CEO's Blog

CEO Blog: Trade Show Education

Matt Kormann recaps what's new and what's returning to the 2020 Trade Show.
Photo Credit: ATA

Author: Matt Kormann

When we ask our members to identify the most important aspect of the ATA Trade Show, we receive several answers consistently. The runaway favorite is that you want us to provide the best possible opportunities to do business with each other. Your ATA Board and staff are working to ensure that happens well into the future. With the launch of the “Buyer Only” day at #ATA2020, and more items in the works, we’re encouraging great business in Indy and beyond.

Other requests aren’t always as direct. One way we assess how we’re serving our members is by paying attention to why you reach out to us. The second most important item you asked us to address is education sessions. Time away from your business is incredibly valuable, so we want to ensure you have the best opportunities to learn while we’re together. Jennifer Mazur, our senior director of outreach and education, and her expert team are on top of that.

We received positive feedback about our Coffee Talks, so they will be returning this year. Photo credit: ATA

At #ATA2019 in Louisville you said you appreciated the addition of Coffee Talks throughout the day. Those small gatherings discussed important matters that relied on your input. We’re expanding those opportunities this year with a new focus on peer-to-peer learning. We know retailers and manufacturers are doing incredible things in the industry, and #ATA2020 will provide platforms to help you learn from each other.

We’re also increasing demo space on the Show floor. New hands-on experiences at this year’s Show helped participants see the importance of getting familiar with new products. That focus will expand in 2020 to zero in on products and technical education. We will also expand opportunities to build business relationships beyond your efforts in the exhibit booths. These demos will add in-depth technical training at levels beyond what you might experience in a booth’s limited space. If you want to watch an expert at work, this will be the place to go. Want to get hands-on yourself? Now you’ll get that chance right on the Trade Show floor at one of many demo sessions.

We have rearranged the seminar schedule to best maximize attendees' time. Photo credit: ATA

During our recent Board of Directors meetings, your Board affirmed that commitment to education. Instead of one early-morning classroom session, we’ve expanded to two time slots. Many of you thought your options were limited by the single-session format. We hope this change lets you hit every session on your list. Still, we’re being careful not to interrupt the Show’s prime business hours. We’ll hold no morning sessions on the “Buyer Only” opening day so you can focus on your biggest reasons for attending the Show.

The full Show schedule will be complete within the next few months, so watch for it in your favorite trade publication, and on your ATA’s website. Some of the Show’s most popular sessions are already online, though! Review the certification schedule here. New for 2020, you can earn your Level 1 certification the first day, Level 2 the next, and finish up with your S3DA certification Sunday. Certification sessions usually fill up fast, so please register early to ensure your seat.

Did you read something here that really excites you? Is something missing that we should include? Please let us know. Everything we’re working on was based on your feedback. It’s your ATA, and we’re listening. You can contact Jennifer Mazur or Kurt Smith anytime with feedback or questions to learn more about the many services your ATA provides.

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