The Dead Pixels Society podcast

Virtual IPIC update with Brenda DiVincenzo

July 23, 2020 Gary Pageau Season 1 Episode 12
The Dead Pixels Society podcast
Virtual IPIC update with Brenda DiVincenzo
The Dead Pixels Society podcast
Virtual IPIC update with Brenda DiVincenzo
Jul 23, 2020 Season 1 Episode 12
Gary Pageau

Gary Pageau welcomes back Brenda DiVincenzo, vice president of member success, at the IPI Member Network. Brenda shares the latest changes to the IPIC Conference. Now in a virtual format, the Aug. 23-26 "Breakthrough" conference will have many of the features of the IPI annual convention, but now through the Whova app. Attendees will be able to watch sessions as they happen and engage in online discussions and social activities.

The event focuses on topics that will grow sales, increase profits, reduce costs, streamline operations and create traffic for IPI retailers, labs and members. Topics should be introduced and emphasized by the use of storytelling and specifics should be relayed in the form of interactive and demonstration methods.

The people who attend IPIC represent a wide range of industry roles. Owners are encouraged to bring members of their team and family and, as registration is free to IPI members, the new virtual event is an opportunity to reach an even greater audience. Supplying partners will also be offering show specials and online training.

DiVincenzo also talks about the value of IPI membership and why industry businesses should consider joining.


Show Notes Transcript

Gary Pageau welcomes back Brenda DiVincenzo, vice president of member success, at the IPI Member Network. Brenda shares the latest changes to the IPIC Conference. Now in a virtual format, the Aug. 23-26 "Breakthrough" conference will have many of the features of the IPI annual convention, but now through the Whova app. Attendees will be able to watch sessions as they happen and engage in online discussions and social activities.

The event focuses on topics that will grow sales, increase profits, reduce costs, streamline operations and create traffic for IPI retailers, labs and members. Topics should be introduced and emphasized by the use of storytelling and specifics should be relayed in the form of interactive and demonstration methods.

The people who attend IPIC represent a wide range of industry roles. Owners are encouraged to bring members of their team and family and, as registration is free to IPI members, the new virtual event is an opportunity to reach an even greater audience. Supplying partners will also be offering show specials and online training.

DiVincenzo also talks about the value of IPI membership and why industry businesses should consider joining.


Erin Manning  0:02  
Welcome to the Dead Pixels Society podcast, the photo imaging industry's leading news source. Here's your host, Gary Pageau.

Gary Pageau  0:11  
The Dead Pixels Society podcast is brought to you by Photo Finale, Mediaclip, Advertek Inc., GotPhoto, EyeQ,, the IPI Member network and MailPix.

Hello again and welcome to the Dead Pixels Society podcast. We're joined once again where their first repeat guest; Brenda from IPI is here to talk about their upcoming IPIC Breakthrough events, how it's changed from in-person to online and in-app and some of their other programs for their membership. Hi, Brenda, how are you today?

Brenda DiVincenzo  0:54  
Fantastic, Gary, how are you?

Gary Pageau  0:56  
Good. Well, the last time we talked We I picked breakthrough was actually still going to be in person. And then COVID-19 continues to happen. And you've managed to adapt. So can you kind of brief the audience on what changes has happened? What are the new dates because I think we would have been in Las Vegas this week, if I recall, I think right now would

Brenda DiVincenzo  1:25  
have been my nap day after all of it was over. But yeah, okay, I think would have just wrapped up

Gary Pageau  1:31  
this bit. There you go. So, tell us what's changed and what's happened. And we'll go from there.

Brenda DiVincenzo  1:41  
Perfect. So obviously, meeting in person is not feasible right now, whether it's keeping people safe or travel restrictions. Also, the hotels right now are not doing any kind of conference large group gathering business. So we were unable to proceed with our conference. So We had our fingers crossed for a while. But obviously we all know that this still continues. But we have a lot of members that still need education, they still need to get together and network with each other, they still need to buy supplies for their fourth quarter. And we have a lot of supplying partners that are eager and ready to help them with their businesses. So we needed to still facilitate a way for everybody to get together. And while they can do that all year long, bringing everybody together at one time is definitely much more productive for everybody and much, much more effective. So we decided to go online.

