How the Manifest Conference Doubled Attendance
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Manifest is one of the fastest-growing supply chain conferences, more than doubling attendance within just a couple years. In this episode, host Blythe Brumleve interviews Senior Vice President of Partnerships at Manifest/Connective, Dan Reiss, about what has fueled this explosive growth. He explains how Manifest differentiated itself from other logistics events by focusing on the latest technologies across the entire supply chain, not just freight and logistics operations. By curating innovative startups and creating unique, experiential activations – from puppy lounges to mocktail bars to hair salons – Manifest created a welcoming, engaging environment that keeps attendees coming back year after year.



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Show Transcript

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Blythe Brumleve: 0:05

Welcome into another episode of Everything Is Logistics, a podcast for the thinkers in freight. We are proudly presented by SPI Logistics and I am your host, Blythe Brumleve. I'm happy to welcome in Dan Reiss. He is the Senior Vice President of Partnerships over at Manifest / Connective. It's one of the, I think, the best conference in all of logistics and we are here to talk about the conference and also the sales and marketing behind a big conference like that within our industry and just you know, conferences as a whole. So, Dan, welcome to the show.

Dan Reiss: 0:40

Thanks for having me and I appreciate, like you, you challenged with a warm Florida weather up here to the Northeast.

Blythe Brumleve: 0:46

Oh, it's been such a miserable winter here in Florida because we have something I didn't know that existed it's called a winter El Nino, where literally I would say not literally, definitely almost every day for the past month it has been cloudy.

Dan Reiss: 1:02

And rainy.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:04

Yes, it's, I mean we're in the sunshine state.

Dan Reiss: 1:06

It's below 72.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:09

Oh my God, it froze the other night, so of course you know we got the warnings.

Dan Reiss: 1:12

I mean, it was in the teens over here the past few days, so it's terrible.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:17

It's terrible. I'm already sick of it. I'm ready for it to be over with. But we have another potential freeze that's coming this weekend, so it's big, big news in Florida anytime At least it's already, it starts to freeze.

Dan Reiss: 1:28

Well, at least here in Jersey we can curl up with a nice, warm, good pizza or bagel. Like you know, I can send some down to you.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:35

Oh, I would love a great like New York, New Jersey bagel cream cheese that it's the best in the world. I don't know how you guys do it. It's like you made a deal with the devil because there is no other place like it.

Dan Reiss: 1:46

It was a trade off good bagels, good pizza, bad taxes.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:51

I mean, I guess that tax money has to go somewhere.

Dan Reiss: 1:54

It's government bagel production.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:57

I'm a fan of big government when it comes to that regard, so I think that that's a good trade off Now with Florida. I, you know, maybe we would trade off some things for you know, I guess that's probably another discussion.

Dan Reiss: 2:08

I probably don't want to go down. That's a whole other round hall that we won't be recording.

Blythe Brumleve: 2:12

It's like oh, there are a lot of ways we could go with that conversation. But, dan, you've spent I think I was listening to an interview with you and Trey over on Standing Out on his podcast and you said that you've been in the conference / logistics industry for 14 years. Is that accurate? Yeah, does it seem like that? Well, I mean, has that entire time been in managing conferences or, having had other roles in logistics, how did you sort of find yourself in this position?

Dan Reiss: 2:43

Well, I actually dropped out of college when I was studying business and during a supply chain segment. I thought supply chain was really boring and I ended up dropping out. And here we are. It's amazing how that happens, right.

Blythe Brumleve: 2:53

Full circle Like yes, here is the supply chain is boring.

Dan Reiss: 2:55

I'm going to run a supply chain show instead. I mean my background. I was in the military. I didn't mention you're in Jacksonville. Actually, I served in the Navy on the USS Jacksonville submarine named after your name, state City. We had a signed helmet of the Jaguars in there.

Blythe Brumleve: 3:11

Oh nice, I don't know if that was a good luck charm or not, but Depends on who signed it Right.

Dan Reiss: 3:15

I don't know. But after that I got into hospitality, more at the restaurant, food service side of things. I wanted to find something a bit more nine to five so I could have a social life too, and started just kind of rolling different sales roles, you know, short of term, just trying to see what fits. And I entered a job ad one day for a conference company the company I used to be with and the rest is history. I ended up as a junior. I started as just junior BDR, moving up the ranks. Moving up the ranks I've found that well one. I'm good at sales but also I enjoy this kind of sales. I enjoyed bringing people together, you know, walking into an expo hall on set up day and thinking, wow, like I helped make this happen, I helped bring all these puzzle pieces together. And here we all are. And when Manifest came along, their previous event, which was the Future Logistics Summit, was a marketing partner of mine at my old show. So I called Pam to say congrats and actually I wanted to pitch her on my own conference idea about corporate wellness programs and things like that and she was like, yeah, that's great and all, but actually we want you to join us on Manifest and this crazy adventure, and the rest is history. Now we have puppy lounges, mocktails and good conference food, oh, and free tech.

