ConnectingDirectors.com Reviews The 2009 NFDA Convention
After every convention I attend I like to spend a little time afterwards reflecting on the experience. I try to look at the experience as both an exhibitor and also as just a normal attendee. I must say that this years NFDA convention in Boston was a huge success, not only for ConnectingDirectors.com, and myself but also for the funeral directors who attended.
I thought the layout of the expo was great. There was really no bad spot on the whole floor. Attendees could easily walk the floor and not miss a booth. The venue (Boston Convention Center) was a bit smaller this year, which helped make it easier to walk the floor and not miss anything.
The attendance at this year?s convention was awesome! The floor was always crowded and our booth always had foot traffic. After talking to NFDA officials it was confirmed that this years convention had the most registered attendees the association has experience in the last 12 years. Pinpointing why this was is difficult, but I think that the NFDA did a great job promoting the convention online through ConnectingDirectors.com as well as their own Biz Exchange website.
Since the attendance was up and the traffic through our booth was constant, I didn?t get to spend as much time as I wanted walking the floor, but I did make it through every booth.
I noticed a few things as I was walking the floor:
? Webcasting ? This is going to be a staple in every funeral home in the next few years. There are many options and companies available (Partners with CD.com are: Memorial Streams, FuneralRecording.com, SympathyNet, and FuneralOne).
? Green Burials ? There were quite a few companies that were exhibiting green burial products (Caskets, Urns, Under Water Burial)
? Cremation ? There was an abundance of Cremation product on display (Jewelry, Urns, Scattering Options, Pet Cremation Products). Using these products will make it easier for funeral homes to make higher profits on rising cremation numbers.
? Unique Caskets ? Aside from the normal Batesville and Aurora booths, there were a large number of smaller casket companies exhibiting. Again this year I was most impressed with Hot Rod Caskets. They even expanded their line this year as well as adding urns to their collection.
? Memorialization Product ? If you can think of it then there was a company at the convention exhibiting it. Some highlights for me were: Life Gem (Diamond created from the carbon of your loved one), Funeral Home Gifts (Personalized Blankets), and Wilbert Burial Vaults (Legacy Prints for Vault carapace, and high quality Jewelry).
My award winners for innovation go to: Trigard Burial Vaults and FuneralOne.
Trigard debuted their brand new Personal Touch Kiosk and the Healing Tree vault carapace. I was impressed with these two items because they can be used to help families see the value in a lined concrete burial vault as well as finding value in the funeral service.
Trigard?s Personal Touch kiosk is designed to make choosing a burial vault simple. This program educates your families on a burial vault, asks a series of basic questions about their loved one, and selects the perfect personalized vault according to those answers. You may even customize each kiosk to show only the vaults that you offer. Below is the opening video that the family will watch while using the Personal Touch Kiosk:
The Healing Tree carapace is the first of its kind. Instead of me explaining it watch the video:
Prior to the convention FuneralOne launched their new revolutionary website platform ?F1 Connect?. This website platform is geared toward the consumer to help them see the value in the funeral service. Joey, FuneralOne CEO, realizes that most of today?s families have lost the ability to see the value in the funeral service which is leading to less meaningful funerals. Through the F1 Connect platform families can visit your website and have their mind expanded to know that anything is possible with their funeral service.
When FuneralOne launched their new platform Joey held a live webinar that was attended by 1300 industry professionals. The hour-long webinar gave an inside look at all of the features of the F1 Connect platform. If you missed the webinar you can watch it here (I highly recommend it): http://www.funeralone.com/revolution.
The webinar created a huge buzz throughout the industry and it carried over to the convention. Their booth was rockin? with music, live presentations, and lots of people. FuneralOne also held a live event at the convention that was attended by over 250 people.
The F1 Connect platform is just one of the innovative products FuneralOne offers. They are really revolutionizing the funeral industry.
My Suggestions for the NFDA:
? Longer exhibit hours ? with the attendance as high as it was this year it was almost impossible to interact with everyone who entered your booth due to the cut back on hours the convention floor was open. Most attendees would have to walk the floor and then pick and choose wisely what vendors they wanted to go back to for more information. Due to lack of time, a lot of conversations were cut short because attendees had to leave to see other vendors before the floor closed.
? Pick a different location for the Biz Exchange Stage ? Something new this year was the Biz Exchange Stage. NFDA allowed companies to pay to have 20 minutes on stage to present their products. This was a great idea until NFDA put the stage in the middle of the food court. People came to the food court to eat, not hear presentations. It was almost impossible to hear the presenters over the talking from people who were in the food court eating. The food court was highly trafficked, but the presentations I believe fell on deaf ears because people were not there to hear the presentation.
? Stick with the smaller exhibit hall ? The smaller exhibit hall allowed attendees the ability to walk the floor easier. The booth spaces were closer together, which made it much easier for every booth to be seen. There wasn?t a bad booth space in the house!!
Overall I would give this year?s convention an A+! I have heard nothing but positive feedback from attendees and other exhibitors. I hope that the NFDA can continue to promote the convention heavily throughout the year and keep fees low enough to generate the kind of attendance experienced this year.
Next convention for ConnectingDirectors.com is the ICCFA convention in March. This will be our first time exhibiting at the ICCFA convention and I am excited to see what it has to offer.
Thank you for reading our review. Please leave us your comments and opinions below, we want to know what you thought of the convention.
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