NSSF Targets New Experience At
Industry’s Mega Trade Show.
The NSSF is promoting its 2014 SHOT Show in January as “Too Good To Miss,” promising a new experience for exhibitors and attendees that will take the show to new heights. The mega trade show will be held at the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas, Jan. 14-17.
“The SHOT Show will be a new experience for everyone,” said Steve Sanetti, NSSF president and CEO. “We have changed the show significantly. Reed Exhibitions no longer is involved with the show, so we have a new show manager, ConvExx. We also have a new show marketing association, CSG Creative.”
Sanetti said ConvExx and the NSSF are committed to improving the SHOT Show experience.
“For 30 years, we had kind of fallen into a cycle of ‘This is how the show goes, and this is how it’s put on,’” he said. “It obviously worked, because our post-show survey last year indicated our member satisfaction was at an all-time high. That’s great, because just three years before that — when we first moved into the Sands — it was at an all-time low. So we did improve the show, but now we want to take it to the next level.”
The NSSF’s goal during the transition from Reed to ConvExx has been continuity, according to Chris Dolnack, NSSF senior vice president and chief marketing officer.
“Our customers know we have a new management company,” he said. “And they recognize they will see some things that are different. But our goal has been to maintain continuity for our customers. We’ve negotiated new contracts with all the vendors we had before through Reed, only now those contracts are directly with NSSF. When exhibitors register or set up travel, they will work with all the same companies they did before.”
The hiring of ConvExx has many advantages, Dolnack said.
“ConvExx has large show experience and they have Las Vegas experience, because they’re based in Las Vegas,” Dolnack said. “That’s a huge plus for us.”
Qualified Exhibitors, Attendees
NSSF continues to tighten the criteria for exhibitors and monitor who attends the show.
“We want to be sure that people who are exhibiting are really involved in the core business that our members want to see at the SHOT Show,” Sanetti said. “Also, we’re trying to make sure attendees at the show are qualified to ensure the exhibitors are talking about their merchandise to people in the trade — those who are making buying decisions.”
The goal in closely examining exhibitors is to make room for qualified exhibitors who are on the show’s waiting list. Non-qualified attendees are an on-going issue, Dolnack said.
“Last year, we received numerous complaints from exhibitors and attendees about people who were at the show because their friend the retailer or the exhibitor got them a badge,” Dolnack said. “Those people spend 15 minutes with a salesperson and when the salesperson asks a question like ‘Where’s your shop?’ and the person says, ‘Oh I’m just here with my buddy,’ it’s difficult for us to police. But with our mobile app requiring a unique email and our registration requiring one as well, they’ve helped us identify who’s working with a company and who has a private email address.”
Dolnack said show officials need the help of exhibitors and attendees to curb the attendance of those who are not qualified to attend the “trade-only” event.
“Please, carefully consider who you bring to the show,” he said. “Help us to help everyone have a better experience and get more value from the show.”
Celebrating The Industry
The annual NSSF State of the Industry Dinner will be held the first evening of the show, Tuesday, Jan. 14. Sanetti said the event is a way to stand together in response to the many challenges the industry faces and to celebrate the industry’s accomplishments in 2013.
“It helps us re-establish our bona fides as representatives of a responsible American industry, unified in its support of customers exercising their Constitutional rights to keep and bear arms in a responsible, safe and lawful way,” he said. “That’s something we see as a common thread throughout every SHOT Show. It’s a gathering of all in a responsible industry that too often is vilified or grossly misunderstood by the media, who tend to be located in urban areas and don’t understand the shooting sports or even the use of firearms for personal-defense.”
The evening will also showcase the entertainment of Penn & Teller, who have redefined the genre of magic and comedy and are in the midst of a 12-year run at The Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
The dinner will be held in the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino. Seats are limited and ticket pre-purchase is required. Tickets are $115 each or $1,050 for a table of 10. Seat assignments are by date and time of payment. More information is available at www.shotshow.org/state-industry-dinner.
Birdies For The Brave
NSSF is again sponsoring a pre-SHOT Show charity golf outing to benefit Birdies for the Brave, a national military outreach initiative supported by the PGA Tour. The event will be held on Jan. 11 and 12 at TPC Summerlin, in Las Vegas.
In 2012, NSSF raised $70,000 at the inaugural event for Birdies for the Brave. In 2013, the event raised $100,000. This year’s goal is $125,000.
There are a variety of sponsorship opportunities available. To learn more, visit www.shotshow.org/birdies-brave.
Benefits For Everyone
Regardless of how many times someone has been to the SHOT Show in the past, he or she will find benefit in attending the 2014 show, according to Sanetti.
“First, the SHOT Show kicks off the year,” Sanetti said. “It’s the largest gathering of people within the trade and it’s the largest gathering by far of the outdoor media, who get the word out to hunters and shooters about what’s new in the industry. It’s a networking show, it’s an educational show with SHOT Show University and lots of seminars, and it’s a media show that spreads the word across the industry. The SHOT Show is the one place where everybody and everything comes together across all segments of the industry, so it really is a must-see event.”
The show offers unique access to those who manufacture the products of the industry.
