Publicity, Advertising and Results

RV Show benefits from publicity and advertising, resulting in foot traffic and, hopefully, sales.

For the past few months I’ve been working with ShowSpan to publicize their Grand Rapids Camper, Travel & RV Show, which opened yesterday.  I have been very impressed with ShowSpan’s “behind-the-scenes” operations supporting the show, which is one of many they produce (they also do the auto show, the home & garden show, the golf show, and others).  ShowSpan works with an ad agency as well, of course, to place ads on TV, radio, print and billboards. They have a good online presence.  And they have me.

For the past few weeks, I’ve helped keep ShowSpan spokespeople pretty busy.  This morning we had Fox17 out here between 6 and 9 a.m. which also meant that the show manager was here as well as a few of the vendors we were featuring.  Later this morning the RV show will be featured in an EightWest segment on WOOD TV8, the result of a taping yesterday with Rachel Ruiz.  Last night the show was on Fox17’s evening news and was featured as part of WGVU TV’s “Ask The Expert” with Shelley Irwin.   WZZM13 also has been here and that show appeared yesterday. 

Last Sunday The Grand Rapids Press featured the show on the back cover of the sports section and John Gonzalez made the RV Show one of Gonzo’s Top Five picks for the week. Add in all the radio interviews and the media interest the show will continue to generate (NASCAR favorite Johnny Benson’s here tomorrow … that’ll bring a crowd), and it all equals a lot of exposure for the RV industry.  One result of that was record crowds arriving for the Thursday open of the show, now in its fourth year.

The exposure increases  interest which generates traffic which, hopefully, results in sales for the RV industry. Talking to some of the RV dealers who are showing their wares at the show, interest is high among show attendees to buy.  That’s a good sign, because the RV industry is a leading indicator for the overall economy.  It’s the first to decline when the economy softens, and it’s among the first to rebound when confidence rises.

SO, I’m not a trained expert in this field, but I do sense a strengthening economy and hope that my role supporting one show in one city for one industry is a part of the solution.  As for you, it’s time to plan your vacation, and you should at least explore RVs as an option. Benefits include family bonding, flexibility, cost benefits, and more. I’ll send you the news releases if you’d like.  :-)

aimWest, young man

aimWest ConFab was chocolaty social media goodness through and through.

Yesterday was the 1st Annual aimWest Social Media ConFab, featuring keynote Laura Fitton, aka @Pistachio in Twitter, who co-authored Twitter for Dummies. Like many, Laura thought Twitter was kind of dumb when it first came out.  I know I also blogged about it a few years ago, questioning its value. Laura gave it a chance (as did I, eventually) and immediately saw her leads increase.

There’s a great Grand Rapids Press story about the conference today, and #aimWest was a top-1o trending topic yesterday as conference attendees twitted their thumbs away. Congratulations to aimWest for pulling together such a great event!

I was a panelist for a morning session on social media boosting productivity and collaboration in the workplace.  With me on the panel were Melissa Chiaramonti of Meijer (@mgenta on twitter) and Harrison Withers of Media 1. 

I talked a little about my experience within Amway and use of sharepoint sites and the like.  For teams, sharepoints and wikis can be great, but it requires full participation in order to be truly successful.  Key voices missing from the conversation might result in a flawed collaboration.  My “Beatles Social Media” example was that, if that four-person team had made collaborative decisions via social media, the outcomes resulting from dialog that only involved George and Ringo probably wouldn’t have made the band the success it became.  John and Paul’s inputs were necessary for the true success they eventually achieved, not to mention the voices of others such as their manager and their producer.

My main point, I think, was that organizations need to get intentional about their use of social media internally, just as many already are for external audiences. Within the company, people already are using social media tools but there’s little measurement occurring to determine if it’s effective — largely because most companies don’t even know it’s happening to the extent that it is.  Rather than having social media “just happen,” I think an organization will reap more benefits by planning and supporting the social media tools internally.

Melissa and Harrison — both of whom are true experts on this topic — really brought great ideas of what to do and how to do it to the audience.  While they were talking, I was scanning the #aimWest tweets on my laptop. It was almost like I could see thought bubbles rising above the heads of people in the audience, and it led to some of the questions we addressed as a panel.

I went to the social media “slam” session after that, where attendees shared experiences and questions “open mic” style. I’d been to a Social Media Slam conducted in a similar way this summer, which led to a YouTube video about my experience at Amway and how my 80-year-old dad met his wife online.  This one was much bigger and people did their little talks from where they sat, which gave it a different feel, in my opinion.

There was a great panel on Power Networking, but most of that session really focused on Facebook, since one of the panelists was Tom Chisholm, a Director at Facebook. The most excitement was generated over the question from the audience about when Facebook would add a “dislike” feature to go along with its “like” button. Tom started to say the “hide” feature was sort of the same thing, which aroused a Joe Wilson-like response from the audience (thanks @Maniactive).

Late in the afternoon, I was very proud of the great presentation by Cindy Droog of Amway, who was part of the panel discussing social media measurement.  She did a great job and received a lot of twitter love from the live tweeters. 

Between the Wednesday evening Tweet Up and the all-Thursday conference and the necessary follow up on emails and tweets today, the ConFab really chewed a big hole into this week. BUT, that hole was filled with gooey, chocolaty social media goodness, and area companies that didn’t send their PR/Social Media/Marketing staff to participate and learn really missed out!