MPMC - Media Trade Conference Gets Better With Age

SEMA Member News - May/June 2009 -

Increased Coverage Through Meetings That Make a Difference

SEMA News-May 2009-MPMC
The Embassy Suites LAX South hotel is transformed into a motorsports parts manufacturers showcase for three days every January. Its convenient proximity to Los Angeles International Airport, a physical layout conducive to moving from meeting to meeting and the hotel staff’s willingness to participate as partners in the event all combine to make the hotel an ideal facility for the annual MPMC Media Trade Conference.

The 2008 Motorsports Parts Manufacturers Council (MPMC) Media Trade Conference was heralded as the best ever. Not wanting to rest on their laurels, MPMC and SEMA staff worked all year to make it even better, and by all accounts, their efforts paid off. Once again, the MPMC Media Trade Conference, held on January 20–22, 2009, was “the best ever.”

The annual Media Trade Conference (MTC) brings MPMC member manufacturers together with editorial staff from various media publications for three days of face-to-face exchanges. A block of hotel suites is reserved for exhibitors, and preregistered media are then scheduled for up to 42 individual 30-minute meetings with the manufacturers. Unlike a trade show environment, where exhibitors and media are occupied with business, ad sales and product sales are not a part of the curriculum at the Media Trade Conference; it’s all about editorial content. Many media representatives claim that most—and sometimes all—of their technical editorial content for the entire year comes from this one event. Likewise, manufacturers view the event as an opportunity to establish contacts and relationships with the media that are not available anywhere else.

Each year, the MPMC holds an event review meeting on Friday morning immediately following the event to solicit input on how to improve for the following year. Utilizing feedback from last year’s meeting, SEMA staff implemented improvements, such as the development of new meeting-scheduling software and new procedures for onsite schedule changes—both of which were recognized by all in attendance.

“Our meeting schedule was better than ever,” said MPMC Chairman Bill Floyd of AFCO/Dynatec. “It wasn’t just the number of meetings, but the matchup between our company and the media we met with was the best I can remember. I heard the same comments from virtually every exhibitor I talked to.”

Select Committee member Ron Johnson of ADDCO Manufacturing echoed those sentiments.

“I’ve been involved with the MTC forever, or so it seems,” he said. “I’ve been an exhibitor and been chairman of MPMC, so I know both sides of the equation. This year was a homerun. We lost some exhibitors in the eleventh hour, which was no surprise. But the event was still a big success. SEMA has the scheduling system nailed down pretty good. The host hotel has stepped up and addressed some of our facility concerns from last year, so now we can concentrate on details and fine-tuning. I’m already excited about next year.”

Also new to this year’s procedure was the use of an internal cross-functional team to organize the event. SEMA staff members from various departments worked together to bring the conference to fruition and to keep an open line of communication with the MPMC Select Committee.

 SEMA News-May 2009-MPMC
SEMA President and CEO Chris Kersting (left) and MPMC Chairman Bill Floyd (right) of AFCO/Dynatec presented the 2008 Robert Petersen Media Award to Bill Middaugh of Bobit Business Media during the media reception at the MPMC Media Trade Conference.

“The communication between SEMA staff and our Select Committee was outstanding,” said MPMC MTC Task Force Chairperson Marla Moore of Hypertech. “Immediately following last year’s event, SEMA staff produced a production timeline with various dates for progress updates to the council. We knew what was happening every step of the way, and the results speak for themselves. The success of this year’s MPMC MTC is a textbook example of how SEMA and the councils can work together to produce results.”

The cross-functional team is already hard at work on improvements for the 2010 edition of the MPMC Media Trade Conference. Exhibitor registration will open sometime in mid-June 2009. For more information, stay tuned to

Recognizing Media Contributions

A media reception is held on Tuesday night each year during the MPMC MTC to thank the media for their participation and contributions. The presentation of a media award to an individual from the media who has made a recognizable positive impact on the motorsports industry and the MPMC during the previous year is a highlight of the festivities. Formerly called the MPMC Media Person of the Year Award, the name was changed in 2008 to honor the man to whom so many in the automotive media owe their careers: Robert E. Petersen. The winner of the 2008 Robert E. Petersen Media Award was Bill Middaugh of Bobbit Business Media. Middaugh served for 18 years at Source Interlink Media on titles, such as Hot Rod, Street Rodder, Popular Hot Rodding, Super Chevy, Chevy High Performance, Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords and High Performance Pontiac. Before that he worked at the McMullen Design and Marketing ad agency.