President’s Letter | Mid September 2010 … WORTH A TRY

September 21, 2010
As I indicated to you in my last letter, one of our strategies to continue to strengthen TIA and its relevance and meaningful value for its members is to implement innovations for Toy Fair and the Fall Toy Preview. 

Our deployment of the ECRM “MarketGate” software to facilitate buyer/seller appointments in Dallas and to facilitate post-show follow-up is one of many efforts we introduced to bring a new level of efficiency, effectiveness and convenience to Fall Toy Preview for both toy company sales teams and retail buyers.  MarketGate is not just an appointment tool – it is a year-round link between buyers and sellers.  As with most new technologies or programs being introduced across a 270+ exhibitor environment, we encountered a few challenges along the way.  But we believe that if our FTP exhibitors and buyers will give it an honest try they will quickly find it to be a tremendous convenience and benefit that will help to grow sales and pay back their show investment. Software tools such as this are the future for trade events. 

An unanticipated benefit of one of the hiccups we encountered in our rollout of MarketGate was vigorous objections from independent toy industry sales reps.  We took their objections very seriously and made modifications in the program to address the issues they raised.  More importantly, out of that encounter has come a new potential for involving the rep community as fully engaged members in TIA. 

We will be meeting with a delegation of reps in Dallas to talk about TIA membership and opportunities for participation in the association’s governance.  This is a nice tie-in to another of the strategies mentioned in my last letter:  our effort to re-structure TIA’s membership to enlarge the association and be more inclusive of enterprises in the toy industry.  Reps are a vital component in the toy industry and deserve a respected role in the association. 

I look forward to that dialogue and to seeing you all in Dallas!

Kind regards,

Carter Keithley