This is the "speed dating" concept of building product sales calls. Like the social speed-dating programs where the ladies get in without charge, specifiers will attend these junkets on an all-expenses paid basis. Manufacturers pick up the tab.
Key to the success of the events is that the attendees select the slate of manufacturers on their dance card. Your tête-à-tête is with someone that has a specific interest in your product, and probably a project on the boards.
Here are two of the leading matchmakers:
Bond says its mission is to "To create effective one to one meetings forums which educate, stimulate and assist principal architects & interior designers from the largest firms to better serve their clients. To facilitate high-level product discussions with senior delegates from manufacturing and solution provider companies." They currently have three events:
- Arc-US - for principals of design & specification from North America and Canada.
- Arc-interiors - for heads of interiors from Interior Design magazine's list of largest firms.
- Arc-Middle East - for principals from the biggest firms in the Middle East and North Africa.
Construction Specifications Institute
CSI's "Master Specifiers Retreat" is similar. The gathering is more intimate and, I suspect, more congenial since many of the participants will know each other from other CSI activities. Attendees have titles like "director of specification" or "specification consultant" and fewer people with titles like "director of design" or "project architect". This more technical and product-oriented cohort is invaluable for manufacturers in many product categories.
Their 2014 event is sold out. The next is scheduled for 2015-January in Scottsdale, AZ. Costs range from $7000 for non-CSI members to $6000 for CSI "corporate partners". For more information, contact Susan Konohia, firstname.lastname@example.org or +1 703-706-4744.
Credit for drawing.