SEMA News—November 2011

Innovation: It’s Not Just for Products Anymore

    Chris Kersting, SEMA President and CEO  
This year’s SEMA Show once again has innovation at every turn, including the pages you are now holding in your hands. Regular SEMA News readers will notice that, for the first time ever, we have combined the SEMA Show Directory with the Show issue of the magazine so that both publications reach more readers earlier. Many of you first reading this in your offices will now have a chance to preview the SEMA Show Directory two weeks prior to the Show, which should make your Show planning faster, easier and more productive.

For those of you first reading this in Las Vegas—welcome to the greatest showcase of automotive ideas on earth!

Great ideas are the driving force that started our automotive specialty-equipment community in the first place, leading to innovative products and a world of performance advancements. And today, our industry is applying innovative direction to the businesses themselves as a means to achieve growth and success in today’s challenging market. Companies are finding paths to international markets; they’re adapting products for agriculture and defense; they’re applying their expertise to product development beyond automotive; and they are plumbing the depths of digital media and marketing to be where the customer is. Meanwhile, growth from these new directions fuels the core mission: building and delivering the world’s greatest selection
of equipment to power every aspect of automotive passion!

What are we seeing on the upside? A look at our SEMA Show data indicates that specialty performance businesses are definitely on the throttle as they set themselves up for 2012.

  • Exhibitor participation is up significantly for the second year running.
  • We have a substantial increase in first-time exhibitors. These new companies span all 12 Show categories, and a large percentage of them are bringing new energy to traditional core sections, such as Racing & Performance.
  • Media attendance is up sharply, ensuring that Show coverage will generate buzz for weeks and months after we pack up and leave Las Vegas. We also see huge interest among opinion leaders—well-connected bloggers and cyberspace enthusiasts—who will no doubt find lots of hot tidbits to tweet, blog and post about.
  • Buyer attendance is up for the second straight year. This year, buyers and other attendees committed early and have booked more room nights than usual, taking advantage of lower rates among Show-block hotels. That tells us that aggressive buyers and motivated exhibitors are ready to connect in big numbers.

Like our member companies, your association team has also been hard at work implementing innovative ideas to help member companies succeed. In July, we launched a revamped website so that attendees and exhibitors were able to register more easily than ever, locate the best possible booth space and get Show information more easily.

We also worked on enhancing product exposure opportunities so that exhibitors can get the most bang for their buck. This year, the popular New Products Showcase—themed Ideas Alive—will also include a section for Featured Products so that exhibitors can get more exposure for products that might have been introduced in a prior year.

Completely new this year is the inaugural SEMA Cruise—Presented by Chevrolet Cruze. We’ve set up some grandstand seating to watch the rolling car show that takes place on teardown day. We’ve gotten the word out so that media and attendees know about this exciting new feature, and we predict that photos and video will spread across the automotive world very quickly.

As the Show opens, we’ll be looking forward to getting your feedback about these new features. And we look forward to seeing the annual explosion of innovation that the industry will unveil this year.

See you on the Show floor!

—Chris Kersting, SEMA President and CEO

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