Gary Pageau  2:37  
And oh, yeah, I mean, I mean, for your day to day interactions, the legendary, you know, ipi Forum has always been there. So can you kind of describe what the difference is between the day to day interaction that's in the form versus the education is going to be delivered through the eye pick breakthrough?

Brenda DiVincenzo  2:58  
Sure. So Typically when our members are not with us at IPIC, the rest of the year, we might do some webinar education. So you log on and there might be a little interaction, but you're watching a presentation for a set period of time, 30 minutes an hour. And then you're networking on our forum, you might pick up the phone and call some people, but you're pretty much doing all that on your own. For IPIC, we have adopted an app called Whova. It's a an event industry app for both in-person and online conferences. And what's great about it is that everything will be all in one place. So you'll be able to network in the app, you'll be able to watch all your education on the app, and you'll be able to do shop at the virtual trade show, which we can talk about all in that app. But for networking, what's different than what they would normally have is they're going to be able to meet with people right within the app so they can send each other direct messages they can set up meetings, using Their own, if they have their own zoom meeting room, all those kinds of things, but they can also schedule virtual meetups. So let's say, typically, and I pick you're walking down the hall and you see somebody that is in a similar business model, you're like, hey, let's get together. And let's go grab XYZ member, and let's get together and have lunch today. Well, you can do that in this app. So you can set up a virtual meetup. And it's all on video. So now, you're not sitting at home typing on the forum, you're sitting around table with people that you know, networking like that. We're obviously going to facilitate a lot of networking to Sure. And the education. You're in a zoom classroom now. So you're going to get that classroom feel you're going to be able to go into breakout discussions and network. Maybe the speaker will ask a question or a problem to troubleshoot and you're going to get sent into a room with a few other members come up with a solution and come back so it becomes very interactive. There will be chat and polls. And just talking to people and seeing them in person. So almost like being in person without the risk of everything that's going on in the world right now.

Gary Pageau  5:10  
And not seeing someone in a bathing suit at the pool like,

Brenda DiVincenzo  5:13  
Well, I mean, you could wear your bathing suit and do this from the pool because it's on your mobile device.

I don't know that I'm recommending that.

Gary Pageau  5:23  
We not something a lot of people would want to partake in at this point.

Brenda DiVincenzo  5:28  
Evening sessions will live.

Gary Pageau  5:30  
So yes. So tell us a little bit about like the, you know, time commitment with this. I think we had a discussion at one point, or I saw in the webinar at some point that you're actually talking about, Hey, you know what, don't do this in the store, be separate from your retail location so you can really dedicate the time and the attention to this like you would if you were in there, if you were there in person. Can you talk a little bit about

Brenda DiVincenzo  6:00  
Sure, so. It's still a three-day event. However, it's three half days. And you don't have to travel. You don't have to sleep in a hotel room. So your cost, is free. But also you don't have the time commitment. When you go to IPIC. Let's say, you're gone for five days here, you're gone for three half days, right? So it's a little bit less. You can split things up among your team members. So maybe everybody doesn't have to go to everything because now it doesn't cost you extra money to send extra people who you really wanted to have participating

Gary Pageau  6:36  
was always the thing. I would see it and I pick as somebody would say something like, Oh, I really need to bring this stuff back to my lab manager, right, my whatever.

Brenda DiVincenzo  6:45  
So we're recommending that people treat it like a real conference. They they go home or they go somewhere where they can have some some focus and some privacy so they can really network. They can be on camera, they can interact. But we're also recommending Hey, broadcast it on a TV screen in the back of your business and have everybody there participating on your team. There's all different kinds of ways to do it. And I know that people have to work and have to do things. It's just like when they're at IPIC people are going to be on their phone. So I know that there's distractions. But it's three days, what we did is we were starting in the afternoon for the East Coast. So that way, East Coast people, they can kind of do some business in the morning, and then tune into IPIC in the afternoon, evening. People on the west coast will kind of be midday. And then that also allowed most time zones in Australia to be able to maybe get up a little early but join us for most of of your activities so that way, we were able to pretty much fit almost all of our membership into a comfortable time bracket for it.