Blythe Brumleve: 4:34

Yeah, all of those things are equally important, especially to a good show. And I'm curious as to how have you seen conferences evolve since some of your early days versus now. I mean, obviously Manifest is a huge event, a huge spectacle within this space, but how have you seen it slowly creep towards that big spectacle?

Dan Reiss: 4:55

Well, here's the thing Not all of them have evolved. There's a number of conferences and I'm out of respect I'm not going to name drop any of them but there's a number of conferences that just keep on lathering to repeat year over year and it's just a copy-paste of it. And those are the ones that are certainly a bit more Manifest. We always wanted to take some risks. That's just our model. As connective is. We want to push the envelope, we want to be more experiential, we want to rethink how conferences are approached and from the attendee experience to sponsor experience and just push the envelope. I've seen shows evolving in the sense of just new technologies coming into the shows, whether it be on lead capture, whether it be on just their apps, on their show guides just more ways to touch your audience in a way that they'll appreciate by giving them information, connecting with them. We use our smart badges to make it easier instead of just using lead capture devices, for example, the buttons on the badges to make connections happen without having to awkwardly scan someone's badge. I really don't see anyone else doing things like that, because I think the mindset of the attendee is changing too a lot of these events that it's less about. Okay, I'm going to go to a session, I'm going to run to the hall and get a sandwich and try to hide my badge, and it's more that I, as an attendee, want to go and discover new technologies and not just be seen as a commodity, basically. So we try to curate our expo hall to really find those new technologies, bring the players to the space and make it a welcoming environment, being mindful of how many staff badges which some folks aren't happy about. But we also don't want a conference full of salespeople. So it's just being mindful of those ratios and thinking about what is the attendee going to want to experience? Are they going to enjoy this? What's going to make them keep on coming back?

Blythe Brumleve: 6:49

And so when you are so you're joining the manifest team and you were supposed to have your first conference, but obviously COVID kind of threw a wrench in that entire plan so you delayed it an additional year. So your first one was January 2021, I believe.

Dan Reiss: 7:04

When you're selling the idea 2022.

Blythe Brumleve: 7:07

Oh, wow, okay.

Dan Reiss: 7:08

So, wow, 2021 got pushed to January of 22.

Blythe Brumleve: 7:12

Oh, wow, okay. So when you're selling a newer event with newer approaches to how you want to kind of shake things up a little bit, what was that sales process like for trying to get these big businesses on board?

Dan Reiss: 7:28

It was a bit of a fake it until you make it not going to lie. I mean it's because there's a lot of trust and faith. Luckily, both myself and our team, tanzel, pam and Courtney as well we all are known in our respective parts of the industry, so those relationships did help. There's people that we've worked with before like all right, we're going to take a chance with you, other people that just really kind of showing them the vision of we are not just another show about getting a box and plan a point B, faster, better and cheaper. We're about the technology behind that, the whole tech stack in the supply chain. That's really evolving it and people start saying I want to be a part of that. You know DHL supply chain, I want to be a part of that. And so all these companies are coming in and growing with us and word of mouth takes over, because you probably see we don't do a whole lot of advertising. Very organic, very word of mouth, a lot of referrals, and it just speaks for itself that you know year three I've got 305 sponsors. We're completely sold out. We're going another 100,000 square feet larger next year. So it just keep on evolving and growing. A lot of back and forth internally too, on how can we improve this activation, how can we fit more puppies in here? How can we? What can we do to keep on making things better? And that's also why we don't do any onsite sales. I think we're one of the only shows where you can't re-up your booth and sponsor it for next year right there at the show. There's no big floor plan to pick from. We don't start that process till two to four weeks after the event, because my sponsors want the chance to sell they don't want to be sold too and the chance to decompress afterwards, and so they appreciate it. I can focus on customer experience and not on selling and everyone's having a great time. But yeah, the initial process was just straight scrappy. I mean, it was just just gorilla marketing, gorilla sales, just getting in there and just contacting people, getting the referrals, painting the picture and also the listening too. So just selling from hey, buy a booth or buy this or buy that, but what's going to add value for you? How can we evolve the show to make it also what you're seeing in the markets? It's not just our vision, but a collective vision of all of our partners.

Blythe Brumleve: 9:48

What are some of that early feedback that you got, as far as the booth process and building out your booth and the actual event itself? How do you go about getting that kind of feedback and what did that feedback look like?

