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The Pitch-fest sessions AT 2012 ILCT proved an innovative approach to enlivening the art of networking for affiliate connections, as operators lined up to score new business.
Speed-Meet, as it was formerly called, emerged in recent years as a highly sought after networking venue among operators attending LCT trade show events. As an original concept first introduced to the industry at the LCT Eastern Conference in Uncasville, Conn., in October 2009, the event quickly became popular as it expanded at the 2010 and 2011 ILCT Shows in Las Vegas.
The concept resembles “speed dating” events in which potential dates move from one table to another attempting to convince those sitting at the table that they are the best candidates for dates. In the industry’s version, affiliate managers from large, worldwide networks seek to find new affiliates in an effort to have providers in every city in the world. Smaller companies attempt to convince the networks that they are the best company in their region to provide that affiliate service. This is an opportunity to be in front of companies such as Music Express, EmpireCLS, and Commonwealth Worldwide in a single day without the expense of having to fly to the affiliate headquarters at your own expense to pitch yourself.
Now LCT has taken its networking concept and refined it into a networking game show of sorts. At the 2012 ILCT Show, the Pitch-Fest room was set up with a stage and large projection screen. The emcee, Christian Kolberg, delivered a high-energy introduction of 100 participating operators, as would a game show host. The network affiliate managers were seated directly in front of the stage.
Further back in the room was an audience attending simply to watch the fun or perhaps do a little recruiting of their own. As each featured operators delivered a 45-second commercial about their company, a graphic display was shown containing various facts about the company such as the year founded, number and types of vehicles in the fleet, number of employees, and insurance limits and carrier. There was also a place where the operator could say anything that he or she felt is unique and sets the company apart from other operators in the same region. The display also includes contact information including email addresses, websites and phone numbers for anyone in the audience to take note of as well. Kolberg read everything on the display as each operator emerged from behind a curtain, freeing “contestants” up to offer more information about their companies beyond the vital statistics. Kolberg kept the pace flowing and playfully cut off anyone who exceed the time limit. The information of all presenting affiliates can be found at http://uploads.bobitexpos.com/Transportation/files/LCTShow/Pitch_Fest_Presentation.pdf
LCT found the perfect man to host this session. Kolbert is one of the most prominent professional auctioneers in the country. He helps charity organizations raise millions for their causes with his bold voice, warmth and ad-lib quips, much as you would expect from a game show host such as Pat Sajak from “Wheel of Fortune.” Kolbert has been in the charity auction business for the past 20 years and has worked with the Grammy’s Foundation and President Bill Clinton at fundraising events. His ability to manage a stage and keep things lively has contributed to raising $10 million in a single night. This two-hour event seemed to pass by in minutes as a result of his vibrant presentation style.