Outboarding Damages Our Industry and Our Association

Posted by Kathleen Schmatz on April 03, 2014

Gary Shapiro, CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) sent me an article that he wrote recently and was published on Twice.com. As I read it, I was once again reminded of just how damaging outboarding is to our trade show – AAPEX – and to all trade shows and the organizations that produce them.

I am very proud of what AAPEX has become over the past few years. AAPEX engages the auto care industry here in North America and many other countries. We bring all of the stakeholders together in one location to celebrate this great industry. I am sharing many of the comments Gary made in his article and taken the liberty to interject the Auto Care Association. I don’t think he will mind.

The Auto Care Association spends tens of millions of dollars each year supporting and promoting our industry. How does the Auto Care Association fund these initiatives? We produce an annual trade show called AAPEX that generates the needed revenue.

But there some who take advantage of the AAPEX venue. These people choose to go to Las Vegas each year during AAPEX and pretend to be a part of the event. They set up in outer hotels, construct displays, show off their products and provide transportation for important clients. They even pretend that they are participating with AAPEX.

Make no mistake – these people are not a part of AAPEX. They are engaging in a practice called “outboarding.”

Outboarding is harmful to us all. While this practice may seem innocuous to many, outboarders unjustly benefit from the energy and excitement derived by the tens of thousands of real participants in AAPEX. The real participants invest in AAPEX and the industry at large.

In addition to the actual damage, there is the issue of fundamental fairness. Why should outboarding companies get a free ride? They unjustly benefit from the show and all of the efforts of our industry.

In his article, Gary provided a list of reasons of why an outboarder should consider becoming a true exhibitor. Here are my top 10, five of which Gary mentioned in his article.

  1. Credibility – Your customers will immediately recognize your support and participation in our industry.
  2. Global reach – More than 11,000 buyers from outside of United States attend AAPEX. AAPEX offers translation services, networking opportunities and other benefits to connect you to potential partners around the world.
  3. Media coverage – AAPEX provides official exhibitors with a list of registered media. AAPEX offers numerous ways for official exhibitors to contact the consumer and trade media that attend AAPEX.
  4. AAPEXShow.com – 24/7, 365 days a year. As an official exhibitor, you have access to year-round promotion through the AAPEX website Official exhibitors can create their very own unique listing with video, product photos, press releases and brands.
  5. AAPEX App – The app gives our industry a directory of suppliers at their finger tips with the option to search by brand, product category or company name. More than 6,000 attendees downloaded the AAPEX app last year.
  6. AAPEX IP Policy – Official exhibitors at AAPEX can take advantage of the Intellectual Property Office at AAPEX. Where attorneys will take your complaints and review your options.
  7. AAPEX New Product Showcase – The number one reason buyers attend shows is to see what is new. Official exhibitors are the only ones that can participate in this showcase. New this year, the buyers will be able to vote on their favorite new products at the show. In addition the New Products Magazine will go out after AAPEX to all registered attendees.
  8. AAPEX Events Guide – More than 20,000 guides are distributed every year at AAPEX. Only official exhibitors are listed in the guide. For folks that prefer a printed directory this tool is a must-have when they leave the show.
  9. Access and networking – As an official exhibitor you will have access to attendee lists. The Auto Care Association offers a variety of resources to members, including the Auto Care Member Center. We offer networking opportunities at the Chairmen’s Reception, FNR, YANG Events and much more.
  10. Auto Care Association staff and the folks at WT Glasgowwill work hard to find a solution that works for your company and its products.
The revenue from AAPEX is reinvested into the auto care industry. Revenue from outboarding is not