Seventeen years ago, Bob Mikulas was a manufacturer with an innovative new product in the lawn and garden industry that showed great promise in the retail market. Marketing experts encouraged him to promote his product at the national trade shows, assuring him that this was the best way to get results. His enthusiasm faded after investing countless dollars and three frustrating years attending trade shows with little to show for his efforts. He found he was not alone in his dissatisfaction.
The most common complaints about attending trade shows among buyers and vendors were that the shows were expensive, unpredictable, inefficient, and too often unproductive. Shows were growing larger and buyers had little time to spend with new vendors or vendors they were not familiar with. Even when a potential business relationship was recognized, show follow-up was cumbersome and inconvenient.
Mikulas recognized the need for a better method for buyers and vendors to meet, conduct business, and follow up with each other after an event. He felt today's show organizers had a responsibility to do more than simply provide a meeting place for exhibitors and attendees. He dedicated himself to finding solutions.
In 1995, Mikulas created the first Controlled Marketing Conference in the lawn and garden industry. The conference offered a unique approach involving one-on-one pre-set appointments between buyers and vendors with common product interests. Meetings were no longer left to chance as they had been at traditional booth style trade shows.
Post-show follow-up problems were solved with the creation of a business-to-business trade show support web site that gave attendees a convenient, password-protected platform where they could source products and access valuable reporting tools. These tools allowed vendors and attendees to more easily track the return on their show investment and assisted management in making decisions regarding show attendance.
The solutions offered by Controlled Marketing Conferences have been well received since their inception and the events continue to grow year after year, encouraging the expansion of Controlled Marketing Conferences into other industries.