CGX emerge Conference : New Standard for EventsAugust 2011 By Erik Cagle
Consolidated Graphics (CGX) is setting the bar so high—and annoying fellow printers in the process—it's making it hard for others to host any kind of educational event for clients. Not that the Houston-based giant needs the approval of industry colleagues when it plans its annual emerge conference. It's just that the run-of-the-mill customer open house pales in comparison.
On the other hand, if CGX continues to conduct its can-you-top-this educational and fraternal expo (the most recent of which was held May 17-20 in Dallas), it may run out of ideas. Just not anytime soon.
This year's extravaganza boasted nearly 1,000 attendees—CGX finally had to cap its guest list, notes Aaron Grohs, executive vice president of sales and marketing. There was no curtailing of the excitement sparked by CGX's roster of keynote speakers, educational seminars and supplier partners, not to mention a party at Cowboys Stadium (how 'bout them sheetfed printers!) and a printing awards competition aimed at clients.
CGX Chairman and CEO Joe Davis spared no expense in adding class to the event while raising the company's brand awareness. One of the most enduring images is the waterfall at the Dallas Hyatt Regency wrapped in event graphics, a massive nine-hour undertaking that scored points with all attendees.
Grohs' boundless enthusiasm for the latest CGX event is further heightened by the expressions of gratitude he has received from attendees. "Two customers walked up to me at the event, took me by the hands and said they wanted to congratulate me and CGX on an unbelievable experience," Grohs enthuses. "They said that they go to a lot of industry events. But, when they're at emerge, they feel like part of the CGX family."
That clients came away feeling like they belonged is a happy offshoot of the event, and speaks to the warmth and friendliness generated by the printer and its vendors. That emerge didn't come off feeling like an infomercial for CGX was no accident; building relationships beyond the customer/vendor level has been an active ingredient in CGX's 21st century marketing campaign.
The event featured 70 industry experts representing 45 suppliers, from HP to Kodak and Getty Images. According to Grohs, the suppliers showcased a wide cross-section of technologies beyond just the paper and equipment arenas. Again, the thrust of the event was to provide education as opposed to making it a CGX selling expo.