Tuesday, August 23, 2011

How the ICBA 2012 Hotel Sold Out Six Months in Advance

As you should know, the Sanibel Harbour Marriott is sold out for the ICBA 2012 Retail Conference in February. February? That's six months from now. How did that happen?

ICBA contracted with the Sanibel Harbour Marriott for 2012 before our 2011 Conference in Las Vegas. ICBA 2011 in Las Vegas set the record for ICBA hotel rooms. In event management there is something called the “Vegas Bump”. No, it's not that dance you saw Steve and Gina doing. It is that when events meet in Las Vegas they experience an unusually high attendance. So was the great attendance in Vegas the bump? Apparently not. Because room reservations for ICBA 2012 are already 6% ahead of our Las Vegas record. ICBA outgrew the Sanibel Marriott.


As soon as we saw the situation unfolding, ICBA alerted stores and vendors to get their hotel reservations, and our stores and vendors responded quickly. ICBA promptly contracted an outstanding overflow hotel, a brand new Marriott Residence Inn only two miles away, with ICBA providing convenient shuttle service between the two hotels.

The value of the ICBA Conference to both stores and vendors continues to grow, and we are not perfect at predicting our growth. The ICBA education program continues to expand and now delivers content for more staff members from each store. For example, middle management, course material managers, and marketing directors. Currently store registration for ICBA 2012 is ahead of 2011.

Each year more vendors realize the value of ICBA Business Encounter and PRIMEtime over conventional trade shows, so our vendor attendance continues to grow. Las Vegas was our record for vendor registration, but currently vendor registration for ICBA 2012 PRIMEtime & Business Encounter is ahead of 2011.

Some locations draw a larger attendance. February is peak season in South Florida, with an average high of 77 degrees :-)  The Sanibel Harbour Marriott is a very popular property. And you can top that off with the ICBA rate of $139 at a hotel that typically charges over $300 a night.

At a time when all other industry events appear to be experiencing a decline in attendance, ICBA is growing.

So what should you do?
Make your reservation TODAY at the Marriott Residence Inn
Reserve by phone: 239.415.4150
ICBA Group Code: icbicba
Be sure to mention "ICBA Group"

And REGISTER FOR ICBA 2012 TODAY!

See you in Florida!

Posted by Stacy Waymire, ICBA Executive Director

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Empowering Success at ICBA 2012

“Any business faces two basic demands: it must execute its current activities to survive today’s challenges and adapt those activities to survive tomorrow's.”
-Eric D. Beinhocker, Author, The Origins of Wealth

This quote sums up the heart of what the ICBA 2012 Retail Conference is all about.

Exceptional performance is inspirational. But complete confidence in knowing that you have the business intelligence to be exceptional is rare. A retail professional who really wants to succeed seeks out the skills to change that rarity into reality. 

What can really change your world? ICBA 2012 not only inspires, but also empowers you to succeed; coaches you and provides you with strong strategies and business connections. ICBA 2012 is priceless – because it’s actionable and empowers change.

You will be empowered through knowledge and networking to create amazing events that deliver real business value – every time.

Whether you learn on your own or by collaborating, have been in the industry for 20 years or for two, ICBA 2012 is an immersion in the college store industry. Expand your personal learning path while being surrounded by the industry’s greatest experts and success stories.  Know that you will have the opportunity to take your career to a level that will surprise your peers, your boss and most importantly you.

Join the best of the best at ICBA 2012, where business is booming, strategy is the order of the day, and ideas for great events are everywhere. It’s time to go beyond inspiration and get into action - so you can perform and deliver events that are exceptional.

Written By Marty Duncan, ICBA Program Manager

Thursday, August 11, 2011

TRU Presents "Your Customers" at ICBA 2012

Expert, Michael Wood, Senior Vice President & Director of Syndicated Research at TRU is to present at ICBA 2012.

Students, Stores & Sales.
What do you really know about selling to your customers?

The new era of marketing is driven by your customer. So...who are they? What do these learners do? What do they believe? What do they buy? What don't they buy? Why? How? How do they communicate? What do you need to know to effectively reach your customers? And to sell to them?

