DIGITAL digestOctober 2009
Expanded Agenda, New Location for Converge Event
SEWICKLEY, PA—Printing Industries of America's (PIA) Converge Conference continues to evolve in response to the changing market, as printers endeavor to become marketing services/cross-media providers. According to its organizers, the conference is designed for anyone from a new-breed company that is integrating the components of conventional and digital printing, Web technology, automated workflow, personalized and cross-media campaigns, mailing services and more. That focus is reflected in the 2009 event's tag line, "The Next Generation of Print and Communication Services."
Converge itself will run November 8 to 10 at the Hilton Bonnet Creek in Orlando, FL. On Saturday, November 7, a special Leadership Summit will be offered for executives of companies in the process of changing their business model. There will also be a pre-conference seminar offered by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), titled "The Essentials of Direct Marketing."
This year, a special "Business Makeover: Road Map to New Business Development" two-day track is being offered. Peter Winters, president of Winters Group and Associates, will coach participants as they develop a plan to transform their businesses in line with changing customer demands. Sessions will cover the marketing processes for "getting in the door," sales calls with senior marketing officers, how to close deals faster than the industry norm and the salesperson of the future.
Participants are required to attend all track sessions and a pre-conference Webinar, prepare a company dossier in advance and collaborate on exercises during sessions. Executives from companies that successfully added cross-media and other ancillary services will be on hand to share their experiences.
Winters is a 20-year industry veteran whose firm helps printers reduce their dependence on putting ink on paper and instead become "marketing effectiveness and logistics partners with their customers." Having successfully applied his collaborative approach to selling while running his own printing company, he has become a popular speaker and consultant.
In addition to the business development track, attendees can choose from sessions in three other tracks—sales and positioning, workflow automation and new services. There will also be a keynote address on each of the first two days of the conference.
On Sunday, communications expert and author Sue Hershkowitz-Coore will share practical advice on how to perfect the sales conversation regarding new marketing support ideas, including dealing with skepticism from customers stuck in old paradigms.
Hershkowitz-Coore is the author of two top-selling books on selling, the latest titled "How to Say It to Sell It: Key Words, Phrases and Strategies to Build Relationships, Boost Revenue and Beat the Competition!"
Mark Stevens, CEO of management consulting and marketing firm MSCO and a popular journalist/media commentator, will give a keynote address on Monday. He will share tactics to help graphic communications firms become marketing resources for their clients, who the consultant contends often lack good marketing know-how.
Stevens is the author of many books, including "Your Marketing Sucks," which challenges the conventional wisdom about marketing tactics and offers a step-by-step approach to analyzing a company's marketing efforts. His blog, "Unconventional Thinking," was recently ranked among the Top 10 of all marketing-related blogs.
The DMA will present a one-day version of its well-known Direct Marketing Institute, which is a three-day seminar covering the core aspects of direct marketing and offering step-by-step tactics. The abridged version will cover key marketing principles, effective offers, creative development, database marketing and understanding testing, with an emphasis on mail and the Internet.
Networking is an important benefit of conference attendance, so it will again be part of the formal agenda at Converge in the form of a "Peer Exchange" session during which attendees can learn from one another. There will also be an Innovation Fair where sponsors will present their products and services, and be available to answer questions.
The winners of the web2awards, the world's first annual award competition for Websites in the printing industry, will be honored immediately prior to the Sunday night reception in the Innovation Fair. The awards were established earlier this year by PIA to promote excellence in Websites that focus on the sale/exchange of printed material and/or promote a printer's capabilities on the Internet or an intranet.
Converge is presented in partnership with IPA, the Association of Graphic Solutions Providers; Digital Printing Council; DMA; and Printing Impressions magazine. More information is available at www.printing.org/converge or contact Jeanette Tuttle-Hamer at (412) 259-1712; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Along with detailed conference information and online registration, the conference Website features videos by five printing executives who talk about transitioning their companies to becoming marketing support partners for their customers.
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