Tuning in to the Dealer Channel

Recognizing the vital role that the dealer community plays in the print and digital graphics industry, GRAPH EXPO 2012 welcomes the inaugural Global Channel Partners Summit (Booth 4461). The idea for the three-day event, which begins today and continues through Tuesday, is the brainchild of Dan Moloney of Print Media Partners, a U.K. industrial marketing firm. For traction among dealers and manufacturers in the North American marketplace, Moloney turned to Fichera Publications, whose Dealer Communicator publication features one of the largest dealer databases in the U.S.

“It was Danny’s idea,” credits President and Publisher Orazio “O.Mike” Fichera, who then got Chris Price from the Graphic Arts Show Company (GASC) involved. To boost participation, Price encouraged co-locating the summit at GRAPH EXPO in Chicago and the rest, as they say, is about to become history. Industry forecaster Dr. Joe Webb leads off this afternoon with his “State of the Channel” address at 2:00 pm.

The Global Channel Partners Summit is designed to provide information on current industry trends for all channel partners—dealers, manufacturers, and end-user customers. In addition to Dr. Joe’s keynote today, John Foley, Jr., President of interlinkONE and Grow Socially, wraps up tomorrow’s sessions with provoking thoughts on incorporating social media into the sales process. In his presentation entitled, “How Social Media Works for the Channel,” Foley will share his expertise on how relevant content can lead to finding and connecting with prospects online, resulting in lead generation and sales.

Other notable speakers:

Former Ricoh Marketing VP Carl Joachim (now with Caslon/PODi) will share selling strategies for the high-margin, narrow-web digital print equipment arena (Monday, 10:30 am).

Gimbel & Associates business development guru Lois Ritarossi presents strategies for dealers to increase profits from production digital print (Monday, 11:15 am).

I.T. Strategies VP Marco Boer will cover the wide-format print expectations from a dealer/transition perspective (Monday, 1:30 pm).

Kodak’s Gerard Giuliano is poised to discuss his firm’s channel-enablement process and specs for the graphic arts market, asking, “Is your organization ready?” (Tuesday, 3 pm).

Several familiar manufacturers have pre-registered, such as GBC (ACCO Brands), Standard Finishing, and xpedx. Dealers on the list include Advantage Supply, Central Graphics Inc., and even a European dealer, TUK Systems from the U.K. Fichera stresses that both dealers and manufacturers had input into the session topics: “One ‘hotshot’ sheepishly admitted to me, ‘You know, Mike, I know nothing about social media.’ That’s why we brought in John Foley.”

It’s still not too late to attend tomorrow and Tuesday’s sessions, as on-site registration is available at Booth 4461. And there already is talk about hosting something similar next year at PRINT 13, says Fichera.