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DSRs Take Note: The NAVC Conference Becomes VMX Starting in 2018

By Pam Foster
March, 2017

We realize that most veterinary DSRs (distribution sales reps) do not attend the NAVC Conference each year. Instead, while the conference is happening, you and many of your colleagues are out around the country — in your sales territories — working with practice teams to help them discover new solutions, replenish their supplies, and run the business side of their clinics. Vet Advantage image: the NAVC Conference is becoming VMX (Veterinary Meeting & Expo) starting in 2018.

Therefore, it’s quite possible that you missed the big news last month when NAVC Chief Executive Officer Tom Bohn announced that the NAVC Conference is becoming VMX (Veterinary Meeting & Expo) starting in 2018.

In a live announcement and press release issued during the NAVC Conference 2017, Tom explained, “The new VMX brand identity was created to better represent what the conference has evolved into as well as allow for future growth. We felt it was time to allow both the NAVC and the conference to have their own, yet connected identities. We are excited about all of the opportunities that this name change will provide us for future conferences, ensuring that we continue to evolve our offerings to the industry's needs.”Vet Advantage image: Did your customers visit the NAVC Conference Exhibit Hall? Ask what they saw and what they may want to order.


Danna Miller from the NAVC told us, “The meeting portion of the new VMX name encompasses all of the world-class educational offerings that the event offers, while the expo illustrates the exhibit, sponsorship and partnership components.” 

The NAVC (North American Veterinary Community) has become much more than the world’s largest CE learning event and industry tradeshow; the annual conference season kickoff event. Actually, just a few years ago, the NAVC changed the focus of the C in the name to Community, with the NAVC Conference becoming the organization’s largest educational event and one of the main components of the Community. 

Today, the NAVC offers:

  • The NAVC Institute, offering world class, hands-on, “total immersion” laboratories,
  • VetFolio, the industry’s one-stop resource platform for professional and personal advancement under a new way of learning—Continuous Education,
  • NAVC Live, new “case theater” presentations around the country. The first is happening in Portland, Oregon,
  • NAVC Discovery (modeled after the NAVC Institute), an immersive, hands-on learning event in Buffalo, New York,
  • The VIC (Veterinary Innovation Council), the first industry-wide veterinary organization to focus on positive change and push the envelope for innovative solutions,
  • Its Industry Services Division, providing association management services for veterinary organizations,
  • Spark! — a new television news platform for veterinary professionals, and…
  • A growing publishing presence with its official journals, Today’s Veterinary Practice and Today’s Veterinary Technician. AND — as you may know by now, the NAVC and Veterinary Advantage Magazine jointly announced that Vet-Advantage and the Fountain report are now part of the NAVC… and together they are launching Today’s Veterinary Business with a debut issue coming out in August. These exciting developments make the NAVC the veterinary industry’s largest publisher.

Chris Kelly, President and Publisher of Veterinary Advantage, said, “We’re extremely proud and excited to become part of the NAVC and its reputation as a leading global institution for veterinary excellence. Now we can reach more practices and industry professionals, supporting their business success.” 

What can you expect from the new VMX next year… and how does it affect you?

Under the new VMX identity, the annual conference will continue to offer world-class continuing education, top-tier entertainment, unparalleled networking opportunities, innovative product launches, and a large and diverse exhibit hall. 

Earlier this year, the conference and exhibit hall was moved to the Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) in Orlando, providing more space for educational sessions and exhibits. Its total audience reached 17,139 veterinary professionals, broken out into these groups:

  • 6,834 Veterinarians
  • 1,757 Veterinary Technicians
  • 553 Practice Managers
  • 314 Support Staff
  • 722 Students
  • 4,855 Exhibitors (from 721 Exhibiting Companies)
  • 1,995 Family & Guests
  • 109 Media

With much more space available in the OCCC, the NAVC is making plans to further provide new and innovative opportunities and products to attendees. 

Now, how this all affects you.

You want to be aware of what’s happening with the NAVC Conference — and VMX — because some or even many of your customers attended the event this year and heard the big news. It’s important to be in the loop so you can discuss it with customers.

Here’s why this topic should be part of your sales-call strategy.

First, some of your customers may have just earned their CE (Continuing Education) credit hours at the Conference, and will plan to go to VMX. This is important to you because it gives you clues into what customers are thinking about: the must-see topics and hands-on laboratories for them.

Ask them, which sessions did you attend? How will you be changing any of your protocols as a result? This may lead to a conversation about protocol-related supplies or equipment.

In addition, you can assume customers who earned their CE at the NAVC also walked the trade show floor and discovered new techniques, tools and technologies for better medicine and practice management.

You can (SHOULD!) ask them: “Did you walk away with a wish list of products to buy? Were there special Conference deals you should be taking advantage of NOW?”

See where we’re going with this? 

Let’s look at a couple of scenarios.

  • Perhaps one of your customers attended an all-day pain management symposium. Do you have products that support the latest pain-management protocols? Yes, you do… and if you know your customer has pain management at the top of her mind, now’s the time to talk about those products. 
  • Maybe one of your customers saw a super-cool demo on a new laser technique or tool while visiting the Conference trade show. If you know about this (if you asked your customer what he discovered on the trade show floor), you’re likely to be the one to place the order for that new laser equipment.

Now, we’re talking about the recent 2017 event… but we’re also thinking ahead, on your behalf, to 2018. 

It’s always a great idea to know what’s happening in the industry and then bring it home to your customers with a discussion about what they’re seeing and experiencing at conferences and trade shows. Then you’re always prepared to have the right products available at the right time. Everyone wins, yes?

To learn more about the new VMX, visit NAVC.com/VMX.

Topics: Conferences and Trade Shows, NAVC, VMX

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