DC Editor Tom Perić recently interviewed Chris DeBoer, HARDI's marketing manger, about the Sales & Marketing Focus Forum, slated for September 17 to 19.

Q: The Sales & Marketing Focus Forum, slated for September 17 to 19, concludes the HARDI Focus Conference Series. Please tell us the aim of this conference.

Chris DeBoer: This event strives to arm attendees with relevant and impactful takeaways that help them reimagine what their day-to-day looks like. The sessions cover an assortment of areas that we have heard our members struggle with. The lineup of individuals presenting all have strong backgrounds and real-world experience to share.

Also, this may seem obvious, but any opportunity that our members can get together and hear what other individuals in similar roles are experiencing back at one another’s organizations, results in this amazing sense of camaraderie that is contagious, especially at this event.

Q: Why did you choose Philadelphia? I live across the river in New Jersey and can assure everyone that it bursts with American history, especially during our revolutionary period. (Don’t leave without seeing the Liberty Bell.)

DeBoer: After Eileen, our networking and conferences manager, ensures the space for the meeting meets her standards, we present the location to our board of directors for a final go-ahead. Eileen does a lot of digging to try and find the best possible options for our events that not only meets the needs of HARDI,  but also gives the attendees some activity options that allows them to venture out and enjoy their own time. For this particular location, there is a certain CEO around here for whom Philly holds a very special place in his heart, so there was not much convincing needed on this one.

Q: Can you give us a snapshot of who will be presenting at the sales and marketing conference?

DeBoer: One of the joint sessions that I am looking forward to is Tim David. He is a magician-turned-psych-guru and will cover the importance of the human connection before the Digital Age and how those connections are still extremely important today. David will cover some of the highlights of his bestselling book, Magic Words The Science and Secrets Behind Seven Words that Motivate, Engage, and Influence.

Several of the other presenters, especially on the marketing side of the event, will cover topics that have been vetted through our committees and are areas that our members have told us they could use some help with. These topics, supplemented with real-world case studies that back up their discussions, provide those who join us with valuable knowledge to put to work into their organizations upon their return.

Our website features more details about what all will be covered, so I encourage anyone interested to check out the whole lineup at http://hardinet.org/marketing-and-sales/.

Q: It might seem obvious, but who should attend this conference?

DeBoer: As you mentioned, the obvious target of this event are those members who are in marketing and sales roles with their companies that are constantly interested in learning about new and exciting developments that are relevant to their areas of study. However, any C-level member, or anyone else for that matter, that finds marketing or sales techniques and tactics of interest should join us as well. I think that the marketing and sales roles in our members’ businesses are changing rapidly. Because of the constant change, it is so important that everyone involved in these job functions keep in front of these advancements to keep their businesses competitive and relevant.

Q: What piece of advice would you want to share with everyone that attends?

DeBoer: Bring a notebook. Or however it is you like to take notes. I just attended an event recently that centered around marketing and communications, and the number of takeaways were vast. I write a few words down that I like to refer to and pair with a presenter’s slides. I find that when all I have is a PowerPoint to look at, I miss the immediate ideas that pop into my head while listening to a presenter talk. My thoughts are always moving around constantly, so it helps me quite a bit.

Q: I know  HARDI's app, HARDI Hub, puts entire events at one's fingertips via their cellphone or mobile device. I presume that will also be true for this conference and will allow attendees to have access to all the handouts and PowerPoint presentations. Is that correct?

DeBoer: Most definitely. I am particularly proud of this new HARDI Hub app. It really has helped our smaller events utilize the technology that we have been using for several years at our annual conference. This year, we took a parent event app, HARDI Hub, and added into that app the various HARDI events that take place throughout the year.

The HARDI Hub app is extremely easy to use and is a great way for attendees to better network with one another throughout this event and any others they may attend.

Q: Please share with our readers how they can register?

DeBoer: Members can go to our website and register at http://hardinet.org/marketing-and-sales/. Or if they are not able to visit the site and want to get signed up right away, they can give us a call at HARDI HQ, 888.253.2128. We can take care of it for you.

Q: If someone is on the fence and undecided about attending this focus forum, what do you say to him or her?

DeBoer: One thing I would mention is that this year, we are building in another benefit to the event. HARDI will have some of our service vendor members setting up onsite on the last day of the event to showcase what their organizations offer our members. This will be a smaller version of our annual conference’s solution center, which helps many of our members in marketing and sales roles by offering services that help them improve their daily functions.

This is the first time that something like this will be built into our smaller event, and I hope that those in attendance choose to take advantage of this face-to-face time.

Chris DeBoer is HARDI's marketing manager. Contact him at 614-345-4328, cdeboer@hardinet.org or visit www.hardinet.org.