Response Expo 2013 Celebrates a ‘Lucky 7’ With Great Crowds in San Diego10 Apr, 2013 By: Thomas Haire
SAN DIEGO – More than 3,000 direct response industry leaders again flocked to San Diego last week for the seventh annual Response Expo at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront.
Attendees enjoyed top-notch educational sessions, a keynote address by coaching legend Bob Knight, and a variety of networking parties that allowed old friends to reconnect and new business partnerships to be forged.
“Response Expo is better each year,” says attendee Paul Mandel of OMT Financial Services in Knoxville, Tenn. “I came to the first one and have not missed one since. The cost is reasonable, the sessions are on-point, and the presenters are not the ‘same old story.’”
The event kicked off with Knight’s witty but powerful keynote address, where the three-time NCAA national champion and Olympic gold-medal winning basketball coaching legend spoke at length about the “Power of Negative Thinking.” More than 600 attendees packed the Sapphire Ballroom to hear Knight spin stories from a bevy of historic games in his career into absolute gold for business leaders.
“In my coaching career, the word that I felt most strongly about, was the word ‘no,’” Knight said, while riffing on how important it can be to remain even-keeled as a leader. He implored attendees to take more time to consider key moves, rather than just saying “yes” to please all involved, adding, “How long has it been since you would have said ‘no’ that would have enabled you to be better off?”
Greg Sarnow, leader of the Austin, Texas-based Direct Response Academy, says, “This Expo started out with a bang and never stopped until it was over. I was surprised at the many people new to our industry I met at the show. Year after year, Response Expo turns out to be the best show in the industry because of the atmosphere and style of the show, making it easy to have substantial conversations with vendors and marketers alike. I always leave the show with a group of leads that turn into clients.”
Attendees also enjoyed the week’s educational sessions, which drew more than 600 attendees across 10 sessions on Wednesday and Thursday. The seminars covered everything from Ivy League insight into retail assortment from Wharton Professor Dr. Barbara Kahn to tips of the trade from traditional big-name brands like Ameriprise, and the Direct Response Marketing Alliance’s 2012 Marketer of the Year Finalists themselves.
A new addition to the educational events was an April 4 panel made up of a number of the inductees to the brand new Direct Response Hall of Fame (click here for story on Hall of Fame), which celebrated its inaugural induction event on the Expo Hall floor following the panel discussion. Six of the nine inductees were represented at the ceremony, while four – Jim Caldwell, Frank Cannella, Kevin Joseph Lyons and Joe Pedott – shared the wisdom of decades of success with a lucky group of attendees in the panel session.
And it wouldn’t be Response Expo without its unparalleled networking events. This year’s events included even more opportunities to find new business and connect with DR friends while enjoying a cocktail or two, from Monday night’s Kick-Off Party all the way through to the Closing Night Party on Mission Beach at Wave House San Diego, which featured a fantastic performance from hip-hop legend Tone Loc.
“The Closing Night Party was a classic that will be hard to top!” says Mick Rispoli, president and CEO of El Cajon, Calif.-based APG. Sarnow adds, “The events Response Expo created to meet and discuss direct response were top notch, making it easy to meet everyone.”
In addition to providing marketing professionals the opportunity to meet, learn and let their hair down a bit, the Expo once again supported a charity close to its (and the industry’s) heart. “With Response Expo’s help, we were able to raise $2,130,” says Lindsey King of Feeding America San Diego, which provides meals for those in need. According to the organization, this means that Response Expo and its attendees will provide nearly 13,000 meals to those facing hunger in the San Diego area.
For a more comprehensive recap of Response Expo 2013, keep an eye out for our upcoming May print edition of Response Magazine.