October 25, 2010
Vendors Flock to ORALL Annual Meeting
At last week's annual meeting of ORALL in Canton, OH, my headcount of vendor representatives came in at 4 (5?) from TR Legal, 3 from LN (was supposed to be 4 but one had a last minute conflict), 1 from BNA, 1 from Hein, 1 from Gale, 2 from Hannah and none from WK's CCH. Big change over last year's meeting in Cleveland where, if memory serves, the headcount was 1 from LN, 1 from BNA and 1 from CCH. Vendor sponsorship, according to event organizers, was fairly generous this year, too. No vendor except one, rejected a solicitation with significant donations from TR Legal and LN this year. Which vendor didn't make a contribution? The same one that didn't send a company representative, CCH.
Although TR Legal and LN were offering product demos this year, our little chapter's annual meeting did not have booths so the increase in attendance wasn't related to that. Company representatives from TR Legal included a district sales manager and librarian relations staffer, and a strategic analyst from LN. Vendor reps were readily available in the usual places (attending sessions, breakfast, lunch and dinner events, hotel bar and lobby) for casual and business-related conversations.
Even if one wanted to make the case that the WLN and Lexis demos were somewhat sales related, the vendors who attended ORALL weren't there to sell. I think it is a sign of market conditions that they came and in such numbers to meet, listen and talk with their institutional buyers face to face. One can hope that this interaction was mutually beneficial. I, for one, was delighted to put a face to a voice (and emails) by seeing my MB inside print account rep in Canton (Hi, Jen!). And a big hat tip to two vendors (you know who you are) for a little "medicinal assistance" to overcome this 58-year-old's rapidly aging sore back and stiff neck after my 4 hour drive to Canton on Wednesday. Traveling to Canton certainly was not as easy as traveling to Cleveland for last year's annual ORALL meeting for vendors either. It's not like you can just hop off a plane and be there.
I don't know if other AALL chapters have been or are seeing an increase in vendor appearances at their annual meetings but I hope so. Chapter annual meetings are better events than our AALL annual meetings for personalizing the vendor-buyer relationship. I'm sure some vendors may not have liked what they heard (I'm also sure they had heard what they were hearing before) but they showed up and listened -- ah, where was CCH? Whether this leads to anything positive remains to be seen. But hopefully ORALL's Cincinnati 2011 will be more like Canton 2010 than Cleveland 2009. While it makes damn good business sense to do so, I for one, but I doubt I am the only one, appreciated our vendors financial support of ORALL's annual meeting and attendance this year. [JH]
I found the same to be true when seeking vendor participation for SWALL which was held back in April. Every company I approached (except CCH) was happy to participate & contribute, their tables were staffed by numerous people rather than one, and they had meaningful interactions with attendees. We even had vendors there who we did not solicit, but who came to us. I was very surprised but thought it was great!
Posted by: Michelle Rigual | Oct 25, 2010 10:17:56 AM