2013 ISA Convention Wrap-Up

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I just got back from San Diego and the ISA Convention. For those not familiar, ISA is an association that consists of both manufacturers and distributors that sell into the industrial markets.

That market has had some tough times of recent years, but they seem to be bouncing back. But attendance didn’t reflect it. The manufacturers outnumbered the distributors 15 to 1. It’s a bad sign the first day of a show when you can throw a bowling ball down the aisle and not hit anyone.

What’s impressed me over the past several years is that they are not doing the same old same old. They try different things to get and keep the distributors and manufacturers engaged. But to have engagement, you need folks to engage. The manufacturers certainly showed up, but they can’t talk to themselves. What if we went back to having distributors in the booth?

With all the trade shows and meetings we all go to, it becomes difficult to sometimes justify the ROI on an event like this. Hats off to the ISA for at least trying. I don’t have the answer, but if this is a sign of what’s to come, the ISA won’t be around for long.

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  1. Eric Pfeiffer

    FYI, the manufacturer to distributor ratio wasn’t quite that bad! It was more like 3:1 or, worst case, 4:1. Still not optimal, but not terrible. For those who worked FastMatch, as Hyde Industrial Blade Solutions did, we were busy and had many great and productive meetings!

    • tradesmeninsights

      glad to hear you had a good show. Most of the manufacturers I talked to were expressing concern of lack of distributors and their participation in FastTrack.They worked the phones and emails and had limites success with setting appts. Thanks for the comments. John

  2. jack keough

    ISA does appear to be trying new things to drive attendance and they deserve credit for not standing still. I talked to several manufacturers who were happy with the business they had but many complained about distributor attendance. But then again, manufacturers have complained about this problem for years. I don’t have answers either but it does appear that product lines are blurring and other non-traditional ISA distributors should be sought out. Good comments, John and Eric

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