Dan Reiss: 10:01

I mean I just try to talk to as many people as I can. I'm not too in the weeds on the ops and logistics portion of in terms of the booth build, because that's with our ops team and our contractors, so I don't want to speak out of turn on that. So it's just. I mean we had a contractor we've worked with for a few years. We recently switched for this year to a different contractor, looking to streamline the process and change the thinking internally too, because the number of the other shows that we owned were a bit focused, a very content focused on the sponsor side, whereas manifest in this sector are very product and tech focused or something tangible. So, changing our thought process into okay, how can we make this more of an expo centric show and just finding that balance year over year and it's constantly evolving we realized last year that our materially handling rates were incredibly high and we had to work with our contractors to substantially bring them down and tear them out of it. So that way our sponsors can bring in the booths that they want to bring in, because we have people bringing in million dollar booths. But we want to make it. We don't want our vendors to be a barrier to entry for that.

Blythe Brumleve: 11:15

I imagine that selling into this year is incredibly easy, or easier than it has been in previous years, because you have that organic marketing, you have that reputation kind of built. Is that a safe assumption?

Dan Reiss: 11:28

It is to a degree, but there's always still new ways to improve. There's never going to be enough buyers. I can give you a unicorn that poops out buyers left and right and there's still not going to be enough. We need two unicorns. There's always going to be that. Even though it's a little easier, it's still always a grind. I mean, when I'm selling, I'm always thinking how can we do more? How can we keep on improving? I'm really lucky that I'm well-taken care of here, but my mindset is always that I need to continually earn that, improve that I earn that too. That's just always been my mindset, that I want to improve my worth and my salary. I'm also looking at other shows that I go to and other sponsors, thinking I want that big booth over here. When I was at NRF this week and I went to Manhattan Associates who is a sponsor this year, and I said okay, I want to see you. How can we get your NRF booth or your ProMash booth here the following year Listening to the customer? How can we tweak things? What will it take you to get more of your business units involved or for you to do more with us? What can we control? What can we not control. What can we collaborate on to make this happen?

Blythe Brumleve: 12:44

Are you still a one-man sales team for Manifest or do you have more or more of sales support?

Dan Reiss: 12:49

This year I was. We had someone helping for a short time, but it was 99% me Granted. The overall team helps Pam Tanzel, courtney, jay they're all sending referrals in. I'm just the one hurting all the cats. Next year we do have another person I'm bringing on to help as well, because I also sleep once in a while. We also have someone working with us in Europe to help bring in some more of an international representation. I'm happy to do European calls, but there's only so early that I can start my day.

Blythe Brumleve: 13:25

That's definitely a unique challenge because Manifest is separate from any other logistics event that I've been to, where you really see the entire supply chain under one roof. It's incredibly diverse, with folks from all over the world that you see showing up for logistics. I love talking about that aspect and I love experiencing that aspect because it's so different from any other event. Is that a conscious effort to go after the international community as well as the incumbents with the US market?

Dan Reiss: 13:58

We don't want to be just the incumbents. We never did. We start with the startups. We want to grow with them. The incumbents will follow. They can be a bit of a lawyer for process, but if we just went after the US incumbents, how would we be any different than any other show out there? There's so many startups from countries around the world whether it be from India, from Israel, from Latin markets, from APEC markets that are doing amazing things European markets. We want them here. We want to help showcase that.

Blythe Brumleve: 14:29

Do you have any favorites or interesting companies that are coming from the international markets?

Dan Reiss: 14:36

Who's my favorite child? Where are you taking that? Well, carter is. He's a little easier to deal with right now. He's my favorite currently. I don't have a particular favorite, I could say, also because it's sometimes hard to remember all of them in one shot. There's a few in the sustainability space. I'm excited for to see what's going on in alternative fuels and especially clean marathons Time shipping as well. I'm noticing less on the autonomous vehicle space, because obviously a lot of those companies have had a lot of challenges lately. We only have one of those, for example, this year, but we have more on the EV and alternative fuel side of things coming. I'm seeing a lot of AI, of course. Ai is a new blockchain. It's celebrities naming their kids AI. I don't have any particular favorite international technology. I'm just trying to catch them all like they're Pokemon and just bring them all here.

Blythe Brumleve: 15:32

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Dan Reiss: 17:22

There's enough puppies for everyone. You know what it's. We don't have any IP about any of these. I mean, I go to other shows and I've gotten ideas too, or even ideas on how we can do something that we're already doing better. So it's not like it's any exclusive thing. We're doing that, saying they can't do it. And I appreciate, you know, I appreciate the hustle, I appreciate that people are thinking, oh, we're doing something right and so we're not the ones playing catch up, we're actually the ones leaving the pack and thinking and showing how to do things differently.

Blythe Brumleve: 17:56

Are there any things that are coming up with the 2024 show that are new and that new, you know? Maybe other events will be, you know, copying in the future we don't know yet, but that you're really, you know, proud of.

