SEMA eNews Vol. 19, No. 13, March 31, 2016

SEMA Council & Network News: Last Call for YEN Power Tour Applications

Strengthen Your Company Through Community

No matter what niche you're in—rods, restoration, racing, restyling, reps, trucks or wheels and tires—there's a SEMA council or professional network that's right for your company. SEMA councils and networks offer members a variety of market-specific programs and activities designed to provide educational and networking opportunities while promoting their particular industry segment.


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Ten YEN members will have an opportunity to tour the country with the Hot Rod Power Tour, June 11–17.
   

Last Call for YEN Power Tour Applications!

Get your application in to participate in the YEN Power Tour by April 8. Don’t miss this opportunity to tour the country with the Hot Rod Power Tour, June 11–17. Ten YENsters will win the opportunity to join the journey stopping in seven different cities where hundreds of local car enthusiasts, students and automotive professionals come out to check out the scene. Build your professional network while giving back to the industry by inspiring the next generation. Apply today!

Live Chat with Ian Lehn Recap

The Young Executives Network (YEN) recently hosted a live chat on the network’s Facebook page, where YEN members asked Ian Lehn questions in real-time about his experience competing in and winning the SEMA Launch Pad competition, and gained insight on what it takes to bring a new product to market. Here’s the conversation:

Question: What was the most challenging part of the SEMA Launch Pad app process? How would you advise other applicants to get through that part?

Lehn: The most challenging part of the application process was the initial three-minute video that I had to come up with on my own, as well as hurrying up and becoming a member of SEMA and YEN. Both of these things are no longer an issue (kind of jealous). Not only do you no longer need to be a SEMA or YEN member to apply, but if you make the first cut, you get a full SEMA membership for a year free. As for the initial application, it’s a simple form that shouldn't take longer than 10 minutes. If you make the same cut as above and make the top 14, YEN will fly you out to the Exhibitor Summit and film and produce a video for you (again, very jealous).

Question: Out of the package you received after winning the SEMA Launch Pad, what was one of the most useful or beneficial prizes?

Lehn: Immediate impact was the Hot Rod magazine articles. This just about broke our eCommerce site with all of the orders that we got in. However, there were some business services stuff that SEMA offered that helped grow our business outside of just straight-up advertising, etc. But the biggest thing of all was the networking and contacts that BOOSTane received from the overall exposure.

Question: On introducing a new product to the automotive industry, how do you juggle where and when to advertise? Also do you prefer digital or does print still carry the most weight?

Lehn: The where and when to advertise is a rubber cube of questions. There is going to be merit on all mediums. The trick is finding what reaches your target demographic. We sell a lot to the grassroots drift scene. We have found the best way to get to those folks is through our social media channels. We also have a huge market in classic muscle, and as you can imagine, the biggest touch point for them is still going to be print media.

Question: Did you see a bump in sales or distribution in the 90 days following SEMA Launch Pad? Did it provide ROI?

Lehn: There was a bump in initial sales. We actually felt an increase in sales throughout the Launch Pad process. The exposure felt throughout brought traffic to our Facebook page and all over our website.

Question: With the 2016 SEMA Launch Pad kicking off, if someone is interested in participating in the program, do they have to be a SEMA member?

Lehn: Absolutely not. And if you get chosen as one of the 14 semi-finalists, you get a free one-year SEMA membership.

Question: I know many people may feel uncomfortable with the format of SEMA Launch Pad due to possible criticism during the judging process. Did you receive any feedback from the panel that you were able to reflect on and improve with your product or business model?

Lehn: While this competition is always compared to “Shark Tank,” the judging style is nothing like that. The industry leaders who are up on stage are there to help not only judge the competition, but also highlight your strong points and bring to your attention things that you could address. When I left the stage, I had a mental inventory of at least six things that legends like Jessi Combs and Ron Coleman had suggested to me, all of which I believe have been applied and benefited.

Question: When joining the YEN, were there any obstacles that you overcame that both helped you professionally and personally? If so, what were they?

