Event Information

October 18-20, 2011 ~ InterContinental Hotel
Atlanta, Georgia

INNOVATE. ADVOCATE. FACILITATE. That's the provocative theme of this year's MSPA North America Annual Conference. We hope you will join us and world class experts and scholars for this truly spectacular program. We will explore ways to expand your business, protect it from the dangers lurking around each corner, and improve your clients' perception of your company's value! !

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An Invitation from Marci Bikshorn, Conference Chair

You're in for something different at this year's MSPA North American Annual Conference.

When asked to chair the Annual Conference, I accepted the task on one condition…that we be given the leverage to create an event that will take our membership by surprise, really get them excited and make it obvious that we are on a mission to provide them with a unique experience with every session relevant to today's business environment. I believe we've done it! I am confident that you and your Staff will encounter a power packed and engaging experience in Atlanta…one that you will walk away saying…"That was THE BEST Annual Conference!" Our Conference committee worked diligently over the past few months to compose a sophisticated program of keynote addresses and discussion panels centered on thought-provoking content-rich topics that you deemed most valuable via a survey earlier this year.

The Conference theme, INNOVATE, ADVOCATE, FACILITATE was carefully selected.

INNOVATE with forward thinking practices. ADVOCATE by leveraging knowledge, experience and commitment. FACILITATE delivering strategic solutions to ensure successful outcomes. We sought to provide a theme both timely and timeless, one that could speak to pertinent issues that continue to excite and challenge our teams year after year.

Our speakers are world renowned masters with relentless passion for their areas of expertise and will present critical and truly applicable concepts for you and your staff. Our panels include industry specialists offering members a myriad of viewpoints and pertinent examples.

I am confident as you read through the program you will understand this is one conference that you won't want to miss! It is the perfect venue to educate your team and it really will make a difference in the way you conduct business every single day.

Please, take some time to review what I believe is a strong program and I believe you'll agree that this is a Conference you cannot afford to miss!


Anyone who has ever planned an event like the MSPA North America Annual Conference knows you can't do it right without the generosity of sponsors! We're delighted to acknowledge these wonderful sponsors who are helping make this year's Conference so extraordinary! If your company is interested in sponsorship, contact Suzie Oliver at the MSPA Headquarters office (Phone: 972-406-1104), send her an email to [email protected], or open this PDF about available sponsorship opportunities!


Conference Details

The executives and senior-level staff members of every mystery shopping company must INNOVATE in order to prosper. Attend the Mystery Shopping Providers Association, North America Annual Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, October 18-20, at the InterContinental Buckhead Hotel. We'll help you develop your best forward-thinking practices so you can look ahead to 2012 with anticipation and excitement. During the next few years, the shape of our industry will change dramatically. The only way to keep pace with that change is through innovation. Companies that weather the flurry of business adjustments and the cycle of business expansion and contraction will be those that INNOVATE!

One of the principal reasons for MSPA's formation in 1997 was the need for advocacy for the industry. Legislative and regulatory attacks literally put the mystery shopping industry at risk of disappearing. For that reason, it is appropriate that we join together to ADVOCATE for the industry. Leveraging the knowledge, experience, and commitment of the leaders of the industry, we can and will be the voice of reason in what is sometimes a clatter of noise. In Atlanta, you'll hear from the greatest minds in our business and the finest legal and legislative partners we have encountered about what to expect in terms of governmental intervention and how to position our industry and your company for the best possible outcomes.

Presenting strategic solutions to your clients' challenges require understanding just what the problems are, what the clients need and want, and how changes will bring about the desired results. It is up to you to FACILITATE navigating to glean answers and then executing the right tactics to make things happen. The same holds true for your own business. You must develop and work with your staff to accomplish your company's objectives. Get the winning edge and join us as we discover how to catapult your business forward with reliable solutions for your clients and your staff.

Ready to register online right now?! Just click on this link!

Featured Speakers

Alan Miltz
With over 20 years executive experience in a wide variety of industries, Alan Miltz is a solution focused high level Corporate Executive with impeccable integrity and professional reputation. His executive background ranges from founding director of Inmatrix Pty Ltd., through to most recently, director of Pearl Finance Australia. Alan is highly skilled in identifying deficiencies and potential opportunities, formulating strategy and implementing subsequent innovative and cost-effective solutions. During his career Alan has been involved in every level of company management giving him an incredibly strong grounding in all facets of business operations. Alan is a highly-recognized speaker and a keynote presenter for the Entrepreneurs Organization over the past two years including presentations at their Entrepreneurs' Universities in Tokyo, Berlin and Boston MIT.

