Marc Simon Sets the Standard for the PGA Merchandise Show

By Bethany Bradsher, August 9, 2019

“First and foremost is having that strong team and trusting and empowering them to do their jobs,” he says. “You’ll never be able to take care of everything. You really need to be able to multitask and stay even-keeled under pressure. Your team will look to you, so you try to be as steady as you can, to keep cool and be a great listener.”

Simon’s strong belief that people are at the center of a great event affirms the intrinsic value of trade shows in this age of evermore sophisticated technology. Even if the digital age has made business more efficient, there is no substitute for a face-to-face experience, Simon says. But every part of that experience can be optimized by the use of technology.

The growth of the show’s mobile app, which is an example of the PGA show keeping pace with the times, allows visitors to navigate the show floor with efficiency. Displays are more high-tech every year as new products emerge, and the 2019 show featured the inaugural Global Golf Innovation Competition, a “Shark Tank”-style event sponsored by HYPE Sports Innovation.

“There’s so much innovation in golf that the show floor almost naturally becomes a great place to showcase that technology,” Simon says. “We like to say we combine the best of face-to-face and digital.”

Simon and his staff took a week off after the January show, but after that break, they were energized to start planning for next year—identifying trends in the industry, applying customer feedback and devising new experiences to best serve the players on the business side of golf.

The PGA show has even expanded to include racquet sports like tennis, racquetball and pickleball since golf clubs often include those sports as well. Simon calls his show “the global gathering place of the golf industry,” and he is unflagging in his efforts to make sure the sport’s flagship event retains its commitment to excellence and growth.

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