Lehn: There were obstacles before I joined YEN. When I brought my business into the automotive aftermarket, I had no idea which way to turn. I had a professor tell me that I need to be involved and join SEMA. So that’s what I did. The next thing I know, I am applying for the SEMA YEN Power Tour, meeting tons of my peers, making friends and even first learning about Launch Pad. Since then, those friendships and experiences have given me the network to learn about pricing structures, product development, marketing, event promotion—the whole gamut. There are always going to be obstacles. Building a good network around you that you can lean on is what helps you get over them.

Question: If any, what changes are being made to the SEMA Launch Pad judging process this year?

Lehn: The judging/overall process has had some changes. Instead of the pool of applicants being whittled down to 10, then five, then a winner, semi-finalists will now be made up of 14, with 10 finalists, and of course a final winner. All along that way, folks are receiving invaluable resources and exposure.

Question: Hi Ian, what are the Launch Pad expectations after you win?

Lehn: The only expectations that you have are the ones that you set for yourself to follow up and take advantage of the opportunities made available throughout the competition. I never felt like there were external expectations. I think everyone involved wants to see a young and new company trying to make their way in a crazy industry succeed, but that’s it.

Question: Is there anything you would do differently coming off of winning SEMA Launch Pad to maximize the exposure you got from it?

Lehn: I think I would have taken my time with some of the marketing opportunities that the prize package offered. Take for example a full-page spread in Hot Rod magazine. It literally crashed our site cause of all of the sales traffic. I think I would have tried to build out our infrastructure a little more to handle the bump in business that we were going to receive. It’s a cool problem to have too many sales at once, but I am afraid that a few may have slipped through the cracks.

Apply for the 2016 SEMA Launch Pad competition today!

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ARMO Industry Mixer

ARMO is hosting an industry mixer at Spring Carlisle amongst the top restored vehicles in the country. Gather in the ARMO Hot Products Tent conveniently located in the middle of the fairgrounds for drinks and finger food. Network with industry friends while checking out the hottest products in restoration. SEMA staff and council leadership will be there to discuss council initiatives and benefits for your company. The mixer will take place Thursday, April 21, at 5:00 p.m. We’ll see you there!

Register your product(s) now!

Register Your Products for ARMO’s Hot Products Showcase

The ARMO Hot Products Showcase is an exciting and valuable opportunity for ARMO-member companies to put their product(s) in front of 100,000 restoration enthusiasts at Spring Carlisle. The Showcase is open Thursday–Saturday, April 21–23. For just the cost of shipping your product(s) to the Carlisle Fairgrounds, you’ll receive:

  • Product placement in the ARMO Hot Products Tent, located strategically in the center of the event grounds.
  • Professional product photography.
  • Product photo placement in the ARMO booth at the SEMA Show and in a photo gallery on SEMA.org.
  • Consideration for an ARMO New Product award in one of nine categories.

If you are going to Carlisle, you can save on shipping costs by dropping off and picking up your product onsite.

For more information, contact Council Director Jim Skelly at 909-978-6690 or jimsk@sema.org.

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HRIA is hosting a Long-Range Planning Meeting at the Charlotte Auto Fair in Charlotte, North Carolina, where an expected 150,000 automotive enthusiasts will gather to buy and sell unique vehicles and restoration parts.
   

HRIA Long-Range Planning Meeting

The Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA) is hosting a Long-Range Planning Meeting at the Charlotte Auto Fair in Concord, North Carolina, where an expected 150,000 automotive enthusiasts gather to buy and sell unique vehicles and restoration parts. The meeting kicks off Thursday, April 7, at 9:00 a.m. HRIA members and aspiring members will discuss relevant topics specific to the hot-rod industry, mingle with council leadership and learn about the 2016 initiatives. A complimentary lunch will be served to those who attend the meeting, which will be held in the Media Center Auditorium, located in the Charlotte Motor Speedway Infield.

Discussion topics will include:

  • What is the biggest challenge for your company today?
  • What is the biggest opportunity for your company today?
  • How can HRIA/SEMA help?

RSVP now!

For questions, contact Jim Skelly, SEMA Council Director at 909-978-6690 or jimsk@sema.org.

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