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Guide To Success

Developed by members of the Membership and Conferences Subcommittee of the NACDS Retail Advisory Board for first-time attendees and long-time participants, who are interested in maximizing their opportunities at the NACDS Annual Meeting.

Meeting Format

During the strategic exchange appointments, it is common to see senior executives of major retail and pharmacy organizations meet with their counterparts from leading CPG or pharmaceutical companies. The meetings are vibrant, the exchanges are sometimes animated, and the results can be profound.

Who Attends?

Attendance at the Annual Meeting is comprised of the senior management team responsible for operating the business including: marketing, merchandising, supply chain, operations, pharmacy, digital and related functions in both CPG and pharmacy, and their associate member/supplier counterparts.


Specific appointments between retailers and manufacturers, with preset agendas, are recommended and are normally made well in advance of the meeting. In order to maximize the meeting’s value, plan on starting early, attending every function you can, and staying through the entire event. We encourage associate members to contact the specific companies and individuals you would like to meet with during the Annual Meeting.

Advance Tips

  • Start your planning early – now! Become familiar with the Schedule and start building your agenda.
  • Determine who you want to meet with and what you want to accomplish with them. Check the Participants page frequently for new attendees and their contact information. Familiarize yourself with the attendee and their company and make sure you are meeting with the right person.
  • If the company you want to meet with has not yet registered, check the previous year’s attendee list on the Participants page. It could be that the company/individual has not yet registered and an invitation from you might remind them to register.
  • When you invite someone to meet with you, have a concise proposition and tell them up front what the potential opportunity could mean to their business.
  • If you are unknown to the attendee, call for the appointment yourself; it’s much more productive than having an assistant do it. Be prepared to answer the hard question, “How will we benefit from meeting with you?”
  • If you have a broker, or an independent sales and marketing firm relationship, ask them to help you set appointments.
  • If you are a smaller, less well-established company, consider engaging with a broker. We can assist you with a list of current Sales & Marketing Companies and Manufacturer Representatives.
  • Extend dinner invitations and make reservations well in advance of the meeting. You can always reduce the number for the reservation or cancel.

Strategic Exchange Appointment Tips

  • Start early soliciting appointments – now is not too early.
  • Develop a convincing proposition for each company as to why they will benefit from a meeting with you.
  • Establish an individually specific agenda for each meeting.
  • Make sure you have done your homework on the retailer. Check out their website, download their app, and learn as much as you can about the company.
  • Obtain bios of key executives you do not know and be prepared to send bios of your executives to the individual(s) with whom you have an appointment.
  • Develop a “one-pager” summarizing the important points about your company, key products, point of difference, and any performance matrices that set you apart from your competition.
  • Consider room-dropping an advance thank you for a planned meeting to remind the person of the appointment or an after meeting thank you to recap what was accomplished.
  • Take notes and follow-up after the meeting – this may be your most critical success factor.
  • Ask for a mobile phone number from the companies you have appointments with, should there be schedule changes or location changes.

Download the NACDS Events App

Navigate NACDS Meetings and Conferences like a pro with the mobile app, developed to enhance attendee experience.

With the NACDS Events app, users can:

  • Get the most up-to-date conference information and personalize your schedule.
  • Search for participating companies, bookmark favorites and navigate based on your location.
  • Access social media to keep up on all the buzz surrounding the event.
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Register For

Annual Meeting

It is the opportunities. It is the results. It is the relationships. It is the member service. All Chain and Associate Members in good standing with NACDS are invited to register and attend the Annual Meeting.