January Proofs Welcome from the Editor

Jan. 15, 2010

So here we are in 2010, huh? If you’re like me, you’re glad that 2009 is in the rearview mirror … and I don’t think I’m in the minority. I’ve heard so many people say, “Happy New Year … and here’s to a better year in 2010!”

January has always been a strange month to me. It’s like Opening Day of baseball season … everything is new and everyone has a chance. All of those promises we make to ourselves of losing 10 pounds, not yelling at other drivers going slow in the fast lane, or calling our parents at least once a week really seem like they can happen, don’t they? Well, then comes February, and we’re back to eating Snickers while road raging and letting Mom’s call go to voice mail.

Believe it or not, I think 2010 will be a better year for all of us. We’ve made it through what appears to be the bulk of a nasty recession and, if you’re reading this, I’m guessing you still have a job and make a good living. It also seems that the dental industry navigated the troubled waters fine in 2009, and things are looking up for 2010. Our friends at R.W. Baird recently released their outlook on the year, and they seem happy with where the dental industry is heading. Check it out by clicking here

I’ll play the part of Nostradamus here and make two predictions about 2010…
1. The raging debate over health care will continue on Capitol Hill and play a role in all of our lives, both personally and professionally.
2. This will be the year that we start doing business differently at trade shows.

I asked our friends from the Dental Trade Alliance to provide a piece about health care legislation for this issue. Based in Arlington, Va., Gary Price, Fred Freedman, and the DTA staff members are able to keep a finger on the pulse of Washington legislation. What happens in Washington has a direct impact on the way the dental industry does business, so I encourage you to read the article from Gary in this issue. It’s a constantly changing landscape, and I believe the more you know about what’s going on with health care legislation, the better prepared you and your company will be in 2010 and beyond.

Regarding trade shows, there’s no question that the recession made an impact in people’s travel plans and discretionary income. Attendance and show traffic was still solid at the major shows last year (even Honolulu for the ADA meeting), but make no mistake that people are watching what they spend in 2010. With that in mind, how is your company changing how you do business at trade shows? Are you making the most of your time on the floor? Are you reaching customers in a cost-effective manner? Once you reach them, are you able to close the deal? These are the questions being asked more and more by companies as we all watch our bottom lines a little closer. Yes, trade shows will change this year … but the change will come more from the exhibitors than the trade shows themselves.

With these questions in mind, I’ve devoted an entire section of the January Proofs e-newsletter to trade shows. You’ll see a preview of the Yankee Dental Congress, a review of the last two big shows of 2009 (GNY and ADA), and thoughts from Dr. Louis Malcmacher on what it takes to be proactive when engaging customers on the show floor.

One last prediction … I believe more and more companies will be using social media to engage customers before, during, and after trade shows. I know companies are already promoting Twitter specials and letting people know about special values through Facebook, and I believe the numbers of companies doing this will skyrocket in 2010.

2010 will be different … and I believe it will be better for all of us. Read on, this is your e-newsletter…

P.S.: I wrote this Editor's Note before the earthquake in Haiti. Certainly our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Haiti in this dark and desperate time. Hats off to Henry Schein and so many industry partners who are making a difference in the recovery efforts. You can read about what they're doing by clicking here.