SEMA Member News—January/February 2011
More than meetings, the MPMC Media Trade Conference offers networking opportunities unparalleled in the industry. This year the event returns to its longtime home at the Embassy Suites LAX South hotel in El Segundo, California, January 25–27, 2011.
Motorsports Parts Manufacturers Council (MPMC) volunteers and SEMA staff are busy readying for the 14th annual MPMC Media Trade Conference, which takes place on January 25–27, 2011. The event returns to its longtime home this year at the Embassy Suites LAX South hotel in El Segundo, California, after a one-year hiatus in 2010.
“The event has always been successful at the El Segundo facility,” said MPMC Chairman Kyle Fickler. “Nonetheless, MPMC volunteers and SEMA staff are always looking out for alternative sites. The economy was a big factor in our decision to move to the Radisson Suites in Covina last year. It was a worthy experiment, but the record rainfalls made it an ‘adventure’ that we won’t soon forget. We’re happy that the Embassy Suites was able to come up with a package that allows us to return. The proximity to LAX makes it a bit easier for exhibitors and media who travel from out of town, and being indoors and under a roof takes the weather out of the equation. Seems like this event guarantees rain for Los Angeles every year!”
The MPMC Media Trade Conference features three days of prescheduled, 30-minute meetings between 100 MPMC-member manufacturers and editorial staffs from national and international media. The meetings run from 9:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m. on each of the three days, with a 30-minute break in the morning and afternoon and
a one-hour lunch. Lunch is provided for exhibitors and attendees each day.
MPMC once again joined SEMA Education Week at the annual SEMA Show, hosting a panel discussion with industry veterans on hand to share their experiences dealing with knock-off or copycat products. The seminar was titled “Product Knockoffs: Keeping a Strong Brand in the Midst of Look-alikes.”
MPMC hosts a media reception on Tuesday evening and closes the week on Thursday evening with an MPMC-sponsored exhibitor appreciation reception. Wednesday evening is typically left open for offsite activities, and this year’s Wednesday highlight is an open house hosted by Source Interlink Media. The Source Interlink offices are literally down the street from the Embassy Suites hotel, and Doug Evans has promised to open the entire facility, including the garage that houses some great cars and motorcycles. These activities, along with the lunch and break periods, provide networking opportunities unequalled at any other industry event.
“The value of this event goes way beyond the meetings,” said Comp Performance Group CEO and current SEMA Board of Directors Chair-Elect Scooter Brothers, a longtime MPMC member. “It’s about the networking and the relationships that we establish here—relationships with the media and with our peers. There is no other venue in our industry where so many of us can spend three days together and network like this.”
Exhibitor registrations typically open in mid-June and close in mid-August, and there is a waiting list of MPMC-member companies trying to get into the event each year. Only 100 exhibitors are accepted each year, owing to logistics and the number of available media representatives. A lottery system ensures that new companies have a fair shot at attending the conference and allow for some turnover each year. Media attendees register online by reviewing the list of 100 exhibiting companies and selecting their priorities for meetings. While the scheduling software cannot ensure that all priority requests are met, it does a credible job. SEMA staff tweaks the software each year based on feedback, and exhibitors and media both report that the scheduling gets a little better every year.
Special Note: LRP Moves to Monday, January 24, 2011
MPMC will hold its annual Long-Range Planning (LRP) meeting on Monday, January 24, 2011. The meeting will take place at the Embassy Suites LAX South in El Segundo in conjunction with the 14th annual MPMC Media Trade Conference.
“We traditionally hold this meeting on the Friday after the Trade Conference, but it ends up being a Trade Conference debrief,” said Fickler. “We want to try it on Monday this year and concentrate on long-range planning. We’re hoping that more exhibitors can attend with this arrangement.”