Kelly McDonald
Kelly McDonald is a marketing and advertising expert with more than 20 years of global advertising agency experience. Her client experience includes brands such as Toyota, Sherwin- Williams, Kimberly-Clark, Miller / Coors, Harley- Davidson, State Farm Insurance, Mattel, Ace Hardware and Nike. She has been featured in Forbes, BusinessWeek, and Fast Company, as well as on CNNMoney.com, CNBC and Sirius/XM Radio. Her book, "How to Market to People Not Like You," is a bestseller and was named one of the "Top 5 Best Business Books of 2011."

David Margulies
David Margulies is a broadcasting veteran who has worked for both national and local news media. With experience comes perspective and the ability to understand both sides of the issues. As a member of the media, David saw all too often how companies that had done nothing wrong would come under scrutiny. He also witnessed how these companies looked guilty because they did not handle the media scrutiny properly. For over 20 years, David has been training and speaking across the country on media crisis prevention. In addition, he speaks on several other issues that companies have to deal with on a regular basis, including how to reach and exceed goals through strategic public relations.

Jon Gordon
Jon Gordon's best-selling books and talks have inspired readers and audiences around the world. His principles have been put to the test by numerous Fortune 500 companies, school districts, sports teams, hospitals and non-profits. Jon is the author of six best-selling books and he and his tips have been featured on The Today Show and CNN and in numerous magazines and newspapers. His clients include The Atlanta Falcons, Campbell Soup, Wells Fargo, State Farm and JP Morgan Chase. Jon lives in northeast Florida with his wife and two children.

Alan Adler
Alan Adler is a results-driven strategist, award winning marketing/ customer service and organizational consultant, speaker, author, columnist and CRM (Customer Relationship Management) pioneer. With more than 30 years of experience, he brings "fresh eyes," providing solutions to large and small business-to-business, business-to-consumer and not-for-profit organizations. Alan's clients include Party City, AutoTrader.com, JD Powers & Associates, Nabisco and Pfizer.

Additional Featured Speakers

In addition to the professional speakers who bios appear above, the following persons have graciously agreed to share their knowledge with MSPA members. We appreciate these other professionals who will join us in Atlanta to give us the benefit of their expertise. This august group of presenters and panelists includes people with expertise in mystery shopping, mystery shopping technology, search engine optimization, web development and optimization, law, and legislation, among others. We are delighted to present the following reasons to join us in Atlanta!

Aftab Anwar
Startex Marketing
Erik Brooks
Elaine Buxton
Mike Green
Customer Impact, LLC
Joe Hashim
Russ Hollrah
Hollrah Leyden LLC
John Hsu
Mike Mershimer
HS Brands
Tom Mills
HS Brands
Benji Miller
David Rich
ICC/Decision Services
Lynn Saladini
ath Power Consulting
Erin Steinbrugge
The Loud Few
Rich Wilson
Big Scary Cranium
Tom McFeeley
Thomas J. McFeeley Communications

Atlanta: City Lights, Southern Nights

Located at the foothills of the southern Appalachians, the landscape of Atlanta is predominantly characterized by rolling hills and broad, smooth uplands. The capital of Georgia, Atlanta is a world-class, modern city with a rich, passionate history. It is a Brave and Beautiful City with an impressive legacy of leadership, progress and inspiration. Atlanta is known as the cultural center for the state with a vast array of museums, galleries and theatres. Atlanta is known also for its warm and friendly Southern Hospitality.


InterContinental Hotel Buckhead
3315 Peachtree Road, NE
Atlanta, Georgia 30326
877-422-8254 - toll free

The InterContinental Hotel, a shining star in Atlanta's premier community of Buckhead, sets new standards of quality with international flair and southern hospitality. Buckhead is known as "The Beverly Hills of the East" and offers Atlanta's most luxurious shopping, dining and entertainment - all within a short distance from the hotel.

