Convention in OKC: Sales, Solve Problems, Learn

Register for the 2021 Marketing & Distribution Convention! Sign up before Aug. 16 and save $200. See the schedule here. Call (314) 878-2304.

Our reunion in Kansas City, as sweet as it was, was incomplete.

Our Canadian members could not cross the border without quarantining. Dozens of member companies still had travel restrictions. Others simply were reluctant to elevate their risk of infection.

Since then, we’ve turned a corner in the pandemic and the industry. Business is booming, and with the boom comes questions around supply chain, labor, product pricing, and more. Your answers await.

It is time to reconnect in numbers that we knew prior to 2020. We have much to learn from one another during this extraordinary moment in the industry. This convention, which is Nov. 2 to 4 at the Omni Oklahoma City, offers you:

  • A peek into the future.
  • Strategies for finding employees, keeping employees, and reducing your dependence on labor.
  • Opportunities to learn from your peers.
  • Tips for supporting the the marketing work of your distributors and dealers.
  • Networking events to meet with marketers and distributors and find new channels for sales.
  • Expert insights on global trade, operational excellence, how to prevent product liability claims, and more.

Here’s what to expect in speaking sessions.

Anticipating the Future

Jack Uldrich is an author and a futurist who helps businesses gain the crucial foresight they need to create a successful future.

His work is based on the principles of unlearning—or breaking free from obsolete knowledge and assumptions as a strategy to survive and thrive in an era of unparalleled change.

He is a former naval intelligence officer and Defense Department official. His most recent book is Foresight 20/20: A Futurist Explores the Trends Transforming Tomorrow. His next book is Business as Unusual: How to Future-Proof Yourself Against Tomorrow’s Transformational Trends, Today.

He speaks about technology, change management and leadership. Uldrich contributes regularly to the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Wired Magazine and BusinessWeek.

Finding Solutions to the Labor Problem

Many of you met Gene Marks in Little Rock in 2017. He is a writer, speaker and small business owner who focuses on issues relevant to small businesses.

He will discuss the labor pinch in the context of politics and the economy. He also will offer strategies he has seen his consulting clients use to find and keep employees and offer tips on lower-cost technologies that can reduce the need for labor.

A former columnist for both the New York Times and Washington Post, Marks’s work appears weekly in The Guardian, The Hill, Forbes, and Entrepreneur.

Understand What Distributors Need, Improve Sales

Get inside the minds of equipment dealers and distributors during this session focused on what marketers need to successfully sell your products.

If you joined us in Kansas City, you likely heard Michael Bird and Susan Baier discuss findings of a survey they conducted on farmers’ buying beliefs and behaviors. A follow-up survey in the “Farmer’s Buying Journey” series is in progress now to explore how dealers are marketing to farmers and how manufacturers can best support dealers, wholesalers, and independent representatives in their marketing and e-commerce efforts.

In Oklahoma City, John Anderson will join the stage to discuss survey results. Anderson is president of Fastline Marketing Group.

Bird is CEO of Spindustry, a digital agency focused on e-commerce and enterprise websites.

Baier is an audience and marketing strategist and researcher with Audience Audit. She is one of the most sought-after attitudinal segmentation researchers in the U.S.

Operational Excellence in an Industry in Flux

Steve Wilson will continue his series on operational excellence. Wilson was scheduled to kick off his five-part series at Supply Summit 2020.

In the absence of in-person get-togethers last year, we launched the series with a webinar in March. See his presentation on the state of readiness at

In November, Wilson will focus on operational excellence in the context of unstable inventories, supply chain disruptions, price unpredictability, and too few workers.

He is a consultant, coach and trainer who has worked with hundreds of companies, including Deere. His breakout session runs at the same time as a session on trade.

Tips for Mastering Trade

Heather Ranck specializes in the farm equipment export business. She is based in Fargo, N.D., with the U.S. Commercial Service, which is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

She brings expertise on resources available to shortline manufacturers seeking to enter the global trade market as well as tips for researching export markets and optimizing your website to globalize your sales. She will speak during a breakout session that runs concurrently with the session on operational excellence.

Preventing Product Liability Claims

Attorney DJ Warden will discuss risk management, specifically field management strategies and design, manufacturing, and compliance practices.

Warden defends product liability cases and commercial litigation. He is with Association partner Nilan Johnson Lewis. This breakout session will run concurrently with a yet-to-be-decided discussion.

The Association wants to remain nimble in deciding the final topic amid such industry uncertainty.