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Rewards & Recognition Expo: Quality Over Quantity

The 2015 Rewards & Recognition Expo recently wrapped up at the Omni Interlocken Resort in Broomfield, CO, April 15-16. Following a dedicated day of education, motivation professionals at more than 40 Exhibit Hall “conversation centers” welcomed a crowd of nearly 200 attendees eager to hear about the newest products and services in the engagement, rewards and recognition universe.

“This is my first year here,” said Kristina Paczkowski, Gift Card Sales Manager at exhibitor Buffalo Wild Wings. “We’re a pretty new gift card program, so there are still a lot of partners out there that we’re not working with, and we thought this would be a really good opportunity to talk with those people one on one. I’ve definitely had good traffic and good conversations…it seems like everybody is really interested in what we have to offer. I like the format of having the private table where people can stop by and chat…it’s been really good.”

Drop Tank, supplier of instant gas discount cards and another first-time exhibitor, found the Expo a great way to make inroads, both with prospective customers and with other exhibitors. “For us it’s not just about the buyers; it’s about the other vendors as far as information, education and prospective partnerships,” explained Marketing & Sales Manager Jason Ketelsen. Drop Tank CEO David VanWiggeren found the conversation center format “very personalized; you can have productive meetings…it was well thought out. For a show of this size it’s remarkably well done.”

Hosted buyers at this year Expo were meticulously making the rounds with their Passports, recording their meetings with exhibitors and learning as much as possible in their 48-hour window. “The exhibitors were really helpful, really informative and helped me differentiate one [product and service] from another,” said attendee Jill Sanborn of Kudos Performance. “They were terrific, very generous with their time and knowledge.”

“The people I’ve spoken too were very high caliber,” noted Karen Suttle, Central Region Sales Manager at Maui Jim, echoing the sentiments of a number of other exhibitors. “I’ve been impressed this year, said Ed Handel, Manager, Corporate Sales & Business Development at Crutchfield. “It’s definitely quality over quantity. The quality of the leads and the quality of the people has been very good.”

“This group of buyers is by far the best – new people that we hadn’t met before,” noted Tom Sferratore, Canon Special Account Sales Rep. “For the last couple of years, across a lot of trade shows, it doesn’t seem like there have been a lot of new people…I think [the R&R Expo] did an excellent job in bringing in more qualified people than we’ve seen in a really long time.”

And how about solid leads, the real reason exhibitors participate in these kinds of events? “It was fantastic,” said Kim Morrison, B2B Sales Administrator at Fat Boy. “We’ve been pleased overall. We’ve gotten a lot of great leads and prospects…a lot of great feedback.” Anne Jetter, Director, Merchant Relations & Channel Marketing at GC Incentives, seconded Morrison’s statement, noting that “The show has been really good. This is the third time we’ve been here, and we had a lot of new contacts and a lot of new business.”

The final word, however, goes to Canon’s Tom Sferratore: “This has been a really, really great show for us…we’re very happy to be here. We were far more productive here, in a day and a half, than at a week of some other major industry shows.”

More details and descriptions of this year’s event will be released over the next few weeks via the EEA portal at www.enterpriseengagement.org

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