Dan Reiss: 18:08

I don't know about new in the sense I've never seen before, but new with our spin on them and new for this year. So we have the spa, where this is kind of our take on the chair massages that you see a lot of shows. I personally hate chair massages, that shows. I find them creepy, but that's just me. But everyone else seems to like them. So we have the spa, which is our take on that. It's a whole activation we're building that has those. But they also have the foot leg massager machines or going to be, I think, juices or flavored water. So it's a whole experience, not just sit here in my booth and get a and get a back row. So that's one of the. You know, that's one of the new ideas. The puppies are always exciting one. I'd like to radar is doing the spot to think they'll be a fun one. Another one too and I've seen this here and there, some other shows is the style studio. Originally it was going to be a barber shop but we don't want to do a gendered activation. So the style studio it's a U ship, is sponsoring this one. It's brought with a barber's, stylists and, I believe, manicurists, so men can get a quick shave or shape up. Women can get a whatever you do to your hair in a short period of time. I know we're not doing blowouts because you got to come in all janky in the morning and nobody wants to do that or like mini manicures. So the arcade actually worked with our sponsor on that one. We decided to pivot with them and we're doing a golf simulator and said it's a bit of a crowd pleaser. Oh, another new one too. So we're doing the backyard. So this is an indoor, outdoor activation as well that Sony is sponsoring. So it's kind of the opposite of the arcade. It's going to be in the foyer and partially outside in those rollup garage doors and we're going to rethink how we do this next year when we move to the Venetian. But it's where people do get a bit of a green space in the midst of all the conference chaos. So there'll be some games cornhole giant, jenga, things like that and Sony is also using their AI cameras to help kind of heat map the games while they're being played and show people potential moves and things like that. So it's going to be really interactive. Oh, and we have an ice cream bar, because ice cream why not?

Blythe Brumleve: 20:17

Especially if you're inside and you're in the desert. It'll be cold outside, but few people will. You're not actually going outside until later on, unless you're in the Sony area, which is. Sony is an interesting choice to choose to come to a logistics conference. Do they have a logistics arm?

Dan Reiss: 20:34

Well, remember, it's not just logistics, it's supply chain, all the technologies that are enhancing it. So this is Sony ATRIOS. I keep on saying it, I can't. Whatever Sony ATRIOS they are, they're AI cameras that use metadata to track movements throughout a warehouse and like inventory counts and whatnot. So that's super interesting. They have another division too in Europe also for logistics that we're talking to as well for next year. So yeah, you never know. I mean, hitachi is one of our sponsors, actually a small, small research group within Hitachi. This is actually an exciting one. They're doing a startup kiosk. I mean this is Hitachi, but it's a barely funded group within Hitachi, leveraging kind of crowdsourced weather data to help predict conditions within containers.

Blythe Brumleve: 21:23

Oh, wow.

Dan Reiss: 21:24

So it's almost like like a tagless. So IOT without the T, so you know, tracking visibility 10, moisture control, cetera based on like weather.

Blythe Brumleve: 21:38

That's super interesting, and that's what I love about Manifest is that you can have all of these different companies all under one roof, but then it's also from a you know, a content perspective. You don't feel like you're getting overly sold too. Is that a conscious choice on your behalf?

Dan Reiss: 21:57

I mean we limit the amount of staff tickets that we give each sponsor relative to their investment. We limit how many extra passes they can buy as well which I know other shows do things similar because we really target a higher level audience. Your VP, evp and C-suite from the buy side and a CEO of Fortune 500 doesn't want to walk through an expo hall and be surrounded and charge upon by salespeople. So we want to create that welcoming environment where they want to be in there, and I've been to many shows over the years where the buyers will walk into the hall and they'll flip their badge around because they don't want people to know who they are. And people don't do that here Now. They stay, they have fun, they have parties, they roll around with the puppies, they get their hair done. You know, we want to also break things up a little bit too, so it's not just that monotony of this booth after booth after booth. We consciously try to not sell just booths. We really want people to step up and do more, so we're not just a get-it-all show out there.

Blythe Brumleve: 23:00

I think you know, the first time I spoke to you at the Manifest conference, you mentioned something along the lines of you wanted to make a conference kind of like CES, you know, the Consumer Electronics Show which is, I think, you know, probably is the conference that has the most sort of brand recognition out of all conferences. Maybe I'm curious if there are any other shows like that that you draw inspiration from.

Dan Reiss: 23:25

I mean within our sector you could always look at like NRF, for example, promat, modex more so just for the scale of some of the exhibitors and Promat. This past year, locus Robotics, who's a big sponsor of ours, had an absolutely beautiful booth that spanned over two aisles. It was. It couldn't even be to guess what that cost. So just looking at the grandeur of some of those activations, you see there is what I love to turn Manifest into as we keep growing. You look internationally at Web Summit. Even your shop talks. Just those styles is what we really look at too. Health is another one. We're actually good friends with a team over there that runs health. They're Money 2020. So all those big experiential shows are how we see Manifest for supply chain.

Blythe Brumleve: 24:13

And so, as you're, you know, we're, as the time of recording this, we're, you know, about two or three weeks out, I think about closer to three weeks from the event. What does sort of the day to day look like for you and the Manifest team right now? What are those little things that you're sort of buttoning up?

Dan Reiss: 24:28

I mean, I get up, I have my coffee, I work out, I get the kids to school, I spend half the day watching Netflix, the other half of the day watching Buzzfeed. My job is done. It's a lot of check, recheck, triple check. I'm very anal in the sense of sponsor branding. I try to have my eyes on every piece of signage and a sponsor branding on it. So we just spent the past few days triple checking all the big signs that have all the sponsor logos on them to make sure that this is the right one, this is the right format. We didn't miss anyone, or so, just making sure we didn't. You know, there's no, no one being left out that shouldn't be left out. Looking over renderings for the activations it's a lot of housekeeping right now, a lot of prep for next year too, just setting up. I like to set my campaigns and my CRM up for next year now so I don't have to worry about it later.

Blythe Brumleve: 25:22

I'm super smart.

Dan Reiss: 25:24

It's like I'm self taught HubSpot, which is a blessing and a curse, and so I'm just trying to make my, make my job more efficient, because as we keep growing, there'll be more to manage, so the more I can automate, the more I can make. Efficient will make my job easier. But also just lots of communication with sponsors about are your staff registered? You know, do you ever press release? You know, do you have this, you know that, and what do you need from us? So just, really just it's all housekeeping at this point and I want to make sure that they have a good experience.

Blythe Brumleve: 25:57

I mean, they're definitely. Whatever you guys are advising them as far as the sales and media outreach is concerned, is working, because I cannot wake up in the morning without getting a few emails from folks who are going to manifest, planning on going there, and they want to schedule a meeting and it's it's, it's quite impressive to be able to. I don't do this for any other conference, but last night I spent about three hours, and when we're talking like three weeks before the event, I spent a few hours my own time just filtering through and trying to make my schedule now, just so I can, you know, breathe a little bit, you know? Sigh of relief.

Dan Reiss: 26:32

I mean next year was going to upsell them for your phone number.

Blythe Brumleve: 26:37

There was one person that did call my personal cell phone number. I was like how did you get this number? I don't even know how I don't know how they did it.

Dan Reiss: 26:44

That wasn't us.

Blythe Brumleve: 26:45

No, it wasn't. Yeah, it definitely wasn't, you guys, but they, they went because I went into the app just to make sure that my phone number wasn't in there and it wasn't, and I was like how did this person get my phone number? So they are. They're doing some some pretty hardcore PR outreach.

Dan Reiss: 27:00

So it was, it was very impressive.

Blythe Brumleve: 27:01

That doesn't happen with other shows.

Dan Reiss: 27:02

You can always tell me offline who that is, if I've been reading the writeouts. Don't go stalking your partners.

Blythe Brumleve: 27:08

No, it wasn't that big of a deal, but it was definitely like, ok, I need to start planning this now. It was the ramp up of communications and and. But that's what happens when you have a forty, five hundred people that are going to be there. Like you have to be very efficient with your time and as I'm, as I'm sure you know.

Dan Reiss: 27:24

I mean, I like to overly communicate to because we send out our sponsor newsletters, but then I usually double down on to send out a simple Gmail, like a mail merge, to all my sponsors of just. Hey, you know, we have our third party events website up right now, which is none of you have seen this yet. But the common question at an event is where is the after parties? Well, we made a thing. It's our community events calendar. So any sponsor? Yeah, it's on the app. Oh, perfect.

Blythe Brumleve: 27:53

I'm going to make sure I check that out.

Dan Reiss: 27:54

It's not, we haven't had. We don't have all the events on there yet. They're going to be coming in the next day or week or so. But if a sponsor is hosting an after party or dinner or something like that, they can list it on our thing. We don't charge them for it and you attendees can request an invitation to it. So it's a girl, a little event, right?

Blythe Brumleve: 28:12

That is such a unique thing because, you're right, that is one of those things that we always ask me, grace and I Grace Sharkey, who comes on the show all the time and we have gone to manifest together every single year and we go to a lot of conferences together. We've also, you know, started coordinating our plans of, like, which parties are we going to go to and that event that count, that event bright. Like you know, I guess website is going to be a huge sell for us or a huge help for us to be able to coordinate, you know, which places that we should go, or maybe we should split up and, you know, tag team those together or you know separately, Ain't no party like a Blythe and Sharkey party. We are planning to do some recording there too. So that's another really cool aspect that you guys provide as well is you have a podcast recording booth. You give each podcaster or content creator you know, a set amount of time, and then you also hook us up with, like, people who would actually make a really great guest to come on the show, but you also don't, you know, sort of make us, you know, you know, talk to any of the sponsors, which is really something from a content creator perspective, I really appreciate, because it's it makes my life easier.

