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By David Shultz, Vice-President, Operations
The chefs at PromoKitchen hit the nail on the head with “Revivify” as the theme of their party at this year’s PPAI Expo. Revivify, as in “give new life or energy to,” accurately describes what transpired not just at the PK event, but also at the Expo in general.
Trade shows may be routine, even mundane, to veteran road warriors. But for those of us on the development and operations side of the business, events such as the PPAI Expo represent a unique opportunity to experience in person this industry’s inherent energy. We gain a renewed sense of purpose and new insights into the strategic direction of the company.
Revivify! Too bad there isn’t a way to attach a direct dollar value to this trade show benefit. (Controllers would love that!) My best Expo day started with an impromptu pre-breakfast chat with a customer and concluded 19 hours and 200 conversations later immersed in a cordial discussion with one of DC’s competitors. Try making that happen back at the office!
It helps to approach trade shows with purpose. Get advance copies of attendee and exhibitor lists and formulate a plan. Reach out to key people in advance and schedule casual meetings away from the show floor for real conversations. Parlaying trade show time into real benefits happen when you:

  • View the entire week as a creative, in-person brainstorming session with customers,vendors, industry partners and staff.
  • Keep tabs on your competition and get a better feel for what sets you apart.
  • Embrace opportunities to answer purchasing/pricing questions from potential customers.
  • Attend educational seminars as taught by the industry’s best and brightest.
  • Seek volunteer opportunities with industry groups or regional associations.
  • Take advantage of access to industry press and exposure; leverage those tradeshow hashtags and daily newsletter opportunities.
  • Have fun! Some of the most beneficial and enlightening conversations with both longtime associates and new contacts will happen in casual settings away from the show floor.

Thanks to all at the PPAI Expo who stopped by the DC booth, joined us at our Pro Party, participated in the guitar raffle or ran into us in the halls and struck up a great conversation. The DC team has, indeed, come home “revivified.” We look forward to another great year helping distributors and suppliers make the most of technology to streamline their businesses. Thanks to the Expo for getting DistributorCentral’s 2014 started in a high note.