A special rate of $179 (single/double) (plus15% occupancy rate) has been secured for MSPA North America Annual Conference registrants. To receive the special discounted rate, you must identify that you will be attending the MSPA North America Annual Conference. To make your reservations, you may contact the hotel directly by telephone at 404-946-9191 (877-422-8254 toll free in U.S.). The cut-off date for reservations at the guaranteed group rate is Thursday, September 22. Reservations will then be accepted on a space available basis only and the Conference rate cannot be guaranteed. Please note: the conference rate will be honored 3 days prior to and 3 days after the Conference dates, based on availability.

Airport and Transportation Information

The InterContinental Hotel is located 17 miles (approximately 30 minutes) from Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. The Atlanta Airport proudly bears the distinction of being the world's busiest airport and has long served as a valuable hub connecting various cities and countries around the world. Approximately 30 national, international and regional airlines provide service to the Atlanta Airport making air travel convenient and economical for everyone. T.A.A.S. Airport Shuttle provides transportation to and from the Airport and the InterContinental for $20.50 one way and $37 round trip. Taxi service is available at an established rate of $44 for one person; $2 for each additional passenger.

Rates for parking at the InterContinental are as follows: Daily Self-Parking: $8; Daily Valet-Parking: $15; Overnight Self-Parking: $20; Overnight Valet-Parking: $30

MSPA has partnered with American Airlines to provide Conference attendees a 5% discount for the Annual Conference in Atlanta (Valid Dates: October 14-24). To easily access American's fares and apply this discount, go to www.aa.com to book your flight. Place the MSPA Promotion Code 41H1BQ in the promotion code box and the discount will be calculated automatically. This special discount is valid off any applicable published fares listed for American Airlines, American Eagle and American Connection. International originating attendees will need to contact their local reservation number and refer to the Promotion Code. . A service fee will be added to the price of tickets for reservations made by calling the Meeting Services Desk (800-433-1790).


October weather in Atlanta is traditionally very comfortable. The normal high is 72 degrees with a low of 53 degrees. Business casual is appropriate for all meetings including Tuesday evening's Welcome Reception. Attire for the Wednesday evening event at Ten Pin Alley is "bowling chic." Please remember that hotel meeting room temperatures are seldom set at a comfortable level for everyone. You are encouraged to dress appropriately and bring a sweater or jacket in the event you become too cool.

Sponsorship and Exhibit Opportunities

The MSPA NA 2011 Annual Conference and Exhibition offers opportunities for companies to sponsor events and activities. Sponsorship levels that will fit any budget are available with benefits ranging from acknowledgment at the Annual Conference to logo exposure on the MSPA official website. Table top exhibits are also available to MSPA members and non-members. Those interested in participating as a sponsor and/or an exhibitor should contact MSPA headquarters at 972-406-1104 ext. 13 or email Suzie Oliver at [email protected].

STRIKE! Optional Event: Wednesday, October 19 - 300 Atlanta

Conference Program

Tuesday, October 18
12:00 noon - 5:00 pm—Registration
5:00 pm - 8:00 pm—Welcome Reception

The Mystery Shopping Providers Association’s 2011 Annual Conference is designed to provide attendees with opportunities to build connections with leading industry suppliers and member companies from around the globe. The Welcome Reception and Exhibition is the perfect time to meet and network with colleagues, new members and guests! Appetizers and beverages will be served while leading industry suppliers exhibit and present their latest technology enhancements, products and services.


Wednesday, October 19
7:00 am— Registration
7:30 am - 8:40 am— Continental Breakfast
New Member Orientation

Mike Green, Customer Impact
New Members (since September, 2010) and First-Time Conference Attendees are invited to this special breakfast hosted by the MSPA Membership Committee and Board of Directors. Attendees will meet other new members and first-timers and will learn how to optimize MSPA's educational and networking opportunities. Plan to arrive no later than 7:45am - a short welcome and orientation will begin at 8am.

7:30 am - 8:40 am— Continental Breakfast
Visit with Exhibitors

Enjoy beverages and light fare while networking with other Conference registrants and exhibitors.

9:00 am - 9:15 am— Opening General Session
President's Welcome and Open Forum

Lynn Saladini, ath Power Consulting Corporation
MMSPA NA President, Lynn Saladini, will officially welcome registrants and open the 2011 Annual North American Conference.

