Indy Update No. 2

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This doesn't mean global warming is now in hyper drive and Indianapolis in February will now feel like a balmy spring day, with warm breezes, blue skies and puffy white clouds. Don't throw away your mittens just yet.

But it does mean the time has come to reduce the amount of printed materials we send to you and your co-workers at the dealership. Last year alone we mailed 132,208 pieces of direct mail to spread the word about Dealer Expo 2008. We like to pride ourselves on our spiffy marketing materials, and quite honestly we think we do a pretty good job most of the time. But we're not kidding ourselves about what happens to them when you're finished reading.

Sure, we hope that you see enough value in the information to pass it along to a friend or colleague; of course, this requires you to remember to do it, and heck, I know how that works for me most of the time. Ultimately most of our lovely direct mail materials end up in the round file, and from there they end up in the local landfill (there are a few more steps in-between, but you get the idea).

And that brings us right back to global warming.

Dealernews magazine, the big sister to Dealer Expo, started "going green" in January 2007 by launching a digital edition of the magazine, and to date it's added and/or converted more than 2,000 dealer subscribers to its monthly e-zine. Additionally, over 600 advertisers have made the leap and are now receiving the digital version of the magazine instead of the print edition. That's a lot of paper and ink saved, not to mention the attendant fuel and power needed to run the printing presses.

Dealer Expo aspires to be just like the older and wiser sister, and will begin producing digital versions (this is called "e-marketing") of our direct mail and marketing messages for the 2009 show. But don't panic; if you still like to consume your reading materials by holding the paper in your own two hands, we're not going to deprive you. Not everyone is ready for this brave new world. Quite honestly, I like the smell of words freshly printed on a page a lot more than most people, so I probably fall in the 50/50 camp of e-marketing and digital materials. But I'm trying, I'm trying.

If you're ready to start saving the planet one direct-mail piece at a time, log on to www.dealerexpo.com/green and read about our efforts. You can fill out a form that will tag your information in our databases so that all future marketing you get from us about Dealer Expo will be in a digital format. If you haven't subscribed to Dealernews magazine's e-zine yet, go to www.dealernews.com and click on "Subscribe-Digital." Digital subscriptions are free for all dealer employees, by the way.

We'll be sending you a series of e-mails inviting you to "Go Green." If you've already done so, please forgive us for filling up your inbox with what is effectively junk mail. Better yet, forward the e-mails to a friend or colleague and encourage them to "Go Green." (If you don't want to receive the show materials via e-mail, just say "No, thanks!")

Remember, beginning in February 2009 the Indiana Convention Center will be under construction to add an additional 254,000 square feet of exhibit space, and 225,000 square feet of meeting and public space. If you didn't get a chance to read my article in the May issue of Dealernews ("Indy Update No. 1"), you can find it on www.dealernews.com.

If you have questions, or would like to discuss this with me directly, I can be reached at tharris@advanstar.com.

Tracy Harris is vice president of the Advanstar Powersports Group, parent of Dealer Expo and Dealernews.