The IMTS Exhibitor Workshop, held Jan. 25-26 at the Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel and Convention Center outside Chicago, proved a huge success with 656 registrants.

Despite the January blizzard, AMT staff and members jumped all kinds of transportation hurdles to prepare and carry out the workshop, which is designed for both IMTS first-timers and veterans to gain the information they need for a successful show experience.

Peter Eelman, AMT Vice President - Exhibitions & Communications, opened the Exhibitor Workshop welcoming everyone and recognizing, “The incredible sense of community that we have been able to create with our exhibitors, customers, vendors, partners and AMT staff.” 

New this year, the IMTS Exhibitor Workshop app allowed attendees and speakers to engage more quickly. Event maps, schedules, and other pertinent information could be found on the app. Exhibitors sent out messages to workshop attendees about booth events.

Attendees came from as far as China to pick up advice, training and inspiration from world-class marketing and trade show experts including:
  • Shep Hyken, chief amazement officer, of Shepard Presentations
  • Steve Miller, gunslinger, The Adventure
  • Mitch Goozé, principal, Customer Manufacturing Group
  • Bill Stainton, Emmy Award-winning TV producer
In addition, six breakout sessions focused on either an operations or marketing track. 

Operation vendors like Ed Zilinskas, executive vice president of business development and partner of LAB Exhibits, detailed the specific steps to select a display house. Bob Ryley and Tom Gilmore of Global Experience Specialists (GES) joined with Derrick Munro and Pamela Patsavas of Freeman to talk about onsite logistics. AMT’s Exhibitions Operations Coordinator Rachelle Muckle and Exhibitions Operations Director Michelle Edmonson demonstrated the newly redesigned IMTS e-Kit, which includes all vendor forms, payment portal and important messages from show management. 

The marketing track included Publisher Travis Egan and Editor Peter Zelinski of Modern Machine Shop magazine who offered advice on how to leverage media and manage advertising opportunities. AMT’s Creative Development and Marketing Manager Monica Haley and Steve Miller conveyed social media best practices. Steve Miller presented the roadmap to a 400 percent R.O.I. using the IMTS 2016 Exhibitor Passport, a registrant list with multiple filters to gain specific, measurable, and achievable results. 

From an energetic Shep Hyken, exhibitors garnered 10 specific tactics to deliver amazing customer service and gain loyal customers who will talk about their great experiences with their friends. “How to Leverage Your Competitive Advantage,” presented by Mitch Goozé, engaged exhibitors to think differently about how to drive the right prospects to their booth.

Lastly, an entertaining Bill Stainton shared his business smarts from 20 years in corporate management with the show biz sparks he gleaned from working with people like Jerry Seinfeld, Ellen DeGeneres and Jay Leno to enlighten the audience about how to identify what matters to gain outstanding results. 

At the conclusion of the presentations, Peter expressed, “The workshop was easily the best ever, and I have been to every one since 1982!”

Gary Jones, Marketing Manager from INDEX Corporation, stated, “I thought that the entire event including the opening reception, guest speakers, the numerous presentations by the AMT staff and partners, as well as the trade show with all of the exhibitors were excellent. Everyone did a great job. Thanks for all you do for all of us!”