If it seems less than a year ago you returned home from an International Carwash Association (ICA) show in Las Vegas … that is because it was. It was last November, so only six months ago. Yet, here we are, on the precipice of another.
This year’s show in Nashville promises to be an improvement upon the watered-down version that was hosted last year. We should see more vendors taking larger booth spaces to showcase their wares and pre-show registrations more in line with pre-pandemic shows.
For most, if not all manufacturers, this is the largest marketing expense of the year. I can only speak for us at Sonny’s — we spend a lot of time and energy in planning to make the show a success. The level of effort that goes into it ultimately determines its success and return on investment. It just makes business sense. Every year, we develop a plan, prepare and get everyone on board, then execute the plan.
How about your organization? Are you going to the show with a plan or is the “plan” to just wander the floor aimlessly?
You too are investing time and money. Travel, hotel, meals and entertainment aren’t cheap, especially these days. Will you get a return on your investment?
If you have a group going, maybe it’s best to divide and conquer. Assign educational sessions to each individual and ask for a summary that can be shared with everyone. Assign a few people from your group to speak with specific vendors you are already doing business with or researching. Task a few people to seek out all new innovations and report back on the ones that could show promise in helping your group reach the next level.
These are only examples, obviously, but I think you see my point. There’s a ton to do at a show and limited amount of time to do it all. If you create a plan, get everyone on the same page and then execute the plan, you stand a better chance of gaining the return on your investment you’re seeking.
If you take away one thing from the show that will help you grow your business, you can consider it money well spent.
As a side note, if you are a growing organization and aren’t taking any managers or others, you’re missing an opportunity to show them how large our industry is and where it’s going. If you want to retain your best employees, invest in them.
And remember to include some fun in your plan. There’s plenty to be found in Nashville and almost all of it is within walking distance of the convention center.
If you are going to the show, please swing by the Sonny’s booth and say hello. I’ll be the old guy wearing a yellow shirt…
All the best!
Bob Fox has been in the car wash industry since 1985 and is the VP of CarWash College and Technical Support at Sonny’s, the CarWash Factory. You can email Bob at [email protected]