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Q&A: Successful Marketplace


As 2012 NACDS Marketplace swings into action, Jim Whitman, SVP member programs and services, and Steve Perlowski, VP industry affairs and member relations, talked with Drug Store News about the highlights of this year’s event and how attendees can make the meeting a success.

DSN: How can retailers and suppliers make the most of this year’s event?

Jim Whitman: We are continuing and improving some of the standards, like Meet the Market on Saturday and our Meet the Retailer on Sunday, as well as on Monday the addition of two educational programs that we will be doing. …

Meet the Market on Saturday has become institutionalized and is one of the distinguishing factors of Marketplace. … On Sunday, we have an excellent lineup [of retailers and speakers from those retailers], and it represents the industry in terms of traditional food, mass, drug, dollar, [etc.] …

[Meet the Retailer] has turned into something the retailers really look forward to doing because it is a great way to put their company forward ... [to discuss with suppliers] the company’s goals, how they are looking at business [and] how [they approach business], not only at Marketplace but ... throughout the year.

DSN: What are some new elements that attendees will see this year?

Steve Perlowski: Just like a retail store, the exhibit hall is full of products, services, information and education. To enhance that, this year we are going to have a [digital learning center] where we are working with one of our associate members, a company called Inmar. … They are going to have, just inside the exhibit floor, a learning center where they are going to put on presentations during the day on the floor … talking about how consumers use social and mobile, both at home and in the store; how it works in the store from a cash flow standpoint; and how you analyze whether or not the campaign was successful. …

Then on Monday morning, we will have two education sessions.

The first [session is] titled “Inside the Mind of the Shopper: Understanding the Difference in Motivation by Generations,” … [and] attendees will find out how differently you need to connect with consumers based on what generation they are in. …


The second session is called “Game-Changing Marketing: Best Practices for a Digital World.” As more and more of our members are looking at how to drive significant sales increases, the whole concept of digital and social are top of mind. We are partnering with Coca-Cola and Facebook. … It is the first time we’ve had Facebook at any of our events.

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