Super Show wants to help buyers be less overwhelmed

A massive trade show like The Super Show can make new attendees feel overwhelmed. So organizers want to offer a warm welcome with a Newcomer Ambassador Program.
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Walking into a new company, a meeting with new colleagues or a party where you don't know anyone except the host can make you feel overwhelmed, anxious and unsure.

A massive trade show like The Super Show is no different, organizers say. So they're out to offer a warm welcome that should break the ice and help buyers -- especially newbies to the show -- feel more comfortable and be more productive.

Show management has proposed a so-called Newcomer Ambassador Program for the 2004 event set for Jan. 12-14 in Orlando, Fla., which will have members of the board of directors for show owner Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA) personally contacting new or potential attendees within each of their areas of expertise.

Why the rush to warm-fuzzies? According to a survey by Target Management at the 2003 show, 41 percent of total buyers (individuals attending for the first time) admitted to feeling at least a little overwhelmed at how to “work the room.”

Show management says it projects about 6,000 to 8,000 new stores from around the world will be personally contacted by a member of the SGMA board of directors representing their industry segment over six months. If a particular segment is not represented on the board, another industry leader who is a long-time exhibitor at The Super Show will contact the new buyer directly to advise them on how to maximize show time and welcome the person.

“The Newcomer Ambassador Program is unique in the fact that this level of industry leader has never taken such a hands-on approach to make a personal contact with a new buyer,” said SGMA President John Riddle.

Participants in this inaugural program will be treated to a Welcome Party on the first day, Jan. 12, for a jump-start to The Super Show with an additional networking opportunity.

SNEWS View: This Newcomer Ambassador Program is a great idea really -- many conferences and some trade shows we know actually have first-timers meetings, orientations and first-night gatherings to help with such logistics and networking. No reason The Super Show should be any different. We can see another interesting twist here -- personally contacting thousands of stores who haven't attended, or at least not of late? Wow, seems as if the board will be put to work doing a bit of selling, too.

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