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October 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.



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