The National Association of Trailer Manufacturers (NATM) was looking for more effective processes to connect manufacturers and suppliers whom would benefit from meeting one another at their annual convention and trade show. While the NATM hosts a variety of events they were focused on enhancing the face-to-face networking and wanted a turn-key solution that provided targeted meetings in a structured environment to ensure a ROI for the attendees.
Marketing – Participants were unfamiliar with this type of program and the client needed to create engaging to content to drive interest.
Buyer No-shows – With all buyer/seller events, there is a challenge or fear of buyers not attending the event.
Multiple People from the Same Company – The client enabled multiple people from the same company to attend the event, which adds another matching challenge. They did not want participants to meet multiple people from the same company and they did not want participants from the same company, meeting with the same participants.
Disproportionate # of Buyers & Suppliers – There were almost twice as many suppliers registered for the event, which presented a challenge to provide a fair amount of meetings for suppliers.
How To Effectively Match Attendees – The client needed assistance determining the best way to ensure buyers were connected with relevant, qualified suppliers.
Marketing - We worked with the client to create compelling marketing content, videos and pictures on the registration site, as well as targeted emails to entire participants to register for the session. Additionally, auto-responder emails and other follow up messages were delivered to reinforce their choice in attending the event.
Buyer No- Shows - We encourage all of our clients to provide incentives that encourage buyers to attend the event. Often times these are door prizes (cash, giveaways, etc.) or intangible items such as VIP tickets or access to other limited events. NATM raffled off a $1,000 prize for one buyer at the completion of the SpeedNetworking session.
Multiple People from the Same Company – A few of the buyers sent multiple people from the same company, which could prove challenging if they met the same suppliers. Our program ensures that participants from the same company, do not meet with the same people. The focus is on new connections, which provides a better experience for buyers, as well as suppliers.
Disproportionate # of Buyers & Suppliers – Our program is built to provided the best possible matches, as well as the fairest possible matches. This event had 21 buyers and 35 suppliers, which means that each supplier was guaranteed to have at least 5 meetings with a buyer. The suppliers simply connected with other suppliers in a peer-to-peer capacity during rounds in which they did not have a meeting with a buyer.
Matching Parameters - We implemented customized matching criteria (Parameters) that enabled the buyers to indicate which types of suppliers they wanted to meet, based on customized categories. This ensures that buyers are meeting with relevant suppliers. On the flipside, suppliers are meeting with buyers that have expressed an interest in their particular area of expertise.
· 56 participants (35 suppliers & 21 buyers) x 8 rounds = 168 targeted meetings in 60 minutes
· 100% of survey participants indicated they would take part in another Speed Networking event
· 100% of survey participants said the Speed Networking registration process was good or outstanding
· 88% of survey participants said they their connections were “Outstanding” or “Good”
· 69% of survey participants said they will follow-up with half or more of their meetings (**Note – 100% of participants indicated that they will follow-up with at least one of their new connections)
"The NATM Convention is in its’ 29th year. To keep up with the needs of our members, which are trailer manufacturers and suppliers, we offer opportunities for networking and business improvement. This year, we offered “Speed Networking” at our annual Convention in Las Vegas, and the response was outstanding. Trailer Manufacturers were able to meet briefly with up to eight suppliers (of their choosing) within an hour, in one location. The event allowed both manufacturers and suppliers the chance to connect briefly and set up future meetings if necessary. Speed Networking is a time saver, and a great communication tool for our members. We plan to host the event again in 2017 at our Orlando, Florida convention."
Pam O'Tool Trusdale / Executive Director / NATM
“Great chance to meet potential customer and talk on on one. Hope this happens again…”
“As a new member, but experienced participant in trade shows from both a vendor perspective and buyers point of view, I thought it was excellent. The vendors who have responded to me first after the show have all been from the [Speed Networking] event.”