Gary Pageau  7:54  
Because that is one of the aspects of I picked that I think is You know, important is the international aspect. You have members in how many countries now?

Brenda DiVincenzo  8:06  
Uh, we have aside from the US, we have Canada, Mexico. We also have Australia, New Zealand, and our Aruba. 

Gary Pageau  8:16  
I saw that touch on that I saw free. Exactly, yeah.

So that's great. You can try and accommodate all those folks. So can you walk me through kind of what say for example, you're not in? You're not a member of VIP member network at the moment? And would this be a good way to kind of test drive the content and what in what does that entail?

Brenda DiVincenzo  8:43  
Oh, my goodness, this would be great for you. Um, so ipi is actually a very approachable organization to join because dues are $100 a month. They recur on a monthly basis, and you can cancel at any time. So usually, whenever I talk to anybody about being Remember, like, give it a try, really, you can try membership for a month for $100 and see if you like it or not. And in 12 years, I've only ever had one person that's only stayed a month. So I think we're providing enough value. That's, that's important. And this year, you don't have to spend the additional cost to get on an airplane to stay in a hotel so you can experience the networking, the education, see what our supplying partners are about, for $100 a month, and we'd be we'd be happy to have you.

Gary Pageau  9:32  
So you could just go on to the ipi member network site, which is ipi and just apply for a membership right there.

Brenda DiVincenzo  9:42  
Or they can email me directly. That's a good way to

Gary Pageau  9:45  
know what and what is your email,

Brenda DiVincenzo  9:47

Gary Pageau  9:50  
Well, that makes it really easy.

So can you talk a little bit about how the education is broken out? I mean, you have different You know, like a lot of conferences, you seems like you have different tracks, right? Something for production for the owners for marketing can talk a little bit about that and who may be speaking.

Brenda DiVincenzo  10:10  
Sure. So we have different types of education. So all of our supplying partners are able to have demonstrations, have their equipment or teach people, maybe it's software and they're going to walk you through on your computer, how to set something up software wise. We have general sessions where we'll give information that's important to everyone. Usually, that's more business and marketing related. And then we have breakout sessions and networking discussions. That's where you're going to pick a topic for that time period, maybe five things are offered, you're going to pick one thing, go to that session. It's going to be marketing production operations. It could be something very specific for managers or owners. Lots of stuff this year on archiving business to business and anything online. online presence because as we know, with COVID, and as we talked about last time, those are really the three big areas where we know there's growth, right? So people will will do that everything is being recorded. So if you wanted to attend four things at once, you'll just watch those four recordings later that day or the next day or the next week. whatever fits into your schedule. So that makes it really accessible for everyone. So really, right now all of our speakers are supplying partners that have customers that have great success in an area or our members who are seeing great success or have triumphs through everything that has been going on this year. We've really kind of kept it mostly within our group. So far, I think one of the only external speakers we have is a brilliant guy that's going to talk about Google ads and how to maximize your online advertising and presence because I think that's really important and that's not something that we necessarily have expertise with within our group yet.

Gary Pageau  12:02  
So what are the exact dates of the conference?

Brenda DiVincenzo  12:07  
Sure. So the three days are the 24th through the 26th of August, so about five weeks from now, Oh, that makes me nervous. Five weeks from now. And the evening before, we'll have a little networking activity orientation, and also the Wednesday prior to IPIC. We'll do a similar thing. That way people can get used to the technology, if you haven't re used the app yet. If you've never been on a zoom call before, which I think by now all of us have been on lots of zoom calls, but never never had that experience. We're going to make sure you know how to use the app. You know how to shop tradeshow booths, you know how to attend sessions and you know, how to network with people so that when people get there, they know what to do and they don't have to struggle through technology issues.

Gary Pageau  12:55  
Speaking of the Supplying Partner trade show, can you kind of talk a little bit about that because that's always been a large focal point of the event is the two half-days I think has been the format the last few years where it's you know, not a huge booths but you know, you know the the 10 by 10 types and some are larger obviously. So is it going to be the same Suppling Partners, some new ones, how is that gonna work?

