Inside This Issue - News
Preview: There’s a lot to gain at NACDS Marketplace
June 11th, 2012
by David Pinto
DENVER – When it comes to reaching and influencing the mass retailing community, the most creative marketing mind in America today belongs to Scott Emerson, head of the Emerson Group, itself one of the creative companies when it comes to brand marketing.
To encourage the involvement of retail attendees at the 2012 National Association of Chain Drug Stores Marketplace Conference, set to run here from June 23 through June 26, Emerson has created a “Rocky Mountain High” promotional piece inviting retailers to a group of social events that the Emerson Group will host during the conference. More specifically, the Emerson Group will host a dinner at a different signature Denver eatery on each evening of the conference.
The point in calling attention to the various dinners is not so much to publicize or praise them as to point out that, though this will be the last of the Marketplace series as presently constituted — it will be replaced next year by the NACDS Total Store Expo — those who best understand both the importance of the conference and the opportunity it represents for those willing to commit to it are giving it the attention it so rightly deserves.
The 2012 NACDS Marketplace Conference offers retailer and supplier attendees the usual opportunities to do business. The exhibit hall at the Colorado Convention Center, traditionally the event’s centerpiece, will be supplemented by a variety of occasions for retailers and suppliers to interact — the Saturday Meet the Market day, wherein retailers meet with individual suppliers; the Sunday morning Meet the Retailers program, during which such companies as CVS/pharmacy, Walgreen Co., Rite Aid Corp., Sam’s Club, Safeway Inc. and Family Dollar Stores Inc. explain their approach to business and to their supplier partners; the Product Showcase, which allows suppliers to exhibit new or particularly significant items.
These events are supplemented by an educational program and social activities. Other highlights are more about the way the conference has effectively used technology to simplify such activities as registration and the scheduling of appointments.
“Marketplace continues to be the premier trade show for drug, food, mass and clubs,” says Jim Whitman, senior vice president of member programs and services at NACDS. “This one-of-a-kind event brings together the industry, renewing itself by offering fresh products, innovative ideas and strategic collaboration.”
Perhaps what’s most significant about this final Marketplace Conference is that it closely follows — by eight and a half weeks — the NACDS Annual Meeting. In the past this close proximity has been rightly viewed as a disadvantage and indeed was one reason behind the revised meeting schedule that the association will introduce next year.
The difference this year lies in the fact that the Annual Meeting was one of the most successful in the series, in part because it apparently ushered in a new spirit of cooperation between retailers and suppliers. The Marketplace Conference will test that cooperative spirit and largely determine whether it was more than merely a momentary detente in a previously confrontational environment.
Whatever the retailer-supplier relationship going forward, however, the truly creative participants will, as they have always done, find a way to make the Marketplace Conference work for them. If you doubt that, just ask Scott Emerson.