The Electronic Distribution Show & Conference (EDS) can serve as a very effective way to help build or maintain your business.The key is knowing the best practices for the distinct experience. First, understand that EDS is unique in that it’s both a show and a conference. But, it also differs from your average event logistically. EDS is a primarily an appointment-driven event, so it’s important to use that to your advantage by doing a little pre-EDS planning—hopefully you’ve already set up some meetings—so you can get the most out of your experience.
You’re probably already aware that EDS is brought to you by ERA and ECIA and attracts about 4,000 attendees every year. (Be sure to stop by Association Central for additional resources from the associations) Though it was originally organized by a manufacturers group—starting in 1937—it has now expanded to include service providers, distributers, manufacturer’s representatives, industry trades associations, and industry press.
Before you cross the threshold of the booth, restaurant or hotel room, make sure you have established the end goal of the meeting. EDS suggests you be able to ask and answer the following questions: How’s business? What is affecting business in your market area? What are your forecasts for the next year? How can we improve our service?
You should also be prepared to discuss industry trends and environmental factors affecting your business, as well as your business plans, competition information, sales history and problems or opportunities you would like to discuss. Additionally, think carefully about where you would like to meet with other attendees.
Pick Your Poison
The key to a successful EDS show is utilizing all the meeting options available depending on your end goals. The unique part of this show is the focus on relationship building and dialogue. It follows that organizers offer and encourage a myriad of environments, whether it’s a suite or booth or dinner meeting, to suit the purpose and feeling of your individual needs. Keep in mind that a booth or suite meeting might be more appropriate for a strictly business meeting, but breakfast or lunch meetings can provide a more relaxed atmosphere for relationship building. If the meeting goes particularly well, consider inviting the group for cocktails at a later time.
The Follow Up
With some pre-planning and savvy industry knowledge, you’ll meet and speak with people who could be very valuable to your business. EDS is, after all, “where the electronics industry connects.” However, the follow up can be just as important to your business relationship as the meeting itself. Obviously, you’ll want to be diligent about taking notes and business cards, and making sure you’re tracking and flagging any follow up items.
You can also look to improve performance at next year’s show by sending out a survey to people you met with, asking them to gauge how successful the meeting was on their end, how it could have been improved, and inquiring if there is anything left unsaid in the meeting that should have been discussed.
If you follow a few basic guidelines, EDS will be a successful event for you and your company. Remember: Be savvy, be prepared, be ready to make connections.
Filed Under: Rapid prototyping