YPN Blog: My First Licensing Expo

Posted by Nick Manzo on October 07, 2016

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The licensing industry is a melting pot filled with diverse professionals, brands, and characters – but also teeming with young talent ready to make their mark on the licensing world. Before these young professionals can make their claim as a true licensing veteran, though, there is one rite of passage any licensing professional must make: attending the annual LIMA Licensing Expo in Las Vegas. Relatively new to the industry, I made my first trip to the massive show this past June and came away with three very important takeaways for any Licensing Expo “Rookie”.

Bring Your Most Comfortable Pair of Shoes
One of the very first things that struck me about the Licensing Expo was the sheer size of the show. Filling the entirety of the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, I quickly realized my feet would need some time to recover from 3 fast-paced days of walking (sometimes running) to and from meetings, studio showcases, and other conference events. My head was spinning at times as I thought about where and when I needed to be next. Making sure I was leaving enough time to get to and from a meeting, figuring out which ballroom I needed to run to next, and planning the quickest route back to our agency’s booth were all daily occurrences. At the end of 3 days, I was mentally and physically exhausted!

Pack A TON of Business Cards
Licensing Expo is the premier event for the licensing industry with all of the major players in attendance, from high-level execs to professional football players. With that, every meeting was a chance to make a valuable connection – armed with a stack of business cards and an open mind, I was thrilled to see how much business we were able to get done in a 3 day span. Not only does the expo floor serve as a great place to meet fellow licensing professionals, but the nightly cocktail events and the Opening Night Party made for exciting networking opportunities as well! As a younger professional in the industry, this was an invaluable perk only available at Licensing Expo.

Be a Sponge
Not yet having accumulated much experience in the licensing industry, I quickly realized Licensing Expo would be a great place to learn and grow as a licensing professional. While the expo serves as a meeting of some of the best minds in the industry, LIMA’s Licensing U. sessions were also a great resource when I had the time to catch one. This year’s keynote was especially thought provoking, covering the topic of new content platforms and how they are forcing the toy, entertainment, and licensing industries to change their thinking about content creation. Finally, it was great to see the innovation and out of the box thinking from this year’s licensing award winners.

Overall, my first Licensing Expo experience was a combination of exhaustion, excitement, and awe. It definitely lived up to the hype, and I truly feel like I’ve checked a box off of my licensing to-do list by successfully making it through. I’m looking forward to attending next May, and anticipate next year’s show to be just as exciting as this year!

Nick Manzo just celebrated one year in licensing as the Account Executive at Seltzer Licensing Group, one of the top brand licensing consulting agencies based in New York City. If you have any questions about this article or licensing, Nick can be reached at nick@seltzerlicensing.com or (212) 244-5548