In a Q&A session, Fluency Marketing’s managing director, Gemma Smith looks ahead to the upcoming SportAM conference will be pushing performance with a combination of advanced materials and technology.
Brought to you by Fluency Marketing, SportAM will be held at Holywell Park Conference Centre, on the University of Loughborough campus from 16-17 November. The conference and exhibition will examine the latest advances in design, materials, manufacturing technology and testing in sports applications.
The two-day SportAM event will enable participants to hear from industry experts, academics and teams, network with peers and speak to exhibitors who are showcasing their latest advanced material technologies.
Q) In a nutshell, what are the reasons for holding an event like SportAM? What’s its ethos and aim?
The sporting goods industry is well known for embracing the use of advanced materials. The rapidly developing materials offered by our highly technical industry means that athletes as well as amateurs can continuously strive to exceed performance goals. As an industry, we are interested in what can be achieved through our interest in taking part in sports, and watching our favourite athletes compete. SportAM will bring innovators, manufacturers and suppliers together to discuss what challenges lie ahead, and what we can achieve through the development of new and existing materials.
Q) In terms of the true value for companies exhibiting/attending, can you comment on the event in terms of its predicted attendance, stand space sold, value, features and also how it will perform in the current economic and post-pandemic climate?
This is always a difficult question, now more than ever. But, what I can say is that SportAM will be the third in the Advanced Materials Events Series to run post-pandemic, and so far the feedback has been phenomenal.
The Fluency Team works hard to get the right people in the room at the right time – making sure we understand why every delegate is attending, and what they want to achieve. We want material developers and specifiers to hear from athletes so they can understand the challenges faced, first hand. We want sporting goods manufacturers to hear from material developers about the latest material characteristics that will push performance. And we want athletes to see the industry work hard to make goods that will help them achieve their goals.
Buzz around SportAM is good. We are working closely with the events team at Loughborough University to ensure we have the space required. In addition, the University will be putting together a tour for delegates, which is always a big hit.
Q) What is on the agenda for SportAM and what kinds of materials and manufacturing-related innovations and inside knowledge can visitors expect to see and learn about throughout the event?
As well as the must-see tour that Loughborough University are hosting, we have a wealth of speakers covering material developments, technology, the hot topic of sustainability, and some great case studies from the likes of Torpey Hurleys and REAP Bikes. We are also looking forward to hearing from HEAD Sport who have a lot of experience in composite engineering.
Q) Would you say that Fluency’s long-standing personal partnerships with the industry provide the glue that makes this event a success?
This is certainly are aim. The team works hard to maintain its relationships within the industry, and this pays off. We love the industry we work with and always look to improve on what we offer.
Q) Long journeys and traffic jams, hotel costs, concerns over Covid – are events like SportAM still the right way to learn about cool stuff, generate business and get both SME suppliers and major OEMs to meet?
I am a firm believer in the value of face to face meetings – I wouldn’t be in this business if not. I think relationships are cemented when we get together, smile together, share knowledge and stories. We tried the online game but there is nothing like being in the same room – and the feedback we are receiving so far says the same. I understand that some people are still concerned, and I respect that entirely. We will be waiting to welcome everyone back to our events, whenever they feel ready.
Q) For example, what are your thoughts on ‘virtual’ tradeshows as a means of being the way forward?
We have invested heavily in online trade shows over the past 18 months – our main reason for doing so was to support the industry when it was hard to gain income. However, in reality, I think an online directory is as much use to us for learning about companies.
Q) Finally, just how important is the sports sector for the future of the UK composites industry?
More and more sports manufacturers are switching from metals and wood to composite materials due to their high strength to weight ratio. And as long as we continue to develop these materials, this need will continue. I saw that the Global Sports Composites Market will reach $3.7 Billion by 2026 – that’s a huge figure!