9:20 am - 10:55 am— General Session/Keynote Speaker
Training Camp: What the Best do Better than Everyone Else
Jon Gordon, The Jon Gordon Companies
Have you ever wondered what makes someone great in their field of work? Based on his work with professional sports teams, world-class organizations, and interviews with top professionals in a wide variety of fields, Jon Gordon discovered that the best of the best share a number of similar characteristics. There is a formula for success. There are habits that the best do that others don't and things that they do better than everyone else. There is a way that the best of the best approach their life and work and craft that differentiates themselves from others. This formula is predictable, repeatable and a process anyone can follow. In this inspirational keynote, Jon shares invaluable wisdom, deep insights and proven strategies on what it takes to bring out the best in yourself and your team. Whether you play sports or the piano or work with numbers, a computer or a scalpel, these lessons apply to everyone who must climb the mountain before reaching its peak.

11:00 am - 12:00 noon pm—General Session
MSPA Global Discussion and Town Hall Meeting

Elaine Buxton, Confero, Inc, Immediate Past President, MSPA NA; Aftab Anwar, Startex Marketing, Founder, MSPA Asia Pacific; Tom Mills, HS Brands, Past President, MSPA NA
Engage in an Open Forum to discuss the current state of MSPA on a global level and the plans for the future of the MSPA world-wide. Members will have an opportunity to spotlight key areas for discussion throughout the Conference (editing, scheduling, IT, accounting, outsourcing, hiring/terminating practices, etc.)

12:15 pm - 1:20 pm— Luncheon
Legislative Issues and Mystery Shopping: What's Next?
Russ Hollrah, Hollrah Leyden LLC

This presentation will provide an overview of the principal federal and state legislative developments during 2011 that could affect mystery shopping as well as the legislative threats and opportunities presented by the election year 2012.

1:30 pm - 3:00 pm—Panel Discussion
The Future of Social Media in Mystery Shopping

David Rich, ICC/Decision Services, Moderator; Benj Miller, Eyespeak; Erin Steinbruegge, The Loud Few; Rich Wilson, Big Scary Cranium
Social media is changing the dynamics of the customer's experience at every level, delivering power that once resided solely in corporate offices to the individual consumer. As these changes in the customer's interaction with business take place, businesses are making adjustments in the ways they view the customer experience and the ways they measure and respond to customers. These changes already have altered the mystery shopping business, but the changes to come will dwarf those we have seen thus far. Using social media to seek mystery shoppers is the tip of the iceberg. Today and tomorrow, mystery shopping will be part of the "big data" discussion about integrating customer experience information, including data extracted through social media, interactions with marketing communications, and innumerable other customer-focused practices. In this session, you will hear from experts who will discuss emerging developments in social media and SEO, as well as practical ways for mystery shopping companies to position themselves both to better serve their clients and better position themselves to get and keep new clients.

3:05 pm - 3:25 pm—Refreshment Break with Exhibitors

3:30 pm - 5:00 pm—General Session
Meeting and Exceeding Your Goals through Strategic Public Relations
David Margulies, The Margulies Communication Group
Positive publicity enhances credibility, gains access to decision makers and is a proven method of building a business. This session will demonstrate cost effective ways to break through the clutter to help your business get the positive attention it deserves.

7:00 pm - 10:00 pm—Optional Event
An Evening at 300 Atlanta

Reservations for this all-inclusive event must be made in advance! See this link for details.


Thursday, October 20
7:30 am Registration

7:30 am - 8:25 am—Special Invitation Breakfast
MSPA NA Benchmarking Survey: Maximizing Value(by invitation only)

Participants in the 2011 MSPA North American Benchmarking Survey will meet over a full breakfast to discuss how to use the results of the survey to maximize their companies' profitability. Plans for the 2012 survey will be discussed, as well, and participants will develop recommendations for changes for the next survey.

7:30 am - 8:25 am—Continental Breakfast
Light fare and networking with other Conference attendees

8:30 am - 9:30 am—General Session
Crisis Prevention in the Internet Age
David Margulies, The Margulies Communication Group
Social media provides new threats and opportunities for the business community. This session will outline specific steps every organization should take to enhance and protect its reputation in social media and demonstrates how controversies migrate from social media to mainstream newspapers, television networks and local broadcasters.

