Why AutomationXchange works...

Sunday I am off to Park City, Utah, for the second annual CONTROL AutomationXchange. Years ago, I suggested something like this to the ISA conference and exhibits board...because even then it was obvious that the big ISA show as constituted then and now, was a dinosaur and it was waiting for a comet to hit it. I suspect the comet was 9-11. The ISA show, and indeed all automation trade shows, except for end-user events like Automation Fair and Emerson Exchange, Automation World, and all the rest, have stupendously declined in attendance and importance since ISA was forced to close ISA2001 early because of the World Trade Center Terrorist Attack. For those of you who may not know what AutomationXchange is, here's the skinny. About 10 or more years ago, the people with buying authority mostly stopped going to ISA and other automation shows, at least in North America. Shortly afterward, vendors began sending lower level sales people, and in some very prominent cases, like Emerson, pulled out entirely. Why did they stop going? There are myriads of reasons, including time constraints, event value for time spent, and so forth. But the fact remains, the high level meetings that really were one of the main draws for ISA and other events just disappeared. We wanted to put together an event where those high level meetings could once again take place. In order to do that, we used our unique credentials as "the Voice of the End User." We assigned Dan Hebert, one of our Senior Technical Editors, to profile and contact buyers at the highest levels, and invite them to participate. We selected only buyers with currently funded process automation projects only, and then we created white papers with great detail on the nature of their projects, and the actual buying process each individual end-user company goes through. We then matched those end users with process automation vendors, and invited them to attend. Sometimes, the buyers requested that we contact specific vendors, even those the buyer doesn't normally have a relationship with. This coming week, we'll be hosting and facilitating high level purchasing meetings between over 20 buyers and over 20 vendors. Last year, many vendors said they paid for the event very soon afterward, in new business. Last year, many buyers said they'd learned about new products and services they could use right now. If you are a potential buyer, and you aren't going to be there, you are missing a terrific opportunity to talk to the "real deal" at many vendor companies. If you are a potential vendor, and you aren't going to be there, why the heck not??? Are you nuts? One of last year's attendees, a vendor, said that it would have cost him at least 10 times more to put together the same series of meetings that he had in three days at AX, and would have taken him eight months to do it. If you want to hear real attendees talk, visit www.automationxchange.com. This is the real stuff. We are proud to be doing things like this at CONTROL. Walt