PPAI Expo- From the Eye of the Tiger (Designer)
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PPAI Expo- From the Eye of the Tiger (Designer)

When Matt and Shannon asked me to go to Vegas with them this year, I wasn’t exactly sure what I was getting myself into. I was pretty hesitant about going, mainly because I didn’t know exactly what I’d be doing and whether it’d be valuable to me. I did say yes to the trip and thought, at least I know Vegas is fun, so there’s that. Now, I’m happy to report that I gained so much valuable knowledge and it had nothing to do with the nightclubs, limos, or flashy casino lights! I want to share my time in Vegas with you through the various stages I experienced:

Stage 1- Pre-Game Time

The whole expo started with a lot of hype. And by hype, I mean a LOT of e-mails that I truthfully didn’t really open. I should have called this stage- Mission: Unsubscribe.  So listen up suppliers: I get how you would think it’s beneficial to e-mail everyone about the show and get them all pumped up, but really, no matter how flashy or gif-y your e-mail was, it went in one ear and out the other since I received so many per day. I think that shows a lot about how much e-mail marketing we receive these days, and truthfully I almost never read any of the ones I receive, even if I’ve signed up for them. So my lesson from stage 1 is: while I understand that e-mail marketing is an effective form of marketing, if done correctly, I think a lot of the messages got completely lost in the storm for a large event like this. There’s got to be a more original way to attract attention… I hope that is utilized in the future.

Stage 2- Social Status

I decided that, before we left Fargo, I wanted the whole world to know what we were up to while we were in Vegas. I had brilliant plans of video blogging our trip and sharing new info with our followers everyday. But then we got there. While I would’ve liked to update more than I did, I was on sensory overload just being there. It was hard to take everything it through my own eyes, let alone trying to capture it on my iPhone camera. At least Shannon kept us somewhat socially relevant by using hashtags at the end of every sentence. Anyway, my stage 2 lesson is: have a plan of attack and schedule early for next year’s social media updates!

Stage 3- Welcome to the Jungle

Day 1 of the expo mainly consisted of classes so I was able to ease into the show by going to those. I went to 3 classes on varying topics and was most intrigued by one about online marketing. I was afraid that, since our industry has been around for so long, this class would be very basic and old school but it actually ended up being very informative. I learned how to do tons more with Google in addition to some social media tips and tricks.  Besides that, I learned about who is doing well online in our industry and who to follow. So the lesson learned in stage 3 is: stay up-to-date and relevant on all things involving the Internet!

Stage 4- Survival of the Fittest

The second and third days were the trade show and it was massive. Not only are there tons of things to look at, but there were also tons of people making their way through, and tons more people trying to get you into their booths. That sounds almost creepy but sometimes it kind of was! Since I’m not in sales and didn’t have any specific customers that I was looking at products for, I was mainly just there to observe. I stayed on the lookout for things that I thought were cool and original and that I would want to share on social media. There were cool things alongside some not so cool things but for a lot of the things that I remember, it was the people presenting them that I remembered the most. Lesson learned in Stage 4 is: don’t be narrow-minded and allow people to tell you about what they are passionate about. That’s how we found the true gems!

Stage 5- Let It All Sink In

So now that it’s been about 2 weeks since we got back from Vegas, I’m trying to remember all of the cool things that we saw there. The problem is, I can’t remember everything and I’m okay with that. The stuff that is still floating around in my brain is the stuff that I think was meant to stay there. Overall though, I gained a lot from going to Vegas, not necessarily in tangible ways but in the form of new ideas and building my creativity.

– Shelby Zach

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