Dan Reiss: 29:18

Nobody wants like forced, like sponsored content, even for hours. I mean we sell very. I mean we don't sell a whole lot of like sponsored content, like sponsored sessions, because we don't want to be all sponsored content. And just a random thought and this is going to edit out later, but you know, if you and Sharkey ever do a show together, come on, does your walk on music like Blythe Sharkey?

Blythe Brumleve: 29:43

I'm going to text Grace as soon as this episode is over. With that, I'm going to go to like hey Jen website and then make it say that and then send it to her and she'll probably die.

Dan Reiss: 29:54

That's amazing. All right well, I do want.

Blythe Brumleve: 29:58

I do want to get into a little bit of the marketing side of things. So I know you're in sales, but from a personal aspect, I would love to be able to. I asked you know the guests these set of questions for typically every interview that we do. But I would love to find out. You know you kind of hinted at this earlier, but one of the questions is how do you think about marketing when it comes to you and your company?

Dan Reiss: 30:20

So we we don't do a lot of like screaming our name marketing of, hey, this is manifest, I come sponsor us, we put it in our newsletter or whatnot. It's more organic, focused. We are looking to ramp that up a bit more next year for some marketing support on the outbound side. But I pretty much do all my own marketing, so I'm like army of one over here. I have my own nurture campaigns that I run, my own outbound. I write my own cheesy emails. You guys, any of my sponsors they're dumb but they work. They're unofficial, manifest marketing emails that I send because what do you mean by dumb? Well, I like to. I think it's so important to use your own personality when you're selling. And I like to, I mean I like to have fun, I like to be a little stupid, so I'll throw some gifts in my, in my email, some memes in there, just because why not? And but it it works for me, like that that works. It might not work for somebody else, but that just works for me and people get them and even if they they can't sponsor, they're like I opened your emails. I like getting your emails. Don't take me off the list. So like great, I mean, buy something next time, but great. That's the next progression of it Like thanks for, not thanks for not subscribing, but right. So I think it's just important, just to have fun with it. It's I mean, there's all these different sales techniques that can be done, marketing techniques. At the end of the day, it's to me about a relationship, about and about trust, and that you're going to do right by the customer, and then you also enjoy what you're doing. I sold cars for the longest two months of my life and it was miserable when I was younger, and that's you know. I can't sell a product that I don't have confidence in, and I've had jobs like that too. Where it was hey, sell this $10,000 vacuum cleaner. You know what I'm talking about. That lasted a whole day, not even, but it's. I know we're doing something fun, we're doing something different and we're changing the industry and I'm happy to be a part of it and bringing those customers in here. So I'm just going to have fun while I do it.

Blythe Brumleve: 32:33

And I think it's also Yall's approach to the feedback loop. So I think I was. You know I referenced Trace Show earlier that you had conducted with him about a year ago and you have like a pretty like surveying not just the sponsors but also attendees as well to sort of figure out. You know how do you balance and walk that tightrope.

Dan Reiss: 32:54

Yeah, we do. I mean, most shows do some sort of NPS survey after the show and we really look into it. We want to say, okay, is there something where we really drop the ball on and we need to fix? Hopefully that person would have also reached out to us directly as well too, and you know where we can address it, where we can Are. There also those instances where some people can't be pleased. And that's something that actually Jay, our CEO, taught me In my old company. I used to go through the MPS's and I would personally call all the negative ones from sponsors to say how could we do better? I don't do that anymore. It's very hard to turn a detractor into a promoter and it's kind of like choosing your battle. Sometimes there's a legitimate problem that needs to be addressed Great, we're going to address it. Sometimes they just want to complain and you know what, let's move on to the next one.

Blythe Brumleve: 33:50

All right next marketing question what's your favorite social media platform and why?

Dan Reiss: 33:56

I mean for work LinkedIn, because, also, I don't use any other ones for work. I don't do. I mean I have a personal Instagram and Facebook. I don't use Twitter. I have one that exists. I don't use it. You'll never see me on TikTok, so you know only fans, maybe after this job runs out. But I mean you know I'm trying to get a manifest channel on there. Diversify your income, exactly. I mean, linkedin is great because you can have a bit of fun, and you've probably seen some of the posts I've done on there about, like all the sponsors, like Tang, like 300 companies and they respond with gifts to people, just to have some fun, because, again, that's me. So I think you could find that balance of being professional but having some fun too, and it's important that LinkedIn help you keep your finger on the pulse of what's happening in your industry too, and new happenings as well.

