We’ve been getting very positive feedback from those of you who were at the 2011 SEMA Show and are gratified to hear that this was a productive Show for exhibitors and buyers alike. Those who attended may have heard our core message behind the “Ideas Alive” theme: Innovation is not just for products—SEMA businesses must also innovate and find additional market opportunities.
Following a successful SEMA Show, it’s time to catch our breath and perhaps take a moment to ponder where we go from here.
Feedback following the Show suggests that the economy might not be booming, but many of our member companies are making progress. Those businesses have dug in and made the moves that will make it possible to thrive during a prolonged recovery period. That’s a reasonable strategy, since it seems clear that significant growth in our traditional markets is still somewhere out in the future.
This year’s SEMA Show once again has innovation at every turn, including the pages you are now holding in your hands. Regular SEMA News readers will notice that, for the first time ever, we have combined the SEMA Show Directory with the Show issue of the magazine so that both publications reach more readers earlier. Many of you first reading this in your offices will now have a chance to preview the SEMA Show Directory two weeks prior to the Show, which should make your Show planning faster, easier and more productive.
The SEMA Show exists for one core purpose: to help grow sales for our member businesses. At last year’s Show, we introduced “The SEMA Award: Hottest Vehicles of the Show” to help drive consumer interest in our industry’s innovative and outstanding products. The SEMA Award does this by honoring the models that industry experts—the SEMA Show exhibitors—most often feature in their booths as the hottest rides for the enthusiast market. Media coverage of SEMA Award winners last year was such a success that we wanted to share more about what the award really means and why we have even higher goals for it in its second year.
The nation’s economic challenges mean that all of us in the industry continue to push for efficient ways to increase profits. The SEMA Show continues to be a strong value proposition—and you don’t have to take my word for it; the data tells the story.
One might argue that the single most significant year-round benefit for SEMA members is our ongoing work in government affairs. What’s clear, however, is that having an effective presence on national and state levels has made an important difference for SEMA members and the specialty-equipment industry as a whole. To support this important strategic initiative, SEMA maintains a dedicated and well-connected team in Washington, D.C., working to make member voices heard on regulatory and legislative issues that affect a range of market niches.
SEMA members tell us that market research is at the top of their list as a key member benefit. That’s understandable: With good research it’s possible to plan ahead, take advantage of growing trends and navigate thoroughly challenging times. With no research, or poorly conducted research, we’re all navigating without a compass.
If you care enough about the above headline to have read this sentence, it’s probably because you value your right to vote. And you should value it—at every level of opportunity. The good news is that no one is taking away your right to vote in the SEMA Board of Directors elections. But, we hope that the nerve we just hit will cause many of you to realize your vote is taken away every time you fail to submit your vote. SEMA Board members guide the use of a powerful arsenal of SEMA resources, and you’d be upset if we said you no longer have a say in the matter. So this year, start a new habit and vote!
SEMA’s mission, in a nutshell, is to help our members’ businesses succeed and prosper. As a rule, we focus on those things that benefit members directly, in a tangible way. At the same time, there are some SEMA activities outside of that strict definition—certain causes and programs that we find worthy because they are a way of helping our own.
Customer service has become a key difference-maker in an interconnected world. The growth of social media means a single customer can broadcast what he or she thinks of your company, good or bad. And others can give that message an exponential pop—making or breaking your company’s image.