Dealers descending on Carlsbad, CA for Konica Minolta’s October dealer meeting can expect a different kind of dealer meeting than they’ve been accustomed to in the past.
There’s two things you can count on when it comes to manufacturer’s dealer meetings, one, there’s not a lot of changes from one year to the next in tone, subject matter, or format. The other thing you can count on, is that you can’t always count on the status quo as some manufacturers try to create a whole new experience for their dealers so that their latest event is memorable and productive for their dealer partners.
The latter is what Konica Minolta is doing with this year’s dealer meeting, scheduled for Oct. Oct. 3-5 in Carlsbad, CA.
During an informal meeting with Konica Minolta U.S.A. President & CEO Rick Taylor and his team at Print 17, we learned a few things about what dealers who travel to Carlsbad can expect at this year’s meeting.
Konica Minolta has a knack, or at least Rick does, for selecting locations that are not where most of the other OEMs typically hold their dealer meetings (i.e., Las Vegas and Orlando). Carlsbad is one of those locations as was Aspen, Colorado last year. Locations such as these are also conducive to a business meeting in that there’s no distraction from casinos or golf courses. As a result, Rick expects to have more of a captive audience who will be in a better position to focus on the business aspects of the event.
Because of the expense of doing these events in locations such as these, Rick explained that the company is making every effort to ensure that its largest dealers, who are responsible for the majority of Konica Minolta’s dealer channel business attend. We applaud that effort, but also recommend that all Konica Minolta dealers consider attending. We understand the cost and time considerations associated with attending a dealer meeting, but based on past experiences, Konica Minolta does an excellent job of conveying their corporate message and there’s nothing like hearing this information first hand. Additionally, a dealer meeting is well worth attending if for no other reason than to mix and mingle with other dealers and share best practices and business challenges.
Another difference with this year’s meeting is that there will be fewer partners exhibiting. OEMs seem to feel that the more partners participating in their meetings, particularly in the exhibit area, the better. In many cases, that’s true as solutions and services have become critical components of a dealer’s business. But the reality is many of those solutions and services companies are aligned with most of the other OEMs as well and it’s not as if the dealers attending the meeting are learning something new or meeting someone new. The way Rick explained it, this will ensure more of a focus on Konica Minolta’s message.
OEM dealer meetings typically have a heavy emphasis on hardware, but don’t expect that to be the case in Carlsbad. Rick revealed his intention to minimize the focus on hardware and focus more on people, workspaces, and how they’re using the technology within those spaces. As he put it, “How we see working being done.”
Recognizing that the General Sessions at these events can sometimes be longer than necessary, Rick also promised a shorter General Session as well as a more interactive overall event. The educational component will still be there, and two topics that should appeal to most dealers in attendance will be on the agenda, including new ways to sell and new ways to attract people.
Until we arrive in Carlsbad and see Rick’s plan put into action and talk to the dealers attending the meeting, we can’t predict how successful this meeting will be. But we expect it to be different from any other OEM meeting or dealer event The Cannata Report has attended this year as well as any previous Konica Minolta dealer meeting.
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