Extending brands with live events

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Joe Monahan is group publisher of Meister Media's Fruit & Vegetable Media Group, including American Fruit Grower, American Vegetable Grower and Florida Grower. A Meister employee since 1990, Monahan added the role of director of Xchange events to his responsibilities this year. MB: You've expanded your group with live events over the past five years. How did that happen? Monahan: Our first trade show in 2004, the Indian River Citrus Seminar, grew out of our editorial relationship with the University of Florida's extension services. They wanted to be more proactive educating growers and we wanted to diversify our revenue streams. They provide content, while we sell and manage the trade show. In 2006, we partnered with the University of Florida again to launch the Florida Ag Expo for fruit and vegetable growers. Both shows are marketed under our Florida Grower brand. We also have three awards programs with live events, the Citrus Achievement Award, the Grower Achievement Award and the Apple Grower of the Year Award. The sponsors have a high-profile role at the events and they get additional exposure with the coverage of the event in the magazine and on the Web. This is where in-person events are blending into content as integrated media. MB: How did your Xchange events come about? Monahan: In 2006, we did our first one, the Greenhouse Xchange. We have two different events now and we're about to launch a third. By bringing buyers and sellers together for strategic one-to-one discussions, we provide a high ROI for our customers. We're not only content providers but also we're a conduit between buyers and sellers.
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