Rider Dickerson Scores Big with printForum
I just love it when an event shatters my expectations, and printForum 2012 was no exception. I had no idea what to expect from an event put on by a printer that invited clients and prospects to pay $50 each to attend an event that ran from noon to 8 p.m. last Wednesday in downtown Chicago. I figured there would be 100 or so people, and that the breakout sessions would be thinly veiled sales pitches by partner vendors such as GPA and HP.
Well, there’s wrong, and then there’s WRONG. And I was WRONG! Attended by more than 200 creative and marketing professionals, printForum 2012 was the third event hosted by Chicago printer Rider Dickerson.
Inspired by a trip to Dcsoop after having bought an HP Indigo digital press in 2008, Dean Petrulakis, senior vp of business development at Rider Dickerson, had an uphill battle convincing owner and CEO Bill Barta to invest in the kind of serious money it would take to create a branded experience like printForum. But Petrulakis was determined, believing that it would take a long-term commitment to the concept in order to really set Rider Dickerson apart from the hundreds of other printers in the Midwest that have invested in digital technology.
In addition to now owning a world-class branded customer forum and solidifying partnerships with key vendors that help defray the cost of the event, Rider Dickerson has experienced immediate sales results from hosting this printForum. It can point to at least two new customers who had an “aha” moment when they learned about services that they didn’t know the printer offered.
Perhaps even more compelling, though, is that—compared to the event held in 2011—not only did the event have increased attendance, the caliber of attendees also has risen. That means the average attendee was of a more senior level with more buying power and a more significant engagement attitude.
Blogger, author, consultant, coach and all around evangelist for the graphic arts industry, Kelly sold digital printing for 15 years so she understands the challenges, frustrations and pitfalls of building a successful sales practice. Her mission is to help printers of all sizes sell more stuff. Kelly's areas of focus include sales and marketing coaching, enabling clients to find engagement strategies that work for them and mentoring the next generation of sales superstars.
Kelly graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Political Science and, among other notable accomplishments, co-founded the Windy City Rollers, a professional women's roller derby league. She is also the mother of two sets of twins under the age of ten, so she fears nothing.