Reconnect at the Back to Business Virtual Meeting
When we first launched Distributor Connect back in 2014, the idea was simple: Gather the top print distributors and suppliers and bring them together, one on one, for meetings designed specifically to generate business. We didn’t know at the time the format would take off, but maybe we should have. This industry, after all, thrives on relationships. It is relationships. And that’s what Distributor Connects were designed for.
That’s one of the many reasons 2020 has been so tough. The coronavirus pandemic has brought in-person interactions, business or otherwise, to a near standstill. Distributors can no longer meet face-to-face with customers. Colleagues can no longer meet up for lunch. There are no trade show networking events where suppliers and distributors can share a drink. Our scheduled Distributor Connect event in Florida has been pushed back. Honestly, we miss everyone. And we know everyone feels the same.
So, after months of deliberation and planning, we decided to take Distributor Connect online. We’re teaming up with our sister brand Promo Marketing (the folks behind the promo industry’s marquee Power Meeting events) to bring together the best of the print and promotional products industries for one can’t-miss event: the Back to Business Virtual Meeting. Over two weeks—Aug. 24-27 and Aug. 31-Sept. 3—we’ll be bringing the Distributor Connect format to a state-of-the-art online platform, holding daily blocks of one-on-one meetings where the industry’s top suppliers and distributors can once again network, engage and discover.We know a virtual event can never truly replace the real deal. A fancy software platform can never replicate networking at a Fort Lauderdale beach. A webcam is a crappy replacement for a handshake. But while we have to wait for those things to return, we don’t have to stay isolated and apart. The Back to Business event is a way to reconnect, to meet new business partners, develop strategic relationships, build your portfolio and discuss new products and ideas. That was always the best part of Distributor Connect events anyway.
“It’s difficult to say just one best part of Power Meetings,” said Wendy Fahle, MAS+, owner of W. M. Martin Advertising Inc. and a previous Power Meeting attendee who’s already registered for the Back to Business event. “The individual 20-minute time slots for project planning and diving in a bit deeper are a great way to build relationships, which is one of the key factors in creating a successful business—relationships! The other part is all the networking in a casual atmosphere. Who doesn’t love business getting done, but in a relaxed way?”
And now more than ever, suppliers and distributors are looking to get business done. Paul Keely, president of King Print & Promo, is also a former Distributor Connect and Power Meeting attendee. He says the supplier relationships he’s developed from previous meetings have helped his business for years, as has the idea-sharing with fellow distributors he’s met at the events. That’s why he signed on again for the Back to Business event.
“COVID has definitely messed up our mojo, primarily because A) many of our customers have been severely restricted and are looking at spending freezes, and B) it's forced us to change the processes that have worked so well for 20-plus years,” Keely said. “[I’m] looking forward to learning how others are coping.”
Here’s what else Back to Business attendees can expect:
- Business Development / Networking – Connections that lead to meaningful business opportunities.
- What’s Selling – Top suppliers from both the print and promo communities will showcase their latest products and trending items.
- Best-in-Class Virtual Platform – Artificial intelligence matchmaking algorithm recommends supplier and distributor connections, so you’ll always be matched with someone who is relevant to you.
- Product Solution Showcase – Interact with products, view videos, request meetings and chat with suppliers and colleagues.
- Continue the Conversation – Supplier content, white papers, case studies and communication tools for all participants available for 30 days post-event.
All that, plus some neat incentives based on the number of meetings attendees take and how engaged they are during the event. You may not be able to join us for an open-bar networking reception, but you can win some cash instead. Not too shabby!