Brenda DiVincenzo  13:24  
We did have a few new ones that came on since our last in-person conference so this will be their IPIC  with us just doing it online. Within Whova you have an exhibitor list with exhibitor booths. What it is, is a very robust directory. Whenever you click on an exhibitor, you can either search by category, their name, or just get an alphabetical list right into their booth. They'll have recorded videos there, they'll have their trade show specials, which we know that's kind of our best pricing of the year and I picked so that's still available for members within their booths. If they're doing a live demonstration, that time is in there and the link to watch that demonstration. Once that has happened live, it becomes a recorded video that they'll have access to as well. So if they miss it live into something else, they'll be able to catch that later. And they'll also be able to contact people in the booth, they can chat with them right there in the booth, or they can go out to that person's personal profile and set up a one on one meeting with them direct message them privately. Really, as much as we could simulate being in person without in person.

Gary Pageau  14:42  
So will there be virtual breath mints, or...

Brenda DiVincenzo  14:47  
maybe we need to send those out to people that's a great idea. 

Gary Pageau  14:51  
Virtual pens and tchotchkes and flashlights and kitchens and all the other stuff you pick up at the show. Bring it home and you're like why did I pick this up? going with it. Yeah.

Brenda DiVincenzo  15:00  
Why did I have to bring it back on the airplane? I know. So we're, we're, we're excited about the fact that, you know, members will be there supplying partners will be able to show members all that they're able to do, I think being able to do demonstrations just like they do in their booth able to, you know, sometimes people don't see that. But now it's going to be archived because it'll be recorded. I think it gives it a little bit of a longer lifespan. We're also bringing back our trade show raffle that we did last year, I have never seen people go so crazy to spend money before. But so far, we have $15,000 worth of prizes to give away their printers and I mean, it's it's big stuff. It's not a bunch of little stuff. It's it's really great prizes. And so the more you spend, the more chances you get to win and you actually get to pick which prizes you want to enter in. Nice. And so that that was great for us last year. So we're going to do that again. Just online. Like everything else.

Gary Pageau  16:01  
So, are the Supplying Partners, guaranteed during trade show hours to have somebody live there? During Yeah, sort of the appeal of doing it during show hours is because there's gonna be someone to answer questions and have a chat with as opposed to, after the things archived and on the web and lives there for however long many months or years, you know, they won't have that energy, that that interchange,

Brenda DiVincenzo  16:31  
So what we're telling people is that as long as they contact a supplying partner between 10am and 4pm Pacific on those three days, that someone live will get back to them right away. And they'll be able to set up appointments and all that stuff. Now, hopefully, it's so busy that, you know, it might get a little jammed up we hope but, but the content on the site will live we can keep our app live for at least up to a year. So that content will will stay there longer. But yeah, we're definitely saying that within those three days during those time slots that they'll definitely have access to everyone live.

Gary Pageau  17:10  
Yeah. So you mentioned before archiving, yes, as something that is kind of still a big business for the IPI members. Seeing this for years, and it seems like it's just continues to grow and can easily be there. He just an aside, since we talked about it before the call, he talked a little bit about your efforts as an organization to raise the awareness of IPI members about the archiving market.

Brenda DiVincenzo  17:44  
Yeah, absolutely. So since the last time we spoke, we launched our archiving micro site or a marketing site specifically for archiving. It's called It's a directory where you can consumer would go to find a local archiver near them with the appeal and the marketing being, don't ship that stuff off. That stuff is so important to you, you, you don't want to risk putting it in a box and sending it somewhere out of your control. So drop it off at a store, have a store, come pick it up from you. Now we have so many different contact lists options, even though it's still going to stay local within your town. So right now we have the site up members have been able to go in and update their profiles, make sure everything is is good there people can search and it's all our members all over the world, not just the US members.

Gary Pageau  18:39  
But is Aruba on there?

Brenda DiVincenzo  18:42  
You can go do all your archiving in Aruba if you want to.

But if you're in a hurry, yeah.

So right now we're working on putting lots of SEO and advertising behind it. So working with Google ads, Facebook ads, so that we're driving, archiving business And then all of our members are benefiting from, you know, those those marketing efforts.

