MMCS Events 5 Communication Methods used by one of the largest automotive trade events in the world

Article Information

  • Posted By : Marina Vatav
  • Posted On : Jul 15, 2014
  • Views : 3884
  • Industry : Marketing
  • Description :

    New spectacular cars and trucks, parts, accessories and the latest technologies draw hundreds of thousands of industry leaders every year to the premier automotive specialty products trade event in the world, The SEMA Show.

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  • Ira Gabriel, SEMAIra Gabriel

    New spectacular cars and trucks, parts, accessories and the latest technologies draw hundreds of thousands of industry leaders every year to the premier automotive specialty products trade event in the world, The SEMA Show.

    Established in 1967, the SEMA Show had an attendance of 135,000 pre-qualified professionals from over 100 countries who came to Las Vegas last year to experience the 2500+ new and featured products, place orders, establish new connections, and to take part in educational seminars, product demonstrations, and special events.

    MMCS Events discussed the Show's marketing and communication strategies with Ira Gabriel, Vice President of Marketing at Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA), the organizer of the Show.

    "So much of the show is communications. It's really communicating to the exhibitor, the manufacturer, the buyer; it's communicating to the consumers as a whole, to the media, to really promote in a very specific way the fact that this an automotive trade show, but it's more than that. It's really about small business owners coming together to make their business life better."

    5 Communication Methods used by SEMA

    The communication between SEMA and its followers takes place not just before and during the show. The organization uses a variety of methods to keep the communication with its members, followers, and partners warm all year-round.

    1. Have a communication plan and be in sync in all your messages.

    "We collaborate to make sure that one department is talking to the next department, that's very important. But we also have a clear and in-synched marketing message when we talk to the media, from newspapers, television stations to Internet sites," shares Ira Gabriel.

    "The first advice that I would give, and I would underline this, would be to establish your communications plan. It's critical that there's an organizational model of how to communicate the needs of what your members are looking for, and how to do that internally so that all stakeholders are able to communicate and understand what that plan and objective is; externally as well.”

    2. Print Publication.

    SEMA uses a print publication called SEMA News to provide its members and followers with industry information and useful data to cover stories and profiles. It also contains advertising and is a voice for a lot of the exhibitors to share perhaps their new products, or to let people know what's coming out in their departments.

    3. Electronic Communication Tool.

    The organization makes use of technology and puts out a weekly online publication called E-News that allows quick links to resources and websites.

    "What we try to do is give our members as much information as we can, but relevant and useful information so they can learn more about a particular market, and to be able to access data and information to make their products better," said Gabriel.

    4. Face-to-Face Meetings.

    The good old face-to-face is still probably the most efficient way to connect with your audience.

    "We communicate locally and regionally at town hall meetings where we'll send representatives from our corporate office to a particular part of the country and we'll invite local members to join us for a sit down evening where we'll talk with them and share stories and introduce people," noted Gabriel.

    "We spend a lot of time traveling around visiting companies and speaking about how to make their business better. We also have an internal department that is on the phone calling companies all around the country every day just to find out what their needs are, and how we can better serve them."

    5. Reaching the international market.

    SEMA and the SEMA Show have a very international audience. The Association is proactive about reaching out to companies across the world.

    "We have an international affairs division that's based in Washington, DC. They are tasked with traveling to different spots around the globe to educate people outside of the United States on what SEMA is all about, and how the industry can better serve them. When we go over to countries such as China, Russia, Mexico, or the Middle East, we bring members with us who are part of the association as a way to better educate our members on international opportunities to help them increase their business."

    "Planning for a show like this begins the hour after the previous show ended"

    As the SEMA Show is approaching in November 4-7, the organization is getting ready to immediately start the planning for next year's edition.

    "Planning for a show like this really begins the hour after the previous show ended, so if you think about this upcoming show in November, the very last day the show closes, people from our organization will start to lay out the groundwork for the following year's show," pointed out Ira Gabriel.

    "We see a lot of activity early on because we assess what the opportunities were during the previous show, where the growth patterns were, where some of the trends were, where some of the marketing communications happen to be. We evaluate in detail the metrics we analyze based on how effective our communication was, what type of media picked up on many of the stories, where we were with the number of cars and the number of people there, and you begin to plan that out early in the year."