Blythe Brumleve: 34:53

All right, next one what is your favorite SaaS tool that you use every day and can't live without?

Dan Reiss: 34:57

I mean, the only one I actually use is HubSpot.

Blythe Brumleve: 35:00

That's a pretty good one yeah it's, and I use HubSpot.

Dan Reiss: 35:04

The only other tools I really use are we have for data, we use SalesIntel, which is similar to Seenless, and I use Yam from Elmer. That's really my toolbox Nothing fancy.

Blythe Brumleve: 35:17

I think keeping it simple is. A lot of marketers and a lot of sales folks will overwhelm themselves with too many tools and too many data points.

Dan Reiss: 35:24

I've got a really long one.

Blythe Brumleve: 35:26

I was going to say it sounds like, based on your experience or what you've said in this interview, that you really you know you focus on the one-to-one conversations and you use some tools, but you don't let it sort of rule your whole conversational approach.

Dan Reiss: 35:39

I'll use tools to streamline what I'm doing. If I'm going to, you know, I'll send a mail merge. Instead of emailing 3,000 people one by one, I'll send a mail merge. Or I'll use some HubSpot workflows to just people manage. But in terms of AI and analyzing this and that and crystal balls and all that, I'm just going to talk to people. I'll look at your website. Cool, I like what you're doing. Let's have a conversation. I mean, the fancies I get is use chat, gpt sometimes.

Blythe Brumleve: 36:06

That's a pretty good one, all right. What about what is a book or podcast that has changed your perspective or you learned something really cool from it?

Dan Reiss: 36:18

That's a tough one. It's a really tough one. It would not be work related. I actually rarely, if ever, listen to podcasts. Yeah, I tend to kind of disconnect after work. It's important to me. My wife loves to listen to how I built this, for example. I just, you know, I'm going to go watch TV and read a book. I'm more like I read a lot of historical fiction. So, yeah, this whole, this little part might get edited out, because it's don't have anything good to get you to this part of it.

Blythe Brumleve: 36:49

No well, I think that that's actually a really good because obviously supply chain logistics is very it's one of the oldest you know professions or one of the oldest industries in our existence.

Dan Reiss: 37:00

I mean, yeah, it's like it's exactly logistics and prostitution.

Blythe Brumleve: 37:04

That'll be the title of this episode. Well, what's your favorite history book that you read, or maybe history historical moment I?

Dan Reiss: 37:12

really can follow. It's one of my favorite authors. He's written like World Without End, pills of the Earth, really historical epic novels like 12, 1300 pages each. I've read each one of them like three or four times because I enjoy it. I enjoy it with writing, but usually I'm reading like Bon Appetit or like scrolling through a cookbook of what I want to try next, because in my off time I like to cook and bake, like I have sourdough started improving for years. Like in my kitchen and, you know, like garden in the backyard, like that's my, you know, instead of football, I grow peas and tomatoes.

Blythe Brumleve: 37:46

Oh, that's cool, I like that, but there's obviously there's not much. When do you start actually your garden plan?

Dan Reiss: 37:52

I'll probably start after manifest. I'll start growing stuff in the basement, like some seedlings, because I have like grow lants and everything. You know it's weed in the off season than the garden. Of course, jersey. We can do things here now, but then around like may or so, also transferring things outside, depending on like what I planted when this year I'm going to try to grow corn, so I'll start that outside. I do like a lot of melons and different tomatoes, but my kids love it too, because my kids like peas, because they pick them and they eat them.

Blythe Brumleve: 38:23

Oh, that's cool and also teaching them a very important lesson, I think, to you know where your food comes from, and it's waiting something to see it grow.

Dan Reiss: 38:31

That's why we're baking from the petting zoo and like this is where baking comes from, but we also have fruit trees back there too. So, like at the school, just go out the back and like, grab a peach or grab a pear from the backyard, which is awesome.

Blythe Brumleve: 38:43

Well, I mean, I know that you you joked about editing this out, but we won't edit it out. We're going to keep all of this in because I think it's, it's, it's a good symbolism. Well, it's also good symbolism as to how you build relationships as well.

Dan Reiss: 38:56

You plant the seed and you hope to watch it grow, and you hope to nurture it, and so I think that that's all good things and very good qualities of a sales professional, and both take a little bit of bullshit.

Blythe Brumleve: 39:06

Yeah, that's true. All right, Dan, now as we sort of round out the conversation, is there anything about manifest that you think is important to mention that we haven't already talked about?

Dan Reiss: 39:18

I'm sure you've heard already too, but I am super excited about chief joining us on the women's lunch. I mean, I'm just fangirling about that because Lindsay's a rockstar and we're looking to honor to have her, so I'm really excited for that. If you haven't seen the memo yet, but Neo is performing for the after party, so I thought I saw that and I told Grace, but we tried to find the graphic.

