A surprising number of SEMA-member companies know their association for only one thing—the SEMA Show. True, producing a world-class trade show is one of SEMA’s most important functions, as the Show enables tens of thousands of buyers and sellers to come together to do business. But in addition, the association is working on many fronts, to deliver programs and information in response to the needs of our members and the industry as a whole.
For years now, decades even, industry leaders at SEMA have undertaken initiatives to help reach and inspire the enthusiast, the semi-enthusiast and more than ever, the consumer who doesn’t yet identify as an enthusiast. The goal has been to introduce them to cool cars and trucks, the automotive lifestyle, and to spark the idea to use our industry’s great products. Together with our members’ own marketing efforts, we aim to help grow the specialty auto parts market.
Our cover story this month calls attention to a significant shift in how the federal government regulates replica cars. Enactment of this law was a great victory for SEMA and the industry, but exactly how this win was achieved is, perhaps, even more important. In many ways, we can chalk it up to a long-term effort to build key relationships.
Member businesses tell us that finding qualified prospects to fill jobs is among their toughest challenges. Our members are seeking the next generation of workers—the people who will bring the kind of skills, energy and ideas that every business needs to grow and prosper.
The 2015 SEMA Show has come and gone, and we’re pleased to report that thousands of companies once again took advantage of this annual gathering to set themselves up for a productive 2016.
The idea of an industry-owned product-information data repository, run like a utility company for the benefit of the industry, was a topic of discussion at SEMA for many years. Then, as web searches increasingly became a driving factor behind sales growth, the need for high-quality product data to power wholesale, retail and web-based business systems became more obvious. And the benefits to specialty parts manufacturers—improving speed to market and providing information capable of driving consumer purchase decisions—became “must-have” capabilities linked to success in the marketplace.
The 2015 SEMA Show is upon us, but when the Show is over, don’t be surprised if we ask for your feedback. Our annual post-Show survey goes out to more than 3,000 Show attendees. It is part of our process to provide a SEMA Show and an association that are responsive to needs, lead the industry to future opportunities and deliver return on investment. We consider it essential, and you should, too.
Each year, the team at SEMA aims to deliver a SEMA Show that grows in opportunities and value for our exhibitors and attendees. With just 31 days until we open the 2015 edition, plans have crystalized, registration numbers are up over last year, and it’s clear that the trend will continue. And yet our data indicates a change in the pattern, suggesting new opportunities late in the week.
In the specialty automotive industry, we can point to hundreds of successful businesses that were built through the energy and vision of a once-young person who persisted through a career lasting decades. And it’s equally common to find that, as entrepreneurs secure their businesses, they begin to concern themselves with the problem of staying relevant in a changing world and how their businesses might benefit from the next generation of innovators.
The efforts and outcomes secured by SEMA’s government affairs office in Washington, D.C., are among the association’s most highly rated benefits, according to our annual member satisfaction survey. While the D.C. team is a key factor, success is a function of each of you taking part and putting your strength into the effort—helping us make a deep impact on the policy discussions and decisions that are critical to the future of our industry.