SEMA Member News
MPMC Readies for 15th Annual Media Trade Conference
SEMA Board of Directors member Jeep Worthan (left) of Auto Meter and Chair-Elect Nate Shelton of B&M Products share some time in conversation during the 2011 MPMC Media Trade Conference. No other event offers so many networking opportunities.
Motorsports Parts Manufacturers Council (MPMC) volunteers and SEMA staff are busy readying for another MPMC Media Trade Conference. The 15th annual gathering takes place January 24–26, 2012, at the Embassy Suites LAX South in El Segundo, California.
The MPMC Media Trade Conference is a truly unique event that 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. each day. There is a 30-minute break in the morning, another break in the afternoon and a one-hour lunch. This schedule provides up to 42 meeting slots over the three days, but additional meetings are often held during breaks, through the lunch period and even after hours.
“One aspect of the event that makes it so unique is the fact that the meetings focus on editorial content,” said MPMC Chairman Kyle Fickler of Weld Racing. “We get 30 minutes to share information about our latest and greatest products with editors and writers. At almost every other venue or show during the year, we’re all focused on selling—manufacturers on selling product and media on selling ad space. At the Media Trade Conference, we get to talk technical about our products, work out details on project cars and so forth.”
SEMA Board Director Steve Wolcott of ProMedia LLC, echoed those sentiments from the media side. “Each year, MPMC’s Media Trade Conference is one of the most anticipated events for our media teams. The opportunity to have dedicated half-hour meetings with more than 50 qualified performance manufacturers is incredible and helps our publications develop solid editorial content that lasts throughout the year.”
The event includes other networking opportunities in addition to the meetings. MPMC provides lunch on-site for all exhibitors and media attendees. MPMC also hosts a media reception on Tuesday evening, which includes the presentation of the Robert E. Petersen Award to a member of the media who has exhibited extraordinary support of MPMC in the past year. A new element has also been added for lunch on Wednesday this year when In-N-Out will provide the meals.
Media and exhibitors alike enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of the opening and closing night receptions at the MPMC Media Trade Conference.
Wednesday evening is typically left open for off-site activities, such as barbeques or open houses sponsored by one or more exhibiting manufacturers in the local area. For the second year in a row, Source Interlink Media will host an open house on Wednesday at its El Segundo offices, which are literally down the street from the host hotel.
MPMC closes the week with an exhibitor reception on Thursday, immediately following the last meeting of the event. These activities, along with the lunch and break periods, provide networking opportunities unequalled at any other industry event.
Exhibitor registration opens online for the event in mid-July and closes in early September. Only 100 exhibitors are accepted, owing to logistics and the number of available media representatives. More than 100 registrations are received each year, so a lottery system is used to select the “lucky 100.”
“It’s disappointing for those companies that do not get selected,” said MPMC Chair-Elect Vic Wood of Hedman Performance. “On the other hand, any company not selected by the lottery is automatically guaranteed a suite the following year, provided it submits a registration before the deadline. So even if your company has the absolute worst lottery luck in the world, you can count on being included every other year just by submitting a registration. The system does provide each company a fair shot at participating and also provides a bit of turnover in the exhibitors each year. SEMA staff reported that a record 122 registrations were received this year, so if all 22 companies register on time next year, that means 22 fresh faces at the 2013 event. It works out quite well.”
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 of the high priorities 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 improves every year.