Blythe Brumleve: 39:41

We couldn't find it.

Dan Reiss: 39:42

So I'm glad that you mentioned that You'll be there from Rosetta, just like last year for for Nelly. I mean, we know how you roll. So I mean we have more chief supply to officers we've ever had before like more than 40 or 50 on stage already. So it's really just shaping them nicely. All these brands setting delegations now to not just one or two to walk the floor but folks like Pepsi, sitting more than 30 people to come to the show because they love being a part of this. So we're excited for that. I think, just really taking the time to plan your show, to walk the hall, to experience the content. For anyone who hasn't yet, to make sure they download the app and book your tickets, because tickets do go up Friday, like tomorrow. So buy your tickets now, call me for a discount, but and if you want to talk about 2025, I mean, reach out to me, we'll get you on the list. We'll open that up in the early spring.

Blythe Brumleve: 40:37

And you guys are. I think you mentioned earlier that you're going to be at the Venetian next year, which is three years, we have the Venetian. Wow. And so any reason why the move? Because you're probably outgrowing your space.

Dan Reiss: 40:47

Well, there's that, and also Venetian. I mean, it's 100,000 square, 100,000 square, a few more, but also there's more there, like at the venue, in terms of like things to do. You know, caesar's great venue, which is a little removed from things to do.

Blythe Brumleve: 41:04

Yeah, I mean that's definitely a great move. I love Caesar's, that that area, of course but it is a little bit of a challenge sometimes to go to some of the other venues and some of the things in the surrounding area. That the Venetian is one of my my favorite properties in Vegas, so I'm selfishly excited about that.

Dan Reiss: 41:20

I've actually never. In my entire career I've been to Vegas like five times.

Blythe Brumleve: 41:25

Oh, wow, and probably all for, or most of them for manifest.

Dan Reiss: 41:28

I think like three out of five for manifest.

Blythe Brumleve: 41:33

Well, for me it was a very long history of like bachelorette parties that were in Vegas and now I just go for work. So it's, it's a completely different experience, but also a fun different experience.

Dan Reiss: 41:45

And you're. It's now being there as work.

Blythe Brumleve: 41:49

Right, but a really fun kind of work, because I do love Vegas. It is a cross country flight, but it's it's one of those things that it's well worth it. It's one of the few places that, when the plane lands in Vegas, everybody claps, and so it's one of those like unique moments and unique cities.

Dan Reiss: 42:06

So it's a good time over there.

Blythe Brumleve: 42:08

All right, dan. Where can folks you know follow more of your work, follow you, get connected. You know all that good stuff.

Dan Reiss: 42:14

You can follow my only dance. But, just you know, chair the the Manifest Vegas websites as well. You know I'm linked into so just everywhere that we exist, it's all manifest and during up for this year, so I'm sure that you have the link to share on the podcast as well, and I hope we will see a lot more folks who are listening with us in a few weeks in Vegas.

Blythe Brumleve: 42:37

Absolutely Well. Thank you so much for joining us, and I'll I'll see you in a few weeks.

Dan Reiss: 42:41

Sounds good. I'll see you soon.

Blythe Brumleve: 42:45

I hope you enjoyed this episode of Everything is Logistics, a podcast for the thinkers in freight, telling the stories behind how your favorite stuff and people get from point A to B. Subscribe to the show, sign up for our newsletter and follow our socials over at everythingaslogisticscom. And in addition to the podcast, I also wanted to let you all know about another company I operate, and that's Digital Dispatch, where we help you build a better website. Now, a lot of the times, we hand this task of building a new website or refreshing a current one off to a co-worker's child, a neighbor down the street or a stranger around the world, where you probably spend more time explaining the freight industry than it takes to actually build the dang website. Well, that doesn't happen at Digital Dispatch. We've been building online since 2009, but we're also early adopters of AI, automation and other website tactics that help your company to be a central place to pull in all of your social media posts, recruit new employees and give potential customers a glimpse into how you operate your business. Our new website builds start as low as $1,500, along with ongoing website management, maintenance and updates starting at $90 a month, plus some bonus, freight marketing and sales content similar to what you hear on the podcast. You can watch a quick explainer video over on DigitalDispatchio. Just check out the pricing page once you arrive and you can see how we can build your digital ecosystem on a strong foundation. Until then, I hope you enjoyed this episode. I'll see you all real soon and go Jags.

About the Author

Blythe Brumleve
Blythe Brumleve
Creative entrepreneur in freight. Founder of Digital Dispatch and host of Everything is Logistics. Co-Founder at Jax Podcasters Unite. Board member of Transportation Marketing and Sales Association. Freightwaves on-air personality. Annoying Jaguars fan. test

To read more about Blythe, check out her full bio here.