Reader Comments: July 2014

June 30, 2014
Your feedback on our most engaging and recent articles.
“Letter from the Editor: June 2014” As a dentist who has been both an exhibitor and dentist for over 25 years, I would like to comment now that the ODA and WSDA yearly meetings are over. Once again, for the exhibitors, it was a costly and unrewarding two days. These shows are poorly attended on the exhibit floor by the dentists and will never be better. But it is no longer the dental associations' problem, it is the exhibitors' problem. As long as they keep buying the booths, the shows will go on. They get almost no return on their investment, but they keep doing it. Time to rethink. Personally, I think these small shows are done for exhibitors. —John Wagner, DDS (Email to the editor)

“How to sell to dentists”
I agree with the details of your article concerning what we in other industries call “relationship selling.” However, I disagree with the concept of dentists being a special breed. I have over 30 years experience in consulting across a variety of industries, including dentistry, and if I had a dollar for everyone who initially said, “Oh, our industry is different,” I'd be sitting on a huge pile of money. The fact is, all businesses are the same. They want to make money. How they do it may be different, but what they have to deal with is the same. If you own a car, you'll find striking similarities between auto service and dentistry. People take cars for service to either prevent or restore. People take their mouths to dentists for the same. Appointments are scheduled, direct labor resources are allotted, materials are consumed — and oh, by the way, people think the auto repair shops charge too much, just like dentistry. Sure, some of the jargon is different, but the business isn't.
—Sid [See]

“Opinion: The insanity of dental meetings”
As an attendee, it is disappointing to go to the exhibit floor and see an ever-decreasing number of exhibitors on the floor. I think the organizations should do a better job of supporting the exhibitors by keeping the “social” activities on the exhibit floor so everyone can interact. Breaks and lunch need to be set up on the exhibit floor. They need to do a better job of tracking the people going on and off the floor. I have attended meetings that only allowed a small window of time to visit the exhibit floor. While I understand that we all want the most “bang” for our dollar in regards to education, I also feel that there needs to be adequate time for attendees to be on the floor and interact with the exhibitors. I say this after attending two meetings in the last month and seeing firsthand the issues addressed in this post.
—Patty [See]

Lunch or social activities on the exhibit floor do nothing to attract buyers with genuine interest. The ADEA is a smaller show, and the worst I’ve seen as far as trying to cram these and other events (scavenger hunts, door prizes) to build exhibit hall excitement. As soon as lunch is over, the crowd disappears and the exhibit hall is a ghost town.
—Exhibitor [See]

“Letter from the Editor: February 2014”
The [return on investment] on exhibiting at these events is trending down. ROI for these types of events is based on cost per impression and conversion rate.
1. The cost per impression continues to go up. Exhibit costs are increasing. Attendance is decreasing.
2. Conversion rate is declining. Dentists are less frequently coming to the shows to buy stuff. They are coming to the shows to learn. This is by design, but it has consequences with respect to the revenue that organizers expect to generate from exhibitors.
3. Additionally, many event organizers are encouraging exhibitors to use promotions to lure dentists into the lecture halls. However, promotions and discounts only further reduce ROI. In sum, the ROI from events is waning. As a result, event organizers should not be surprised to see exhibitors spending more marketing dollars with other promotional alternatives.