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Exhibitor Commitment, New Marketing Focus Positions AG CONNECT to Break All Records

The curtain rises next week on a much more impressive AG CONNECT Expo & Summit in Kansas City. This third edition of AG CONNECT is poised to break all show records when it opens January 29, an achievement made possible by a much stronger commitment from exhibitors and a new marketing focus that brings together the masters and mavericks from producers and agribusiness.

We set a vision for AG CONNECT to create a unique gathering place for the introduction of new technologies, superb networking, executive interaction with customers, the best education opportunities providing information that is global in perspective and immediately applicable to producers’ operations, and co-locations, all in a highly professional agribusiness environment.

Exhibit space is already at a record 222,655 sq. ft., 45 percent ahead of the 2011 event, and exhibitor numbers are up 40 percent to 382. AG CONNECT registrations are already higher than the 2011 event and we haven’t even opened the doors.

One of the key factors driving attendees to this year’s show has been an increase in co-located industry events. Seven exhibitors will hold dealer meetings during the show, while other companies and organizations will hold a total of more than 30 meetings, annual conventions, forums, training sessions, and receptions, truly making AG CONNECT the gathering place for the industry.

Another reason registrations are up has been the tremendous response and commitment by exhibitors to support the new marketing focus and help spread the word that they will be at the show. In particular, exhibitors have embraced the full range of marketing tools provided by the show, from promotional website opportunities, such as the New Products & Technology Program, to free direct mail materials, including postcards, brochures, flyers and posters.

As a result, exhibitors uploaded more than 170 new products to the New Products & Technologies page and ordered more than 53,000 pieces of direct mail materials to promote the show to their dealers and customers.

Highlighting AG CONNECT’s emphasis on new products are the Gold and Silver awards, a new level of recognition for winners of the AE50 awards presented annually by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE). Beginning this year, ASABE is partnering with AG CONNECT and AEM to honor the “best of the best” from among the products selected for the AE50 awards during the previous two years.

A third factor driving attendance has been the 2013 show theme, which took a more engaging, personal approach with the introduction of “Masters & Mavericks.” Featuring five successful producers, “Masters & Mavericks” publicized their opinions and ideas about the future of agriculture and invited other producers to join in on the conversation.

Quality information and networking among serious, business-oriented farmers, senior executives and product experts remains a cornerstone of the show. The education program has been further bolstered by new sessions and co-located expert seminars and offers a record number of more than 50 sessions.

International participation continues to grow, due in part to a long-term agreement with DLG (German Agricultural Society), the organizer of Agritechnica, to coordinate the timing of dates for that show and AG CONNECT for the convenience of exhibitors and attendees with global business interests.

And while AG CONNECT maintains its global focus, this year’s event lowers the barrier for U.S. producers planning to attend by bringing the show to Kansas City at the center of America’s agricultural heartland.

Overall, “Masters & Mavericks” recorded 40 participants, ranging from producers to agribusiness professionals. Some of these participants will continue their engagement by taking part in panel discussions at the show on Center Stage, presented by Successful Farming magazine.

A final new component of AG CONNECT promotional efforts for 2013 is the use of social media. From Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube, we grew our audience base exponentially, and social media will continue to play a large role in future efforts.

If you’re an exhibitor at AG CONNECT, now is the time to make a final marketing push with your key customers. And, if you’re a producer, if you haven’t already, we encourage you to attend and join us in Kansas City.

If you weren’t able to exhibit this year, we encourage you to contact an AG CONNECT account executive at (800) 867-6060 or to arrange a free tour of the exhibit hall in Kansas City.

The extraordinary effort and commitment by our exhibitors and the AG CONNECT team has taken the exhibition to the next level. The vision all comes together next week in Kansas City. We hope to see you there!

Dennis Slater
AEM President

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