AIMExpo Top 10

What you don’t want to miss this year

EO_DSC_0092Need a good reason to attend the AIMExpo in Orlando? How about 10 good reasons to go? With apologies to a certain late night TV comedian, the top 10 reasons for attending trade shows are no joking matter.

When AIMExpo decided to revolutionize the concept of a powersports industry event by bringing the industry, media and customers together at the Orange County Convention Center in 2013, it was based on a “one place at one time” approach. “Actually we believe it is the ‘right’ place at the ‘right’ time,” says AIMExpo VP and General Manager Larry Little.

EO_DSC_01661) See what’s new. According to the experts at Retail Minded magazine, trade shows provide the ideal opportunity to “Gain knowledge and exposure to new trends, products and resources that are available for your retail business. This is a great way to learn about what’s hot, what’s fading and what you need to have or do right now.” With displays from more than 500 exhibitors, getting the holeshot on what’s new for 2016 should be a snap!

2) Networking. Dealer, distributor, OEM or aftermarket brand… everyone stands to benefit from the opportunity to engage in relationship building with other industry insiders. It also gives you a chance to collect useful intelligence to take home with you. Mark Peterson from Southwest Superbikes in Dallas, Texas, cuts to the chase: “I go to AIMExpo for two primary reasons. I want to see what’s new and see old friends.” Garage Party, an all-new interactive show element that incorporates live music, a custom bike building competition, an extensive display of past and present custom V-Twin motorcycles, a wide range of AIMExpo exhibitors, and an after party at Orlando Harley-Davidson provides plenty of opportunity to network.

3) Product Demos. “People attend trade shows to seek out new products and services, so it’s the perfect opportunity to put those new products directly into their hands – literally,” claims a recent article in The Globe and Mail newspaper in Canada.”Attendees are able to touch, feel, hear and see how your product or service can fulfill a need that their business has.” The Orlando show takes the concept one better with AIMExpo Outdoors!  Dealers, media, the general public and even exhibitor staff can test ride 2016 models from Arctic Cat, BRP, Can-Am, Gibbs, Honda, Kawasaki, KYMCO USA, Massimo, Suzuki, Yamaha and others on the street, in the dirt and even on Quadski Lake :“The benefit we’ve derived from attending and engaging with our dealers, members of the media and the general public at AIMExpo has been significant,” says Dan Proffer, Gibbs Quadski Sales & Marketing Manager. “That is why we’ve chosen Orlando in October as the place to unveil some truly unique concept vehicles.”

4) Educational opportunities. “Education sessions can help you better understand the challenges and trends in your industry, strengthen your business strategy, better position yourself to your clients, and move your business forward,” says Isabella Wai, director of convention exhibits for HealthAchieve, the largest show of its kind in North America. Sponsored by CDK Global Recreation (CDK) and National Powersport Auctions (NPA), PSBI@AIMExpo expands to 42 seminar sessions among five tracks, targeting enhanced dealership profitability and operations. The curriculum focuses on improving all facets of the powersports retail business model in five key areas: Sales & Marketing sponsored by Fisher Investments; Leadership Plus sponsored by ARI Network Services; Service & Operations; Powering Profits sponsored by McGraw Powersports; and the newly added track geared toward AIMExpo’s growing V-Twin dealer audience, the Brick & Mortar Success Guide. “A guiding principle of AIMExpo from the beginning was that the platform must serve the industry,” adds AIMExpo’s Marketing Manager, Kevin Nixon. “The primary objective of the PSBI@AIMExpo program is to do exactly that by providing dealers with insights into the latest market trends, and actionable steps to improve the core aspects of their business,”

5) Buying power. According to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research, 81%  of trade show attendees have buying authority. That means more than 4 out of 5 folks on the AIMExpo show floor have money to spend, but need to budget their time accordingly. “I needed more than the two days to spend all the time that I wanted with the vendors, plus attend the PSBI university courses,” notes Rick Castagna from Shooting Star Bike Works in Jacksonville, Florida. “The timing is great with Biketoberfest,” he says of the show’s October return to Orlando.

6) Good PR. “Participating in a trade show tells current customers and prospects that your company is financially strong, innovative and actively reaching out to share your successes with them,” says Retail Minded magazine. “It also demonstrates your drive and competitiveness – you’re not sitting back and letting the competition gain the advantage.” According to AIMExpo President Mike Webster, trade shows are a time to see… and be seen! “In the old days, you were conspicuous in your absence from the industry’s leading events,” he adds. “Exhibitor and dealer alike, the shows set the tone for the year.”

7) Made in America. Another new addition to the AIMExpo program is a focus on American-made brands that not only serve as a platform for all American companies to participate, but also provide a natural home for producers of American V-Twin products. With AIMExpo’s vision of an international show that attracts buyers from all over the globe, “Made in America” will take a fresh approach to showcasing those products and brands to dealers and importers seeking to add American lines. “We made a commitment from the start that we would work to create value and energize the market with innovative ideas at AIMExpo,” explains AIMExpo VP Larry Little.”This is the next step in that vision. It is also our approach to embracing the American V-Twin market segment with a focus first on American, and then V-Twin.”

8) Keynote Address. True Value President and CEO John Hartmann will share some of his experiences and progressive business models with AIMExpo attendees on Friday, October 16 from 9 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. inside the Chapin Theater. True Value is one of the world’s largest retailer-owned wholesale hardware cooperatives with gross billings in excess $2 billion and 4,400 independent retailer locations worldwide. “The True Value business model operates similarly to that of retailers in the powersports marketplace,” explains Hartmann. “Dealers are still independent brick-and-mortar retailers much like those with True Value. As a result, the challenges of operating the business and maintaining its success in this new age of retail are virtually one and the same.” As an avid motocrosser, Hartmann’s affinity for two wheels makes him particularly invested in the health of the greater powersports industry, and it’s why he’s eager to share his experiences and strategies with the AIMExpo audience.

9) AMA Hall Of Fame induction Ceremony. “In recent years, the AMA has strived to shine a brighter spotlight on our heroes and legends through the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony,” says AMA President and CEO Rob Dingman. “In 2014, we brought our celebration to AIMExpo, an event that offers something for every motorcyclist and provides an even more accessible venue for the public to enjoy this world-class ceremony,” he adds. “I’m pleased to announce that we’re returning to AIMExpo this October 17, when we’ll once again honor the Hall of Fame’s newest class in front of both riders and industry.”

10) Malcolm! The 2014 AIMExpo Champion is the legendary dealer/racer/businessman/movie star Malcolm Smith. Perhaps nobody this side of Sochiro Honda did more to put Americans on motorcycles than the collaborative effort of Malcolm Smith, Mert Lawwill, the late Steve McQueen and film maker Bruce Brown in On Any Sunday. However, that seminal movie is just one chapter in the new book, Malcolm! The Autobiography. “I’ve done a lot in my 74 years,” Malcolm says. “I even managed to remember a lot of it despite falling on my head a few times! There’s a lot here,” adds Malcolm. “Ten chapters, more 100,000 words worth of stories, and hundreds of photographs, many of them never seen before.”  Malcolm has done it all and now he is telling all to the AIMExpo audience.

As if the opportunity to hear Malcolm tell stories wasn’t reason enough by itself to attend AIMExpo, we can add another 500+ good reasons — The OEM, Aftermarket and service industry exhibitors who will be on hand! Stay tuned to the AIMExpoUSA.com website and keep up to date at AIMExpo’s social media pages.

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