2011 Recap

More than 200 industry leaders convened for the fifth annual Signage and Graphics Summit (SGS) at the Saddlebrook Resort, Tampa, FL, in January 2011 to meet with peers and discuss how to better their bottom lines. The industry’s only event bringing together top executives from the digital-printing, screen-printing, and sign making markets, the Summit helped attendees define trends, share strategies and forge relationships. 

Attendees spent three days in panel discussions and roundtables, with networking in between and, for one afternoon, soaking up the Florida sun while being challenged by a championship-level golf course. Here are just a few of the highlights from SGS 2011:

Of the many sessions on tap, some of the key topics of discussion included the need for signage and graphics suppliers to utilize social media, the integration of quick response (QR) codes, sales force deployment, how color management can drive profits, the future of EMCs, and an overall economic outlook from a professional economist.

• Eric Qualman, professor and author of Socialnomics {Wiley, 2009}, started off the conference with the keynote address and discussed how social media transforms the way we live and do business. He explained how this fundamental shift in how people communicate is changing the relationship between B2B marketers and their target customers. And, he stressed how continuous trial-and-error in social media marketing is the best way to find what works and what doesn't.

• Each year, the SGS attendees have the extraordinary opportunity to participate in a panel discussion with key buyers of signage for some of America's leading brands. The 2011 SGS Buyers' Panel included Harry Steen, Manager of Creative Design, Supervalu; Karen Filips, Director-Ad Production, Bealls; and Charlie Turner, Executive VP-Operations, Clear Channel Outdoor. One topic that all three touched on was that their graphics-producing partners should communicate how the abilities (and even limitations) of their equipment enables opportunities for these companies to save money.

• The closing keynote address was an economic presentation prepared and delivered by economist Brian Beaulieu of the Institute for Trend Research. Beaulieu shared data on U.S. industrial gross production and population migration trends. And, Beaulieu had some advice for wide format PSPs that may be great news for equipment manufacturers such as "borrow and buy all the equipment or competition you can right now because interest rates will likely not be this low for many years." You may purchase and view the full SGS recap, prepared by InfoTrends, here.  

And, of course, there were daily roundtable discussions. Topics included:

1. Business Reorganization Lessons from the Recession
2. Ideas for Corporate Social Responsibility
3. Retaining Your Best Clients
4. The HR Forum: From Recruiting to Benefit Programs
5. Differentiating from Your Competitors
6. Waste Reduction and Efficiency Improvements
7. When the Government is the Customer
8. The Emerging Market for Textiles
9. Evaluating a New Equipment Purchase
10. Forum on Sign Codes and Legislation
11. Decreasing Your Company’s Carbon Footprint
12. Moving Graphics: Wraps, Trucks and More
13. Supply Chain Management
14. How to Target a Potential New Market
15. The M&A Decision: For Those Thinking of Buying
16. The M&A Decision: For Those Thinking of Selling
17. Finding Environmentally Friendly Materials
18. Implementing a Lean Manufacturing Strategy
19. What’s the Prognosis for Screen Printing?
20. Keys to Building Sales
21. Inventory Management Strategies
22. The Pros and Cons of Outsourcing
23. Workflow Management Ideas
24. Niche Marketing Strategies
25. Developing a Succession Plan
26. Which Value-Added Services Do Clients Really Value?
27. Electronic Digital Signage: Threat or Opportunity?
28. Developing Business Growth Plans
29. Establishing an Installation Network
30. Tax Strategies for the Year