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COMMON Exhibitor Profile: An interview with BCD's Eric Figura

COMMON recently caught up with Eric Figura, Director of Sales and Marketing at Business Computer Design Int'l, Inc., a long-time exhibitor, advertiser and sponsor of COMMON, to get their unique perspective on their involvement with COMMON and how it has benefited their company, and what they've done to maximize and retain customers in today's economy.

1) How long have you been exhibiting at COMMON?

BCD has exhibited at every Expo that COMMON has ever held starting with the inaugural Expo held in Anaheim, California back in October of 1992. When COMMON changed from two conferences per year to one Annual Meeting and a fall COMMON Focus event, BCD continued to participate in both. This now makes 35 consecutive COMMON Conference / COMMON Focus Expos BCD has exhibited.

2) How has becoming a member of COMMON helped enhance your company’s success?

Becoming a COMMON member has allowed us to exhibit at every COMMON Expo as well as offer our technical staff continuing education opportunities by attending numerous COMMON sessions, both have been successful for us. In addition, we have conducted many Labs and Sessions during COMMON conferences on topics that include PHP, Rapid Web Application Development, Portal Technology, and Report and Document Distribution and Management, allowing us to offer education in our areas of expertise. To date BCD has had the honor of winning three of COMMON’s Best Traditional Lab Awards for highest rated labs as voted by COMMON members since 2004.

3) What factors most influence your company when determining whether or not to exhibit?

Some of the factors that have continued to reinforce our decision to keep participating in COMMON Expos have included: The COMMON conferences are the largest attended conferences in the IBM i marketplace, COMMON offers more sessions and labs to draw the greatest variety of prospects, and the COMMON Expo offers the largest number of attendees and most number of Expo hours, which allows us to connect with new prospects. In addition, the greatest number of BCD clients attend COMMON, more than any other conference in our marketplace by far.

4) What do you find are the most important benefits about exhibiting at COMMON?

Some of the important benefits of exhibiting at COMMON include:

  • Size of the audience, whether good or challenging economic times, COMMON delivers more attendees than any other conference.
  • COMMON members genuinely attend the Expo, visit booths and talk to the vendors.
  • People who attend COMMON have a technical wherewithal that matches up well with the profile of prospects we seek.

5) BCD also is represented on COMMON’s Expo Advisory Council (EAC). Why do you feel it is important to be part of this committee?

Being a member of COMMON’s EAC is important to BCD because it gives us an opportunity to make sure ISV (independent software vendor) concerns and recommendations are discussed and voted on during the advisory meeting. We talk with many ISVs about their concerns and needs during COMMON and outside of the event and raise these, along with ours, at the advisory council meeting. I have seen numerous recommendations come to fruition as a result of these meetings. Having attended 35 consecutive COMMON conferences and Expos, being an active ISV in the IBM i marketplace, and having a seat on IBM’s IBM i ISV Advisory board gives BCD the broad experience to contribute.

6) In today’s economy, what initiatives or creative marketing have you done differently to attract new customers?

Since the third quarter of 2008, BCD has been conducting four to five monthly educational and high level webinars on our IBM i and multi-platform modernization tools. This has been very helpful for our existing clients to expand their usage of the solutions they have acquired, has expanded the knowledgebase of those evaluating BCD solutions and as a result has expanded our client base along the way. We are now adding a new series of general industry educational webinars that will cover such topics as PHP, HTML, JavaScript and more starting September 2009. We are using our internal marketing list as well as advertising in COMMON Connector monthly newsletters and COMMON CONNECT magazine among others to promote our solutions and webinars.

7) How has sponsorship and advertising with COMMON enabled you additional exposure to the i-market?

BCD purchases a few COMMON Conference sponsorships annually and advertises monthly in COMMON Connect magazine and COMMON Connect eNewsletter. Conference sponsorships have proven to be a good value for BCD by drawing in more traffic to our booth. More people come to our booth with a sense of purpose because of the increased promotions. We include a BCD insert in the COMMON Conference Bag asking members to stop by our booth for more details on specific solutions, we advertised most recently in the COMMON Daily Newspaper in Reno, promoting our Web Enablement solution, Presto, which was successful and we participate in COMMON’s Passport to Prizes. Advertising in COMMON Connect Magazine and eNewsletter reinforces our message to our clients and prospects on a monthly basis. We meet COMMON members at the conference and help keep in front of them through monthly advertising. It is a very good combination.

8) Please share any additional thought about your company’s involvement with COMMON.

We participate in about eight to ten conferences annually and advertise with five IBM i publications and web sites. We find the value of the COMMON Conference and Expo and their advertising vehicles to be one of the better combinations available in the IBM i marketplace. Partnering with COMMON to get our message out about our IBM i and multi-platform modernization solutions to our “common” audience has been paying dividends for 35 consecutive conferences and counting.

Company Description

Reaching your IBM i Web Modernization goals is a lot closer with BCD. Integrated Solutions: Presto Web Enables green screen apps. WebSmart PHP & WebSmart ILE rapidly create IBM i & multi-platform Web Apps using templates, web services, XML, AJAX, Graphs, dashboards…. Clover Query builds real-time Web Queries & Reports with graphical drilldowns. Catapult automates Report & Document Distribution, and Nexus Portal ties it all together with security, frameworks, dashboards…. Professional services available. 10,000+ Clients & 35+ Industry Awards. Free Trials and on-demand Webinars available www.bcdsoftware.com