At ICBA 2012 Retail Conference you’ll be relieved to find answers and solutions to numerous questions surrounding your customers. Among many leading presenters at ICBA 2012, Michael Wood from TRU is dedicated to answering such questions.

Michael Wood, Senior Vice President & Director of Syndicate Research at TRU will share his company’s knowledge and research on your students’ purchase preferences. For more than 25 years, TRU has successfully delivered qualitative insights helping support businesses and youth connect. TRU’s research focuses on tweens, teens and twenty-somethings.

Today’s college or university devotes an enormous amount of time and resources teaching students, but not nearly enough when it comes to learning about them. TRU U provides the knowledge and insights today’s institutions of higher learning need about students and prospective students….” (SOURCE: Tru-Insight, http://www.tru-insight.com/)

We encourage you to explore TRU’s website to learn more about their research. And we look forward to seeing you at ICBA 2012 (Sanibel Harbour Marriott in Fort Myers, Florida, from February 6 to 10, 2012).

Michael Wood - Senior Vice President, Director of Syndicated Research
Michael directs TRU's syndicated division, where he is responsible for the TRU Subscription, the ongoing youth intelligence program relied on by more than 150 of the world's leading youth-oriented brands.

Michael presents to and consults with many of TRU's syndicated clients, including: adidas, Coca-cola, Disney, ESPN, Estee Lauder, Frito-Lay, Gap, Hewlett Packard, JC Penney, Kraft, Leo Burnett, Microsoft, MTV, Neutrogena, Nike, Nordstrom, PacSun, Pepsi, Seventeen, and Target. (If they're interested in teens, chances are Michael's talked to them.)

Michael has been widely quoted on teen-marketing issues, appearing in USA Today, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Time, Business Week, Newsweek, Forbes, Fortune, Advertising Age and on CBS, CNN, CNBC, NPR, and countless more publications and electronic media. (If they're interested in teens, chances are they've talked to Michael.)

Prior to joining TRU in 1997, Michael worked in youth-oriented market research at Levi Strauss & Company in Brussels. His return to the U.S. also marked a return to the world of youth marketing.
In between, he worked for the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris. His first job was with the Small Business Administration (SBA) in Washington, DC. (Michael always had a thing for acronyms.)

Michael has a Masters degree in International Marketing from Boston University and a BS degree in Marketing from the University of Alabama.

Stay tuned to ICBA INSIDER for more about ICBA 2012 presenters and topics.

Post Written By Sadja Pals, ICBA Marketing & Membership Manager



Tuesday, August 9, 2011

SEX, RENTALS & THE BOOKSTORE IQ BAR

It is a very interesting time in the college store industry to say the least.  For some college bookstore employees, the changes are invigorating and exciting while others would just as soon climb under a rock.  I'll explain the connections to my title in a minute, but I promise it is not just a shameful attempt to get your attention and it really does have relevance.

So, I had a dream the other night.  Chicken Little was running around...you know the story...promoting the sky is falling, only in THIS dream, he was right. 

As Chicken Little ran in circles proclaiming his vision, a sad looking dog sat on the floor with hunks of plaster falling on his head.  Chicken Little stopped and asked "Well, aren't you going to move? The sky is falling in!" Without lifting his head off the floor the sad faced dog said "No, I didn't buy the sky.  It's just rented and now it's time to be returned."

I can't tell you the psychology behind this dream, although obviously I have textbook rentals on my mind.  Perhaps my subconscious is thinking (worrying?) about the future.

Do you dream about the college store industry?  For me this was a dream, but for some it may be a nightmare where you find yourself waking up screaming in a cold sweat.

So, with a somewhat awkward transition, let's move from dreams to the "sex" in my carefully chosen title since I did promise to deliver substance.  Kno, Inc. recently commissioned a survey of college students that revealed 73% would be willing to give up sex for a year if they don't have to carry around textbooks.