Gary Pageau  19:06  
So, is there a set type of services they have to offer to be included in this? For example, do they have to do full scrapbook-sized pages? Or can they do just negative scanning? Is there..?

Brenda DiVincenzo  19:21  
Yes, a word as long as they do some kind of either scanning or transferring in-house to make it a local archiving situation. Obviously, not all of our members do everything in-house because sometimes you get some very specialty items. And that's something they'd have to disclose to a customer and talk them through that they might have a recommendation of someone else that does it. Or they might say, look, this is how I handle these pieces, but they have to do some sort of scanning or transferring in house to be on the site.

Gary Pageau  19:52  
Yeah, because I mean, I know you've been looking at your exhibitor list at IPIC. There's a couple firms here that do transfer because it's oddball film or it's a video format that doesn't, you know, it's hard. You can't get the tape decks forward anymore or anything like that. Yeah, that makes sense. No cool, but that but it's really not. It's not like a, you know, hard and fast franchise-type thing where you have to have these checkbox services to be listed on the site, you just have to be a local provider of services who provide archiving services.

Brenda DiVincenzo  20:27  

Gary Pageau  20:29  
Cool. Cool. Well, that's exciting. So what's been the response from the membership to the revised IPIC Breakthrough format?

Brenda DiVincenzo  20:41  
I think people are excited to see how it's going to work. It's definitely something that you know, no one knows. At least within our group. We haven't really done this before. So I think people are excited to see how it's gonna work. I know I mean, look, a lot of our members I pick is their week to go hang out with their friend's on vacation and enjoy learning and hanging out and having fun with their friends. So we're going to try to do as much of that as possible but I know people are disappointed that they can't go in person. So I promise next year when all of this is far behind us, right because we're putting our very positive excited faces on we're going to have an amazing in person event at Red Rock resort and we will make sure that we get all that pool and beer bar networking time that everybody loves because we can only replicate that so much in a virtual format.

Gary Pageau  21:35  
Yeah, that was a big change actually for this year because you've been at the M resort forever. And then you're gonna switch to Red Rock as we talked about and that was something I think a lot of people were excited Another thing I mean, the M was great. I mean not there was no knock on the on the M but I think just the change in scenery, I think would have been a welcome thing and now people have a year to anticipate

Brenda DiVincenzo  21:57  
Right and just think it will be that much cleaner when we go Right, because I don't know, because now everybody has to have everything that much cleaner.

Gary Pageau  22:06  
Oh, I plus plus, you know, the air is cleaner now because no one's traveling. So, you know, that's that's a big deal. Yeah, hopefully Yeah. Yeah, you know, got to put forth all the positive vibes you can at this point and I'm certainly, you know, pleased and excited to share the news that you know, IPIC Breakthrough is continuing to go on strong and do what you can that's kind of been the motto for 2020. Right? Do what you can and keep on going. Right?

Brenda DiVincenzo  22:34  
Exactly. And and I think all of our general educational content is really themed around all of that. So we know that business looks completely different now. And it might continue to look different, right? It might not ever be what it was. So how what do you need to make sure you're doing online, anything online presence is so important. Now. Our MSP marketing for fourth quarter will be launched IPIC will be based on how business looks. Now it's very different. It's been a very different

Gary Pageau  23:10  
Yeah, I imagine that's probably been a quite the change in just the marketing approach materials, right? Because you've had to do some materials for like, Hey, we now have curbside pickup and contactless drop-offs and things I know it's the stuff that wasn't in the marketing plan a year ago, that's for sure.

Brenda DiVincenzo  23:26  
Exactly. We also know that a lot of our members are at the age where retirement has been talked about. And now that everything is so different, a lot of people are saying maybe this is a good time to retire. And what we really want to make sure we're focusing on is do you have a good plan? Right? Do you have a way that you can sell your business so that you're you're you're not just closing your doors, we would hate to see that. So we have all kinds of solutions and education around making sure you have a good plan. What is That plan, how can we help you with your plan so that people are doing the smart thing and the thing that makes them retire happily when they're when they're ready to do that. Anything focused on growth, how to maximize your fourth quarter and how to grow next year, there definitely are opportunities. We've had so many members coming out of COVID that have been able to get into b2b sales with stuff they already do. But businesses now need more than ever communications and marketing and signage. And everybody has been able to pitch in and help do that. It's been huge for people so we need to make sure we're educating everyone on that.

