By Matt Sonnhalter, Vision Architect
As we are all challenged with navigating our businesses through the realities of COVID-19, we’ve noticed that a number of the trade media have been nimble in responding to the “New Normal.”
We had the opportunity to speak with several publishers in our B2T (business-to-trades) industry to learn how they were adapting to this new environment. The following is part four of our five-part series.
SGC Horizon is a leading diversified media, content, marketing, data and events company serving the residential and commercial design and construction markets. The company has a collection of leading publication brands, including ProBuilder, Pro Remodeler, Building Design+Construction, Products, ProTradeCraft and Construction Equipment.
We spoke with Jeff Elliott, SGC Horizon Regional Sales Director and Principal.
Since 2018, one of SGC Horizon’s key initiatives is ProCONNECT, a series of events that bring leading building industry professionals together with top building product manufacturers for a day-and-a-half of confidential one-on-one meetings to discuss upcoming projects and explore solutions.
ProCONNECT is not just another trade show. ProCONNECT’s unique, one-on-one format and manageable size of up to 100 attendees and sponsors creates just the right environment for truly effective problem solving, high-level networking, and efficient use of attendees’ valuable time.
“ProCONNECT is kind of like ‘speed dating’ between key target audiences of builders and building product manufacturers,” said Elliott. “Since we launched ProCONNECT, our 12 events have produced more than 5,000 one-on-one meetings.”
Connecting Pros Virtually
“When COVID-19 hit, we were in the midst of holding an in-person ProCONNECT event for the multifamily market,” said Elliott. “It was held right when the pandemic was starting, and only three people canceled. We received positive reactions with productive meetings and great leads.”
Once the country started closing down and live events became impossible, SGC Horizon quickly responded to the new normal. “We knew that allowing people to connect virtually and engage in substantive discussions was going to be a valuable service we could provide,” said Elliott.
The company immediately launched Virtual ProCONNECT. “Keeping the health and safety of our audience members and building products customers in mind, we can keep connecting builders and manufacturers in an effort to establish and grow long-lasting partnerships—all from the comfort and safety of their home offices,” said Elliott.
The virtual ProCONNECT format brings traditional event ideas right to a home office. The event opens with an opportunity for attendees to ‘e-meet’ and continues with one-on-one private Zoom breakout meetings to discuss future projects and partnerships. Manufacturers meet with at least 16 builders over what amounts to a total of eight hours over two half-days.
ProCONNECT Produces Tangible Sales Results
ProCONNECT events have proven to be highly efficient for both attendees and sponsor companies.
“At a time when people are finding it impossible to meet in person, ProCONNECT is giving them an opportunity to keep their businesses moving along, said Elliott. “It’s a really good investment, where you can actually measure the marketing ROI and tie it back to orders. The feedback we are getting has been great.”
To read more of the series or more about the effects of COVID-19 in the B2T industry: