commonsku sessions: Reflections on the 4-City Tour to Double the Size of the Industry


It was a tiny idea that grew into a colossal vision: 

What if we created a sales conference that focused on doubling the size of the industry?

 Each year, most of us in the business look at the marginal annual industry growth at $24 billion and only see within the limits of that spend, we ask, “How much of that pie can I get?”But we’re asking the wrong question.According to Ad Age, media spending forecasted for 2019 in the U.S. alone is $210 billion and worldwide media spending is forecasted to be around $563 billion. The “industry” is $24 billion but the market is exponentially bigger. 

Clearly, we are thinking too small.

 So we created a 4-city tour of LA, NYC, Chicago, and Dallas and shared with max-capacity crowds in each market (around 350 industry sales professionals in total) that we were not interested in helping distributors steal more revenue from each other, rather, we wanted to challenge them to think bigger, beyond limited market share, into exponential market share, we want to grow the pie.     
Starting with this concept, we built a curriculum around this passion. We included classes like The Floodgates: Create a Never-Ending Pipeline of New Business, How to Double Sales Without Adding a Single New Customer, How to Enchant Your Customers Through the Power of Story, Appealing to the Modern Buyer: How Engagement Commerce Ignites Sales Growth, and Psychology of Sales: Learn the Secret Weapon to Connect, Relate, and Increase Sales.
We hosted panels that included some of the most seasoned pros sharing their stories and insider tips and during the panel session, even called on members of the audience to share their stories as well.
And for our team, we also learned some surprising and significant lessons about this business that we love, lessons applicable to us all:

1. There's an Insane and Intense Optimism Brewing

 The optimism in the industry is off the charts compared to any other time in industry history and that's more than a response to a strong economy. Professionals are proud of the work they do and there is a voracious hunger for pros in the business who want to up their game by thinking beyond the typical promo transaction. These professionals challenged us with their questions, their professionalism, and they fired us up with their energy and their response to the content we shared. 

2. The New Crew Will Break the Barrier

 We met a lot of folks that were brand new to the business. Those entering the industry now bring with themselves an innate and powerful vision of what can be if we dream big enough. They've entered the industry at a time when the respectability of swag has never been higher and they experience this in their personal lives and bridge this into their work. They are more creative, more innovative, and more determined than we give them credit for and they challenge us pros to push conventional boundaries and not settle for just a small part of the pie. These folks will take the industry beyond what we ever dreamed. 

3. Purpose-Driven Promotions Build Purpose-Driven Lives

 We learned mostly that when we ignite the imagination of what our medium can do, and when we look beyond the limits of "industry spend" and work toward a bigger pie, we build passion into our work. We heard it from session attendees over and over, "you helped bring a purpose and a vision to what I do." Thank you to our friends at alphabroder who not only sponsored sessions but joined us on this mission and this journey.Lastly, we couldn't be more proud of this community we serve, we're honored to be a part of it and we will remain vigilant to push each of us beyond our limits so that we can keep our eyes fixed on exponential growth that exceeds our wild expectations! On behalf of the entire commonsku sessions team -Aly, Kate, Sam, Bobby, Mark, and Catherine- thank you for joining us on this whirlwind tour and for igniting our hearts as well! 

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