Kno, Inc. is one of many companies who had been working on development of an e-reader but, earlier this year, shifted direction to focus on delivering educational software (Kno Tablet Maker Ditches Hardware for Software). 

So, if there is anyone who may have thought the movement towards e-textbooks is not a future reality, perhaps this somewhat extreme and desperate statement by college students will help to change your mind.  Even Le Targ├Ęt is chasing the college market in print as well as in cyberspace with large tabloid-style back to school promotional mailers and a robust digital communication strategy.  I even received a back to school flyer from Sam's Club competing for the same audience I serve and offering many of the same items!

As everyone knows, Facebook is an established social media giant and they are yet another example of rapidly converging technologies.  Push Pop Press, a technology start up founded by two former Apple employees that helps authors convert traditional books to mobile-friendly formats, was just acquired by Facebook
"Although Facebook isn't planning to start publishing digital books, the ideas and technology behind Push Pop Press will be integrated with Facebook, giving people even richer ways to share their stories. With millions of people publishing to Facebook each day, we think it's going to be a great home for Push Pop Press."Push Pop Press

We all realize how connected today's students are to Facebook and other social media so it will be interesting to see the impact of Push Pop technology on the digital expectations for our student customers.

In my own store, BGSU Bookstore, we launched price comparison and web-competitive pricing strategy using data analytics from software engineered by Verba Software.  Interestingly, when we were designing the implementation last fall, we chose to affiliate with two online rental companies and two internet sellers – Amazon.com and Half.com.  This strategy, we felt, would balance the on lines sales and rental preferences of our students.  Less than a year later, Amazon has announced a rental program connected with the Kindle Reader platform (the reader software, not the device) and Half.com has announced it will be testing rental textbooks. Lastly, rumor has it that Chegg.com will more aggressively be selling books through their distribution network.  So much for the balanced offering we designed last year!

New changes, services, partnerships, and technology options have become the de facto standard in the college store industry.  If you are at all familiar with Apple's Genius Bar concept, the last part of the title may sound familiar and for good reason. McGraw-Hill will test new service collaboration with three college stores this fall. It resembles the Apple concept and will support the McGraw Connect online access products.  The genesis for this project was born out of a chance meeting between Stacy Waymire, ICBA Executive Director and Beth Meijer, McGraw-Hill Executive Director for Developmental Education, at an Ohio Textbook Affordability summit.  And while McGraw-Hill is designing innovative Bookstore partnerships, others have designs of their own for McGraw-Hill.

So where is the "safe harbor", for anyone in the college store industry, who is uncomfortable with all these changes?  How can we keep up and what can we expect to happen next? I don't know if a safe harbor exists, although this does bring to mind a surfing analogy...would you rather ride the wave and coast comfortably into shore or misread the wave and wipeout?


For me personally, I have an ownership interest in an organization that gives me comfort during these challenging times.  As an industry leading organization, ICBA is always on the cutting edge of the next big wave and helps me to ride the wave and avoid the "undertow" (Can you connect the literary reference?).

The stores who are part of ICBA are not only members, they are owners. 

The organization's leadership, ICBA Staff and Board of Directors, takes a different kind of "ownership" very seriously-   guiding member stores in these challenging times.  If anyone tells you they have all the answers, be wary.  Nobody does.  However, the collective genius of the ICBA member stores combined with the professional leadership of the ICBA staff forms a formidable network that is "poised to take on all comers" and is designed to help stores navigate the "challenging waters" in our industry.

A good blog is supposed to be about two-way communication and not just a one-way dialogue by the writer or "sage on a stage" as one of my training colleagues once said.  I hope, in addition to catching your attention with my "sexy" headline, I have also peaked your interest in recent industry developments and maybe even provoked a response on a topic discussed here.  Regardless of how you relate to what I have written, I hope you will offer your comments, reactions, ideas, or maybe share a personal story.  As I always said when I was a training manager, "there are NO dumb questions" and "the answer is here in this (electronic) room."   

Post Written By Jeff Nelson, Director BGSU Bookstore & ICBA President