By Lauren Burns
The Dental Trade Alliance Preview Show is not your average annual dental meeting. In fact, the meeting isn't geared toward dentists at all. Instead, it is set up as a business-to-business meeting where companies from around the world can meet for a lower cost than other meetings and make lasting business connections.
This year's Winter Preview show will be held on February 20 (the day before the start of the Chicago Midwinter Meeting) at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Center in Chicago.
Fred Freedman, executive director of the Dental Trade Alliance, explains just what makes the DTA Preview Show so unique.
Can you provide a quick synopsis of what your meeting aims to do?
The Preview Show is the only business-to-business meeting in the U.S. for the dental industry. It always occurs on the Wednesday before the Chicago Dental Society Midwinter Meeting in Chicago. It is a tabletop exhibition, so every manufacturer is on equal footing. Manufacturers have an opportunity to display their products, services and small equipment. Distributors and authorized buyers from the U.S., Canada and other international markets come and walk the show and have an opportunity to discuss new business relationships and possible private label opportunities.
What makes your meeting unique?
The uniqueness comes from being a strictly business-to-business opportunity with no dentists in attendance. It is also unique due to the fact it is about one-third U.S. distributors and two-thirds international business contacts. The relationship could be as simple as a new distributor for the exhibitor or involve private label manufacturing or purchases for government entities. Also, as a tabletop display, it keeps the opportunity very informal and provides the opportunity for a very one-on-one, meaningful discussion.
What makes your meeting successful?
DTA is very fortunate that domestic distributors and their representatives and international buyers are very loyal to this meeting. You literally see hundreds of international representatives coming straight from the airport with their luggage to walk the Preview Show. In some cases, a single new distributor or international buyer can change the entire direction of a small manufacturer and create many new opportunities. Many attendees and exhibitors come just to renew old acquaintances. Cost is also a factor. A manufacturer can spend an afternoon meeting with these potential new clients for a small amount of money, unlike some of the more expensive international meetings.
How has your meeting changed since its first year?
The Preview Show keeps evolving to meet the needs of exhibitors and attendees. This year, DTA is opening the exhibition up to non–DTA members for the first time. Non–DTA members can purchase a tabletop display if they have not been a DTA member in more than three years. DTA also provides snacks, private meeting spaces and allows other groups to have a short tour of the facility to educate them about the opportunity. DTA has also made use of a new electronic directory to publicize the Preview Show around the globe to thousands of international distributors and buyers.
What changes do you foresee making to the meeting (scheduling, promoting, etc.) over the next few years?
Hard to say until we see the opportunity or get more feedback from exhibitors and attendees. There is the potential to do more virtual promotions and live streaming of the event. It could possibly find closer ties with the Chicago Dental Society Midwinter Meeting. Hours are constantly being tweaked to satisfy all exhibitors and attendees. We foresee doing something like the Preview Show annually in the U.S. as a B-to-B opportunity for as long as there is a demand to get U.S. manufacturers, distributors and authorized buyers together to grow the dental industry and get more American products in the hands of more dentists.
To learn more about the DTA Preview Show, visit the Dental Trade Alliance website at www.dentaltradealliance.org.