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Western-English Trade Association Leadership Forum Closes to Accolades

First-timers and long-timers alike proclaim “best conference to attend”

Scottsdale AZ – The Western-English Trade Association’s annual Leadership Forum was held last weekend at the Millennium Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona. Three amazing speakers, a trail ride, a golf tournament, and two nights of games, awards and great music were the highlights of the Forum.

Designed to be a meeting place for high-level networking and continuing education, the 2007 Leadership Forum continued the tradition of hosting speakers who provide potent learning opportunities for all sizes of top management, from one-store retailers to the biggest of manufacturers.

This year the Leadership Forum kicked off with “What it takes to build a winning team,” presented by UA coach Josh Pastner, continued with a crystal-ball view of the future of internet marketing with global new media strategist Rob Norman of WPP Group M, and finished up with “Priceless,” a two-part workshop by Diana LaSalle to better enable you to compete, but on anything but price.

Chris Jacobi, Senior VP for Equine Products for industry leader Farnam, and a first-time Leadership Forum attendee, said, “I thought the presentations were insightful, presented at a very high level, but with practical items you could take back and use right away. The quality of these speakers means I will certainly be back.”

David Sharp, President and COO of Rocky Brands, a $300 million dollar company, said, “With our business, I have the opportunity to attend quite a few of these industry conferences, most offering a similar mix of speakers and high-level networking opportunities. However, the WETA Leadership Forum is the one I really look forward to, I think because it’s so practical… the topics and presentations are such that I can go back to the office and implement a few things right away that will have a positive effect on my business.”

Some of the speaker notes included:

— From Rob Norman’s New Media Presentation: “Old media marketing messages were passive, interruptive, predictable and were built around signposts. New media marketing is interactive, integrative, intentional, and is built around destinations.”

— From Diana LaSalles’s Priceless: “The entire experience with your product affects your profitability… whether you have control over it or not. For example, if getting to your store is difficult due to road conditions, the arrival must be extra-special. If FedEx loses your shipment and ruins a birthday surprise, the customer will be almost as angry with you as with FedEx. Think beyond what you provide to the supporting providers, and think what you can do to either improve or balance out that experience.”

— From Diana LaSalles’s Priceless: “A 5% increase in customer loyalty can increase profitability 35-95%” (presented by Diana, but credit to Reichheld, The Loyalty Effect)

In addition to the presentations, the Leadership Forum offers a once-a-year chance for unsurpassed networking in a relaxed social setting with some of the industry’s most successful leaders, and the AIM Awards, which are presented at a gala event the final evening of the conference.

WETA would like to thank the companies that made such a great Leadership Forum possible with their generous sponsorship: Farnam, Wrangler, Roper Apparel & Footwear, Rocky Mountain Clothing Company, Tack n Togs, WESA, Denver Merchandise Mart, True West Magazine, American Cowboy Magazine, Montana Silversmiths, Saba’s, Chambers Belts, Boot Barn, and Yellow Transportation.

For more information on joining WETA or attending next year’s Leadership Forum, please visit wetaonline.com or call executive director Glenda Chipps at 303-295-2001.

About the Western-English Trade Association

The Western-English Trade Association unites our industry for growth, bringing together not just manufacturers, retailers and sales reps, but also breed and sport associations, publications, trade shows, advertising agencies, and other companies working in the equine and western lifestyle industries. Benefits include health and other insurance discounts, continuing-education tracks for both retail management and customer service, plus shipping discounts and other trade-association advantages, and extraordinary networking and co-operative business opportunities. In addition to member benefits, WETA offers five signature programs:

1. Horselife, the marketing initiative to grow all facets of the equine industry through inviting newcomers.

2. Get Yourself West, the marketing initiative to grow the western lifestyle industry.

3. The annual Leadership Forum is the association’s much-anticipated annual retreat with powerful speakers who inspire and educate; next year it will be held in Baltimore, Maryland.

4. Online continuing-education program for member retailers by noted retailing expert Tom Shay.

5. The All-Industry Marketing Awards (AIM Awards), which recognize the best advertising, marketing, public relations and publishing efforts in the equine and western lifestyle industries.

For more information or to join WETA, please visit http://www.wetaonline.com or call 303-295-2001.


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