Gary Pageau  24:40  
And also, I think there's sort of this, you know, shop local phenomenon, at least in the United States, where, you know, if you've got, if you're a local restaurant and you need some signage for safe, you know, social distancing that you need to put up, you might look You normally might go to Vistaprint or something, but maybe right now you're thinking, hey, I need to help my guy down the street. I'm going to provide, I'm going to give him the business or right.

Brenda DiVincenzo  25:10  
Um, I'm sure you know, most people are having to do one, you know, menus that are disposable. Yep. So that's a huge printing job for people on a regular basis that somebody needs. So there's lots and lots of opportunity there. We're also we have a lot of members now that have kind of transitioned from a retail model to either a more commercial industrial space, or maybe they're working from home or maybe, you know, there's all kinds of different, you know, kind of retail light. Yeah. And so we're making sure people, people know what those options are. Because for some people, this is the time to make the change for their business and something that we know will work in this environment might be a good choice for them. So we're making sure we have all those bases covered for education this year.

Gary Pageau  25:59  
Before we wrap up one thing we haven't talked about is the Print Refinery. Let's touch on that a little bit anything can you tell new listeners, what Print Refinery is and where it stands right now?

Brenda DiVincenzo  26:15  
Sure Print Refinery is our branded, licensed business model that IPI developed. It's a really kind of a marketing engine for your printing business. So we do everything from physical things, store, design, team training, all the things that would physically happen within your location, but also marketing. So your website, we help with your online ordering platform, we help with all of your social media marketing, your email marketing. We also spend a lot of time coaching people on their business and so if you get a little more access, a little more assistance, you definitely get a personalized One on one you know the relationship with us where we're really able to help you personally with what you need to do with your business. We also help you with your grand opening and your brand launch all kinds of stuff that that is easier if somebody else handles that's done that before. So we're able to take what we've learned with the other locations. Currently, we have seven locations. We will be opening an eighth one in Canada this year, not been announced yet, but we do have one do you have Do you have one coming up in Canada this year, so that will be fantastic. I think now people like I said, People are looking to see what they're going to do with the future in the future. And if they want a real sellable business, having a strong brand and a support system where if they were to walk away next year, and they had the new owner had a team that could help them market their business and help them wherever Maybe to do I think that's a much more sellable option. So definitely the refinery does answer that, you know, retirement and selling your business question.

Gary Pageau  28:10  
Yeah, it's almost not necessarily a turnkey operation in terms of, but in terms of handing something over to someone who maybe is not doesn't have the long history in the industry, like so many of the ipi members do but maybe they're interested in photography or printing or graphics, and they want to, you know, take a plunge but they don't want the overhead of what are the costs licensing costs for a traditional franchise for that kind of thing? So I

Brenda DiVincenzo  28:40  
think I think our people have either they're ready for a remodel or a move and they don't know what to do. Right. They struggle with marketing, having a full marketing kind of engine. I think what it's really great for which we have a couple of these few of these members now, but I'm hoping we get more as his camera story. where their passion lies with their camera side of their business, right? And then they're making money and have profits coming in on their printing side of the business. We would love to help them grow that even more. They can focus on their passion, we can focus on our passion and really make a great partnership. So I think that's a great solution for people to that sounds great.

Gary Pageau  29:21  
Well, I'm Brenda, thank you so much for joining me today. I will be joining you virtually everyone else will to download the app and be now you can just get to the register, you can just go to conference dot ipi photo comm i think is probably the best way to do that.

Brenda DiVincenzo  29:45  
Yeah, so if you're already a member, you're able to get in and do that. If you're not email me, we'll get you signed up as a member and then you'll have access to get into the actual when you get to registration will ask you to login so you'll need to become a member for So great. All right. Well, thank you so much for your time. Stay safe in today's times, and we'll talk to you soon. Thank you very much. This has been great again, I appreciate it.

Erin Manning  30:14  
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