9:35 am - 10:45 am General Session
Antibiotics for Business…Don't Treat Symptoms…Start Practicing Cures
Alan Adler, Alan Adler Associates

This session will cover current and emerging market trends and customer/employee expectations. It will re-define "great" leadership and share suggestions of cultural innovations necessary to survive and prosper in a post-recession market environment. The session will demonstrate how practicing new strategies, like antibiotics for business, can help cure the disease and get rid of the pain caused by the challenging economy!

10:50 am - 12:10 pm—Panel Discussion
Detecting and Responding to Shopper Fraud
Mike Mershimer, HS Brands, Moderator; Erik Brooks, PROPHET; John Hsu, SASSIE; Joe Hashim, Shopmetrics; Representative from U.S. Secret Service – Atlanta Office

The integrity of the industry and the credibility of your business are on the line with every mystery shop your company schedules. When you uncover faked receipts, multiple shopper names all attached to the same physical or email address, or you learn that a shopper did shops in Memphis and Seattle within minutes of one another, you know there are problems. But it gets worse when your clients start wondering whether ANY of your shops are legitimate. In this session, you'll hear a panel talk about how to take advantage of technology to detect and respond to shopper fraud. In addition, we have contacted the Secret Service about getting a panelist from the Atlanta office to serve on the panel to talk about how to make a case against bad shoppers and who might take the case.

12:15 pm - 1:30 pm—MSPA NA Installation Luncheon
The 2010-2011 Board of Directors will be recognized for their dedication and contributions to MSPA NA and the mystery shopping industry. The newly-elected slate of Officers and Board Members will be introduced.

1:45 pm - 3:00 pm—General Session
Reach the Customers You're Not Getting, But Should Be

Kelly McDonald, McDonald Marketing
Diversity is not a fad. It’s here to stay and tapping into new market segments means big business. Learn the seven steps to help grow your sales, profits and build loyalty with new customers. Adapt your products, your services or your marketing messages to reach new markets and learn how to avoid mistakes. You will learn how to cultivate new and diverse customer segments with confidence. Do’s and don’ts are covered in detail. Real life, real world examples–good and bad–will help you understand the successful approach.

3:05 pm - 4:25 pm—General Session
Improve Cash Flow and Grow the Value of Your Business

Alan Miltz, Pearl Finance
Don’t leave the Conference until you’ve learned the financial techniques used by the best global companies to measure performance and eliminate their financial blind spots. The biggest danger in your company is information unknown to you but known to others. What are the feedback mechanisms that the best CEOs deploy to eliminate their blind spots? Alan Miltz will share 20 years research in a dynamic presentation that will change the way you look your company. Alan’s techniques have been implemented by global banks, accounting firms and corporations and are easily understood by those who are responsible for driving change, including non-financial executives.

4:30 pm - 5:00 pm—General Session Wrap-Up
MSPA PR Resource Update

Thomas J. McFeeley, Thomas J. McFeeley Communications
Tom will update members about his public relations efforts for the MSPA (and the mystery shopping industry as a whole), as well as instruct members on the nuts and bolts of public relations. He will instruct members on how to conduct their own public relations activities and campaigns in their regions. Thomas J. McFeeley is a former award winning business and political reporter for The (Stamford, CT) Advocate and Greenwich Time. While there he also authored a weekly humor column that appeared on the L.A. Times Syndicate and in newspapers around the country. In 2001, he began his public relations career as director of communications for a gubernatorial candidate in Connecticut. Since that time he was worked for and on behalf of a global technology firm, a national non-profit charity and a pair of New York City area public relations firms. There he serviced Fortune 500 clients, national franchises as well as mom-and-pop small businesses.

We'll wrap up the 2011 Annual Conference and Exhibition with a quick look at the year ahead!

Registration Fees

The Registration Fee includes registration for the Annual Conference, all materials and scheduled food functions.

MSPA Regular/Association Member (if prepayment option selected with Membership renewal) $Prepaid
MSPA Regular Member, first member from company $695
MSPA Regular Member, each additional registrant $495
MSPA Associate Member $695
MSPA Associate Member, each additional registrant $595
Nonmember Mystery Shopping Provider $795
Each additional Nonmember from same company $695
Nonmember Associate-eligible company (vendor) $1195
Each addition Nonmember Associate-eligible (vendor) from same company $1095
Guest for Tuesday Reception/Thursday Luncheon $150
Additional fees for all registrations received after September 27, 2011 $150

Online Registration

To register online, simply click on this link.