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Conference FAQs

GMDC marketing conferences are designed to connect trading partners at a top-to-top executive level (individuals who have the authority to make business decisions). As a result, the attendees from our Retail/Wholesale membership include the corporate vice-presidents/directors of purchasing/merchandising and, in most cases, the participation of category managers/buyers. The attendees from our Supplier/Service company associate members are executives who function as national sales managers and above, along with marketing, shopper, and consumer insights management.

No, you must be a GMDC member to register and participate in these events.

These pre-scheduled mutually-selected sessions are hosted by the Supplier/Service companies and their executives. SEC meetings are usually 30 or 40-minute appointments that facilitate deeper, multi-department collaboration and business development, located in private business rooms.

For returning conference attendees, CCC appointments are included in your conference registration and provide business-building discussions in pre-scheduled 10 and 20-minute face-to-face meetings between Retailer/Wholesaler and Supplier/Service member companies. The meetings are hosted at Retailer/Wholesaler tables and encourage dialogue focused on new products, category building merchandising, and promotional initiatives.

Many of the Retailer/Wholesaler companies attending a GMDC marketing conference will host over 300 CCCs, with the average approaching 175 appointments over the course of the conference. 

Well over 95% of our member companies attend the Marketing Conferences. You can view a listing of our retail, wholesale, supplier and service/solution company members in the GMDC Member Directory.

Some of the benefits of attending a comprehensive networking event like a GMDC marketing conference are that: 

  • Suppliers and manufacturers have the opportunity to meet with customers face-to-face and learn their needs firsthand. It also provides the opportunity to observe how your reps are performing while representing your business.
  • Retailer/Wholesaler attendees at the conference have the opportunity to meet with senior-level management from the Supplier side of the business, who they normally would not see.

Although order-writing has been known to take place at our conferences, the main purpose of a GMDC Marketing Conference is to establish new business relationships, nurture existing ones and connect with peers and the thought leadership taking place within the industry.

Each Retailer/Wholesaler company registered for the conference uses an online appointment selection sheet to select which Suppliers they would like on their pre-scheduled appointment list. 

Retailers will receive the registered individuals’ names and titles from the Supplier company, any appointment solicitation text that was submitted beforehand by the Supplier, a link to their website and GMDC member-profile, as well as product imagery and accompanying descriptions for any items the Supplier has entered into the Showcase.

While the SEC meetings are mutually agreed upon, all of the CCC appointments are ultimately selected by the Buyers. However, before the CCC Appointment Selection process, registered Suppliers can utilize the GMDC website to enter targeted "appointment solicitations" for the Retailers/Wholesalers they are most interested in. Retailer/Wholesalers will see these on their Appointment Selection screens while they make arrangements. It should also be noted that each Retailer/Wholesaler is required to choose enough Suppliers to fill up a significant percentage of their available CCC appointment time.

Once you arrive at the conference, you can take advantage of our "On-Site CCC Appointment Request Process" to request appointments with companies you do not have a pre-scheduled CCC appointment with. Explore the appointment request process here.

No, the Retailers/Wholesalers determine the number of Suppliers they meet. The average Supplier company usually has between 30 and 40 pre-scheduled appointments on its schedule, depending upon the product lines. Generally, Suppliers in their first year of membership will have a relatively high number of appointments because Retailers/Wholesalers are looking for new ideas and items.

You can secure visibility with every Retailer/Wholesaler in attendance simply by participating in the Showcase and Preview Box programs which allow your product to be your calling-card. 

Any interest Retailers/Wholesalers may have in your Showcaseentry is communicated back to you in near real-time during the conference. This makes participation in the Showcase an excellent opportunity to measure the collective interest in your featured products, promotions, and innovative merchandising formats. Showcase participants can harness any interest a Buyer may have into additional appointments while still at the conference. 

The Preview Box allows Suppliers to reach out to the Retailers/Wholesalers before the conference even begins. Your product(s) will be delivered to all registered Buyers so they can view, touch, and use the item(s) prior to arriving at the conference – increasing product exposure and the opportunity to schedule more appointments.

For detailed information relating to these programs at a specific conference, including dates and fees, contact GMDC Member Services.

GMDC marketing conferences provide a multitude of opportunities to network and get insights to best-practices in the industry through education programs, guest speaker meals, receptions, and "An Evening with the Board" dinner event.

If you have special dietary restrictions, please notify GMDC Member Services, prior to the conference, so that your needs can be met.