The Best of Both Worlds
GRAPH EXPO and PRINT have always taken pride in the events’ robust show floor and education sessions. But, as Kelly Kilga, Vice President of Meetings and Events for NPES (Booth 3255) explains, she saw an opportunity to further integrate the two into a complete learning experience.
“What I saw and experienced over many years is some attendees just consuming the show floor part of the day and not taking part in the learning,” Kilga says. “Or conversely, some people taking part in just the learning.”
To deliver more value and make the most of attendees’ time, PRINT 17 features a refined educational program. The sessions will be shorter - reduced from 90 minutes to 50 minutes. They will focus on the burning topics industry members have expressed the most interest in. And they will also feature direct correlations to the solutions on the show floor, so attendees can leverage their new knowledge in conversations with suppliers.
“The goal is to bring the trade show and the conference closer together, and make sure people find new, innovative ideas everywhere they go,” Kilga says.
In With the New
The first major overhaul was reducing the length of the sessions. Kilga explains that the shorter sessions allow for more information to be consumed in a shorter timeframe. Additionally, she says it allows attendees to fit more sessions on various topics into the schedules.
“The shorter sessions provide a better foundation for people to start asking questions, and then get excited to go on the show floor and learn more,” she says. “It might allow people to attend more sessions without taking up more time.”
Working with industry expert Steven Schnoll, keynote-style speakers were identified who could draw on their industry leadership experience to provide relevant, actionable information to the audience.
These free sessions take place Monday and Tuesday morning, from 8 to 9 am. Monday’s speaker is Tod Szewczyk, VP, Director Emerging Technology and Innovation for Leo Burnett, a leading Chicago-based advertising agency. Schnoll explains that having a top executive in the advertising industry - a top target market for commercial printers - will provide attendees with key insight into what their customers value in a printer partner.
“We’re going to start Monday morning off in a dynamic and dramatic way, with a guy who’s really going to shake the house down,” Schnoll says. “This is a new element for the show. We’ve never had someone who’s coming from the printer’s customer world.”
Tuesday’s Distinguished Leader does have a background in the world of print, but is a great representation of how printers need to embrace the many ways people now consume content. Michael Chase, CMO of St. Joseph Communications, will present “Print in a Digital World 2018 Trend Report.”
“St. Joseph calls itself an omnichannel provider,” Schnoll says. “They do packaging, they do printing, they do mobile, and they do video. They do everything that an organization needs to deliver relevant content.”
According to Thayer Long, President of NPES, the key in developing the topics for the Distinguished Leader Speaker Series, and the full educational program, was to receive input directly from the industry. It was essential for the show organizers to not just rely on what they felt were the important topics to cover, but to get that information directly from attendees.
“We went out into the industry and asked, ‘What do you want? What are you looking for and what’s keeping you up at night?’” Long says. “Being able to engineer a really great learning experience based on that information is why we really feel confident the program we have put together is going to be very relevant to what the industry is looking for.”
Education for Everyone
When developing the educational program, Kilga explains, one of the goals was to provide educational opportunities for everyone in attendance. In addition to the paid sessions, there will be multiple theaters on the show floor that provide free education opportunities. This includes the new Learning Experience Theater (Booth 3861), the Idealliance Solutions Theater (Booth 2067), and The Printerverse Theater, which is hosted by Print Media Centr (Booth 4425).
Each theater will feature its own unique content. Deborah Corn – principal of Print Media Centr, explains the goal for the Printerverse Theater’s sessions is to engage printers in conversations about topics they have expressed a distinct interest in. Print Media Centr’s popular “Print Chat,” a weekly Twitterbased discussion on a variety of print related topics, served as a source of inspiration for the Printerverse Theater’s sessions.
“[Print Chat] is a representation of the community, so I started asking them what they care about,” Corn acknowledges. “I targeted my programming based upon the topics that actual printers wanted to hear about, versus what the industry wants to talk about.”
Beyond the education sessions however, the Printerverse Theater will also host the 6th annual Girls Who Print Day on Tuesday, which celebrates women in the industry. The event, which was founded by industry veteran Mary Beth Smith, will feature a leadership panel of six female leaders in the printing industry. The panel will be broadcast live via an internet stream.
The event will also feature the presentation of the Girlie Award, given annually to a woman who has made a significant impact on the industry.
“Girls Who Print Day is in my booth, but it’s really Mary Beth Smith who is the Girls Who Print person,” Corn says. “Mary Beth Smith started a LinkedIn group called Girls Who Print, and now it has 10,000 global members.”
Much like the conversational sessions in the Printerverse Theater, Kilga explains, the goal for the educational sessions overall is to allow additional opportunities for attendees and suppliers to interact.
“In an industry like this where there’s so much need for change, people need to be connecting,” she says. “I don’t want to see people walk the show floor in the middle of the aisle, look left and right, spend an hour, and then go home and not connect with people.”