether you define social media as the 20th century spanned by two phones hooked together by copper wire or a bluetooth keyboard tapping out a tweet that ends up as smart phone text in the 21st, success with the medium begins with understanding the process.

Social Fresh Attendance by Category

Which is exactly where Social Fresh has landed on the map of the Continental United States. I was able to gain critical insight from some of the best in the business when Tampa played host to their multi-stop tour in February, promoted across the social media spectrum by founder Jason Keath (@jasonkeath) as the answer to marketers in various “underserved cities” wailing at the “How does all this stuff work?” wall of confusion.

The 1-2 day conference objectives are teaching marketeers – ad shops, pr firms, corporate communication staffers, philanthropic agencies – first the basics, then expanded specifics of invoking social media in its various forms. Facebook and twitter first, augmented by late breaking news in the app and cloudware departments later.

more than who had what for lunch

The chart above shows the typical conference breakdown of attendees by channel, and is indicitive of the broad interest among corporations, marketeers, government, non-profits and others in learning how social media communication strategies can be applied across markets. Social Fresh brings in a full slate of new media stars to shine in a venue that’s part camp meeting, part Mary Kay convention, where they’re free to serve up advice and instruction on the best ways for an audience of mostly pilgrams to navigate a landscape where there’s still no road map. It’s a job for experts, and Social Fresh delivers.

You can view more on the evolution of social media here.

dan rather at poynter institute

veteran broadcast journalist Dan Rather gave his unique perspective of global events based on over a half century of major network reporting

rather highlights legendary career

Last night’s Community Conversation “Dan Rather: Tough Questions, Tough Reporter” at St. Petersburg’s Poynter Institute was a first person smorgasbord of world events over the past half century, mostly framed in political perspective, that ended with an unexpected benediction on the need to teach America’s children – targeting the seventh grade – to deal with the real dangers of domestic propaganda.

The veteran broadcaster brought his look back and vision forward half-century’s worth of reporting on the American experience to an appreciative capacity audience that, based on the followup Q and A session, seemed focused on how the Iraq and Afghanistan wars would resolve. Continue reading

hallett defines personal brand strategy

building your personal brand

Josh Hallett’s a social media pioneer who currently directs new media for content creation powerhouse Voce Communications. Their clients include Sony, Playstation, Yahoo, Disney and eBay. He spoke recently as part of PRSA Tampa Bay’s 2010 Professional Development Day on what’s needed in order for a personal brand to achieve online awareness across various media. (Read our series of articles on the same topic here.)

While his work mainly centers on large multi-nationals, Hallett’s comments were directed at the growing number of professionals who need to develop a coordinated online identity that for many is currently just an ad hoc combination of social networking mixed with the occasional hosted blog and a neglected twitter account. Continue reading