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By Carleen Herndon, Vice President of Business Development, MindShare Strategies

Hosting or participating in a special event are great ways to build relationships with key prospects or customers – and it can raise the visibility for your company or organization. It goes without saying, but clearly hosting an event requires a lot of strategic planning and promotion to ensure its success.

Participating in an event, as a sponsor or exhibitor, also requires a lot of work before, during, and after the event. As a full-service marketing firm, one of MindShare Strategies’ capabilities is association and event management. For the past decade, we have managed NASSTRAC (the National Shippers Strategic Transportation Council). Besides managing its day-to-day operations, we planned its Annual Shippers Conference & Transportation Expo.

We literally started planning the next year’s conference, before the current year’s conference was even over. Hosting the conference provided a revenue-generating opportunity and a value-add to its members, along with quality education and networking opportunities. This was achieved by getting top-notch experts as speakers and panelists to discuss transportation and supply chain topics and challenges. Shippers were motivated to attend because of the integrity of the information they could take back to their company and implement a best practice they learned at the conference. The networking piece was achieved with an Expo. Providers of transportation and services set up booths to showcase their company and its state-of-the-art products and services which cultivated conversation and exchanges of needs and solutions. After a three-day conference, information was presented and digested, new business leads and relationships were formed, old relationships were strengthened, and business deals were made!

The work isn’t over just because the conference is. As the host of the conference, there is follow-up. As an attendee, there is follow-up. The good news? The new leads are now warm leads and it’s time to secure the business!