Returning to EXPO pays off

Many businesses are taking advantage of Facebook to connect with customers. But you still can’t beat face-to-face interactions with customers, business associates and vendors like the opportunities provided by participating in the Mississippi Business & Technology EXPO April 5 at the Trade Mart in Jackson.

Now in its 28th year, the EXPO has become a valued business reunion for veterans who have been loyal contributors to the EXPO for many years.

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“I’ve been with Tempstaff for 10 years, and I know we have participated every year I’ve been with the company,” said Tempstaff business development manager Penny Danford. “It is a wonderful opportunity for us to network our business. We are able to promote our business and to receive positions that companies were recruiting for. We are a full-service staffing company, so we can assist our clients with any marketing, technological, industrial or clerical positions. Last year we were able to meet with some new clients we weren’t doing business with, and then received business from them.”

An estimated 1,500 people attended the EXPO in 2011, and Danford says about 1,200 of those came by the Tempstaff booth. Tempstaff keeps track by counting how many large Tempstaff bags they give out, with 1,200 given away in 2011.

Danford likes that the EXPO has been changed from two days in January in earlier years to one day in early April this year.

“It just works so well for the one day,” Danford said. “We like the date. April is the perfect time to have it. We have April 5th on our calendar, and are looking forward to the EXPO immensely.”

From speaking with the vendors who attend, the greatest advantage is the networking opportunity EXPO provides for them to meet and greet customers and potential customers, said Tami Jones, advertising director for the Mississippi Business Journal.

“And, of course, another major objective is to gain new customers from the traffic that the EXPO draws,” Jones said. “Participating in the EXPO allows vendors to further brand their company to individuals who may have never heard of them before, not just from Jackson, but from all across the state.”

Becky White, marketing director, Eubank Betts Hirn Wood, PLLC, an accounting company in Jackson, said the 41-year-old firm has been participating in the EXPO for many years.

“The main reason for having a booth at the EXPO year after year is our continuing relationship with the Mississippi Business Journal and the business community,” White said. “Our relationships mean a lot. We feel the importance of this event is not just promoting our business, but being part of an event that promotes other businesses, as well.”

EXPO attendance over the years was impacted from the recession. But last year’s attendance was better than the year before.

“Last year we noticed there were a lot more business people throughout the day, instead of just a big surge at lunchtime,” White said. “And Business after Hours was significantly better attended than the year before.”

Melanie Morgan, senior vice president and director of corporate communications, Trustmark National Bank, said being involved with the EXPO helps showcase what Trustmark has to offer customers, while also showing support for other businesses in the area.

“With Trustmark being headquartered in Jackson, obviously it is important to be involved in events that showcase other businesses in the marketplace,” Morgan said. “It helps those business to know what Trustmark is about and what we have to offer them in services and products to help their business. Likewise, it is helpful for us to know what other businesses here have to offer for customers, as well. I think it is beneficial not only for businesses, but for the public to attend the EXPO to see new trends and new technologies in the market, and learn about businesses in the area they may not be aware of that may be able to provide services, or products that can help them in their individual lives or businesses.”

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