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2010 Motivation Show Recap

The 2010 Motivation Show and its new format – with one full day dedicated to education followed by two full days of exhibits – seems to have been a great success. Preliminary figures put total attendance at close to 11,000, including some 7,200 buyer registrants and 3,000 exhibitor personnel. Those numbers also include 200 hosted buyers and 437 education conference registrants – up 11% from 2009 – and more than 1,100 exhibitor companies.

Peter Erickson, Managing Director of The Motivation Show, notes that the overall mood was upbeat. “Everyone who’s here to reconnect with this industry feels good about the opportunity to see and hear what their peers think, to hear the latest research and to see what new ideas and opportunities they might find,” he noted during the show’s 3-day run, adding that a trade show is a great opportunity for people in any industry to reconnect, “and that’s very important – especially in this difficult economic environment.”

In fact, “making connections” was one of the main themes of the show’s conference program. Officially titled “Connecting Employee Engagement and Financial Results,” the program featured tracks on Customer Loyalty, Employee Recognition, Meeting and Event Management and Sales Motivation, and included sessions on loyalty marketing, building trust with customers, using social media to boost engagement, recognition best practices, the importance of face-to-face meetings, corporate social responsibility and the importance of intrinsic motivation to sales success, among numerous others.

Erickson also notes that the show’s new Face-Time appointment scheduling tool was aimed at making connections. Face-Time, which allowed exhibitors and attendees to request and confirm appointments with each other, was introduced only two weeks before the show, and an amazing 3,000-4,000 appointment requests were made during that two-week period. “Next year it will be introduced much earlier and we believe it will become an even more important tool for us,” Erickson says. “We also intend to conduct webinars and provide early information on how exhibitors and attendees can use Face-Time more effectively to improve their trade show ROI.”

Attendees, Exhibitors Impressed

Exhibitors and attendees generally agree that the 2001 Motivation Show and its format changes were a success. Mike Landry, Director of Special Markets at TUMI, reports that the aisles were packed on the merchandise side on day one and for most of day two. “I had meaningful, detailed presentations with buyers from all over North America,” he says.

Heather Chevreau, Special Markets Manager for FujiFilm USA, says that her firm experienced a lot of foot traffic for the full duration of the show and obtained a number of good leads. Ed Handel, Corporate Sales Manager at Crutchfield, says he was impressed with the traffic and the quality of the traffic on Wednesday, noting that while traffic was lighter on Thursday, “it was still a much more qualified audience with more end-users.” And Jeff Dalton, CEO of Paramax Inc., agrees that “The show traffic was very impressive, especially on Wednesday. We had a lot of interesting conversations with potential customers and have a lot of solid leads to follow up on.”

Norma Jean Knollenberg, CEO of Top Brands Inc., appreciated the new format and the online appointment scheduler. In fact, she says, “We had more appointments scheduled for this show than we’ve had for the last few shows. The appointment scheduler was a great convenience for both attendees and exhibitors.”

Karen Renk, Executive Director of the Incentive Marketing Association (IMA), reports that the new show format delivered a strong conference and a good amount of time for conference attendees to be on the show floor. “IMA’s Incentive Travel Council session was very well attended, and the audience was enthusiastic about using travel awards in the coming year,” she says, adding that “The real news was that attendees were interested in talking about programs that they planned to implement in 2011 – a good sign for the new year.”

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Looking Ahead to 2011

Looking ahead, Erickson is also optimistic about next year and the show’s continued success. “This year, we made an effort to reach out to related organizations to invite them to offer their programming during show week under The Motivation Show umbrella, and that was very successful,” he says.

Examples: The Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) had a full-day workshop on the opening day of the show, and Recognition Professionals International (RPI) offered a Fall Summit program and its complete Certification Program during the course of the show. “We see that connection being really powerful for us in gaining more exposure in the HR community,” says Erickson. “And next year we want to develop a Recognition Pavillion related to RPI, to give their service providers and members a place to connect with our attendees in the exhibit hall.”

Erickson also points to the show’s developing relationship with the Enterprise Engagement Alliance (EEA) as a reason to be optimistic for next year. “The EEA sponsored our Keynote Luncheon with Dave Rife of White Castle who recently appeared on the popular TV show Undercover Boss. And we’re very excited about the possibility of co-locating one of EEA’s events next year under The Motivation Show umbrella.”

Although the economy is still a bit uncertain and Erickson admits that “it’s difficult for anyone in business today to make long-term commitments, we still think it’s critical for any supplier that feels a part of this industry to maintain their presence and participation here at least once a year.”

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News from The Motivation Show

Aside from being the best place for those in the motivation industry to make face-to-face connections every year, The Motivation Show is also a convenient platform for news and announcements related to the industry. Some examples:

  • The Incentive Marketing Association presented its inaugural Corporate Social Responsibility Awards during this year’s Motivation Show. Hinda Incentives of Chicago was honored for its continued commitment to social responsibility – specifically in the areas of corporate citizenship, supply chain practices and industry leadership. ITA Group of Des Moines, IA, and Fairmont Hotels and Resorts of Toronto received honorable mentions.
  • Voted on by show attendees from among 100 products and services on display at the Innovative Products Gallery on the show floor, Earth Gear Swany’s Laptop Storing WALKIN’ BAG and Canon USA’s EOS Rebel T2i Digital Camera tied for first place, while Nikon’s COOLPIX S111pi took second place in the IPG People’s Choice Awards.
  • The Incentive Research Foundation released its latest Pulse Survey, “Incentive Industry Trends 2011,” which suggests that economic trend lines for the industry are starting to move upward. It reports that respondents are more optimistic and consider the economy as having a ‘more positive’ impact on their ability to plan and implement incentive programs.
  • The Enterprise Engagement Institute, the new research and curriculum arm of the Enterprise Engagement Alliance (EEA), announced that its formal Curriculum and Certification program will launch at the first EEA Curriculum Conference and Expo at next year’s Motivation Show, October 4-6, 2011.
  • The Forum for People Performance Management and Measurement released a new white paper titled “Leading in the Age of Putting People First,” which outlines how business can implement a new people-centered leadership style that focuses on “employee enrichment.”

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November/December 2010

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