“The number one reason people go to the SHOT Show is the face-to-face meetings,” Dolnack said. “You can go to the show and meet the president of a company, or the engineer or lead designer of a new product. You can meet someone who you have only talked to on the phone — whether sales or marketing personnel. You can develop personal relationships that you can’t on the phone.”
Attendees can register for the show on the SHOT Show website. The “Apply” link on the home page at www.shotshow.org takes attendees to the registration page, where they can also purchase State of the Industry program tickets, register for educational programs and update their badge or other information.
Building on the success of the long-running Media Day at the Range, Sanetti said, this year’s SHOT Show will have a Key Buyer Day at the Range.
“Our major exhibitors have identified their key buyers,” he said, “and they are invited to the range on the first day of the show.
These key buyers will be able to handle and sample new products, which will help them with their buying decisions. It also helps the exhibitors show off their products in a way they can’t do anywhere else.”
Navigating The Show
With ConvExx as the new show manager, attendees will enjoy additional tools to help navigate the show, including changes to the Internet-based “My Show Planner.”
“The previous version of ‘My Show Planner’ was a customized Reed Exhibitions piece,” said Deidra Cauley, NSSF director of exhibitions and conferences. “As a result, we have not used the full capacity of the ‘Map Your Show’ product. Now, because we are working directly with the vendor for the 2014 show, we will be able to select and utilize additional offerings for our exhibitor base. We can better package multiple sponsorship levels utilizing more online tools offered by ‘Map Your Show.’”
Other enhancements include distinctive icons and navigation features.
“We’re going to place an ‘export’ icon on exhibitors that export product, and we’re looking into placing a ‘veteran- owned business’ icon on exhibitors who fit this distinction. The online floor plan will be easier for attendees to navigate and to capture ancillary events and their locations. The food icons will be uploaded to the floor plan, as well as exit locations to better assist with overall navigation.”
The Sands also has improved its navigation tools.
“This year, the mobile app is a native app, meaning it’s actually on mobile devices and will update wirelessly,” Cauley said. “We shouldn’t have the problems we’ve had in the past when we’ve had 65,000 people all trying to use the Wi-Fi at the same time.”
To further help dealers with navigating the SHOT Show floor, the January 2014 issue of Shooting Industry will feature a large pullout map — identifying must-see exhibits. The map will also be available for free at the FMG Publications booth (#16327).
There will be a number of educational opportunities at the 2014 SHOT Show. Educational details are featured on a single page of the SHOT Show website, providing attendees an easy planning tool. Visit www.shotshow.org/education.
SHOT Show University will be held on Monday, Jan. 13 at the Venetian. The fee for the university is $150 for NSSF members and $250 for non-members.
According to NSSF, this year’s SHOT Show University classes, coupled with strategic breakout sessions, will provide each firearms store owner or manager with unparalleled training and education to operate their businesses more effectively.
“We’ll have a general session for all the attendees,” said Randy Clark, NSSF managing director of business development. “That will start the day with two keynote speakers and two general session addresses. Then we’ll have four separate tracks for seminars.”
An attendee may stay on one track the entire day or move from track to track, depending on interests and needs.
Seminars To Inspire Business
Retailer seminars held during the SHOT Show provide dealers with opportunities to learn more about how to grow their businesses and stay current with industry trends and issues.
“We’ve beefed up our retailer seminars this year,” Clark said. “In the past, typically we offered four to six seminars during the course of the week. This year we’ve doubled that; we offer 12 seminars.”
In addition to SHOT Show University and the retailer seminars, there are two other education tracks for attendees.
The always well-attended FBI seminars on NICS will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 15.
Working law enforcement professionals can take advantage of the education program presented by NSSF and Law Officer Magazine, during which national experts present class sessions every day.
Those wishing to take advantage of the education opportunities at the SHOT Show should check class availability, location of sessions and updates at www.shotshow.org/education.
Working With The Media
Exhibitors have several ways to interact with the working press in the Press Room. They can put materials in the pressroom, or access the press conference room, where they can meet with selected media or schedule a press conference.
“If exhibitors aren’t utilizing the press conference room, they’re missing an opportunity,” Cauley said. “Exhibitors need to make it easy for the press to talk about their new products by putting information right at the press’s fingertips. A member of the media may not go by a particular booth, but if the exhibitor has put their material in the press room, he or she may write a story about that exhibitor’s new product.”
Cauley said exhibitors should sign up for the press bins ahead of time
“They can do that online,” she said. “The link will be on the website in the Exhibitor Resource Center.” The Exhibitor Resources Center is located at www.shotshow.org/erc.
Cauley also advised that exhibitors should utilize technology when dealing with the media.
“It amazes me how much expensive collateral material our exhibitors bring to the show, when they could spend that money on a flash drive that would be so much easier for the press to deal with,” she said. “Press people can’t possibly carry around 50 pounds of brochures. Include pictures and news releases; give the press all the information you can. Make it easy for them to write stories.”
The ninth annual SHOT Show Media Day at the Range will be held the day before the SHOT Show opens. For 2014, the event will include 700 invited media members in the morning, and an additional 700 media in the afternoon. For more information, visit www.shotshowrangeday.com.
By Carolee Anita Boyles
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