The ECA: A Delivery Industry Alliance MarketPlace is the premier “speed dating” event for shippers who need transportation and delivery capacity, along with back-up capacity; and for carriers who are looking to grow. The ultimate goal? Design the framework for matching shippers to carriers and assure that freight is delivered accurately and on-time to its final destination.
Over the 2-day ECA MarketPlace event, shippers and carriers are matched according to ECA’s proprietary software, taking into account extensive member profiles and how each party rates the other in terms of desirability for a meeting. Shippers meet with carriers in 1-1 meetings for fifteen minutes each to forge and strengthen their business relationships. At MarketPlace 2019, over 500 attendees participated in more than 5,000 meetings over 48 hours!
Vendors who provide valuable services to the delivery industry are present on the exhibit floor and available for meetings to discuss their unique services. In today’s market of tight capacity, supply chain issues, and a driver shortage, it’s more important than ever to form new relationships, strengthen current ones, and develop contingency plans for your transportation solutions.
Our recent blog post, Shippers and Carriers Find “The One” During Speed Dating at the ECA MarketPlace, explains more of the background on this annual ECA extravaganza..
There’s a lot to know before, during, and after the event, especially if you want to maximize your return-on-investment. Here’s a how-to guide to get you started on best practices for a successful 2-days with the ECA. We will go into detail on each of these tips below.
- Register for the ECA MarketPlace
- Submit your profile
- Rate the carriers
- Attend ALL meetings on your schedule
- Develop your elevator pitch
- Follow up after MarketPlace
Register for the ECA MarketPlace
Registration for the ECA MarketPlace is underway. The registration deadline is March 11. Now is the time to reserve your place! Click here to register or choose from the MarketPlace options on the ECA navigation menu.
Submit Your Profile
Once you’ve registered, it‘s essential to write and submit your profile. Please click on the red Member Cental Login button at the top right of the ECA homepage. Log in to your company profile to update all fields in your profile. If you do not update every field, your information will not be saved. You can always go back and change information if something has changed. When the profile is up-to-date and accurate, the ECA’s computer matching algorithm is effective. As a shipper, your profile describes what type of freight you ship, where you are in need of carriers for delivery services, and what specific types of transportation, warehousing, or special services you need.
Your profile will be visible to all carriers who will then rate you in terms of importance and desirability to meet with you. A carrier’s rating of you is typically based on their service expertise, capacity, geographic footprint, and how those characteristics intersect with your delivery needs. Shippers, filling out your profile is the most important thing you can do to ensure you have a powerhouse meeting agenda. After registration, your top priority to maximize your ROI at ECA MarketPlace is to complete your profile! (Pro tip: When filling out your profile, enter the correct email address where you’d like to receive the carrier profiles to rate.)
Rate the Carriers
The rating process, although simple, is a critical part of preparing for ECA MarketPlace. After registration, you will be emailed a list of carrier profiles. Read through the profiles and do more research on carriers who may match your delivery needs. ECA is excited to offer shippers a new matching report during the online rating process to assist you with this essential step! You will rate each carrier on a 1-to-5 scale. Think of the rating process similar to rating a hotel or restaurant, the more stars the better. A 5-star rating indicates you enthusiastically want to meet with a carrier. A 1-star rating indicates you do not think your needs will much intersect with the carriers offerings.
Remember, the carriers are rating you in return. If you rate a company as a 1, they may still rate you as a 5. It’s likely you may have a few meetings with carriers who you rate low. However, if you do not fill out your profile and complete your ratings in a comprehensive manner, you may not receive the fully maximized benefits of attending ECA MarketPlace and could potentially receive several meetings that do not align with your business needs. By updating your profile and rating carriers in an educated manner, you are well on your way to a successful two days of meetings.
Attend ALL Meetings on Your Schedule
You will receive a meeting schedule on the first day of MarketPlace when you check-in at the registration desk. Every meeting on your schedule should be treated with the same amount of importance. If you are scheduled to meet with a carrier that you already do business with, use your 15-minute meeting to strengthen that bond and continue to develop the positive relationship you have formed. (If you find you do not have meetings scheduled with all the carriers you want to connect with, then take advantage of the MarketPlace networking opportunities!) It’s crucial for the integrity of ECA MarketPlace that you attend all meetings on your schedule. Whether a meeting is the first one on the first day, or the last one on the last day, a successful ECA MarketPlace requires that every meeting is attended. After all, you never know when that “special someone” speed dating moment will occur! And it’s likely you will discover unexpected benefit from the meetings with carriers you initially rated low.
Develop Your Elevator Pitch
In advance of ECA MarketPlace, polish (or develop) your short “elevator pitch” describing what services you are looking for from carriers and where. Your pitch can include some key aspects from your profile, such as:
- The type of freight you ship
- Where you ship and are in need of carriers
- Any special transportation, warehousing, or data services you require
Physically Prepare for a Packed 48-72 Hours
The ECA MarketPlace is a powerhouse event with opportunity after opportunity to develop your business. We want you to arrive prepared for this busy and energetic event!
- Bring plenty of business cards and other marketing materials you find essential.
- Wear comfortable shoes!
- Drink plenty of water and ensure you are refueling throughout the day.
Follow Up After MarketPlace
Make a commitment after MarketPlace to schedule and conduct follow up meetings. The 15-minute meetings during the event are about establishing possibilities to conduct meaningful business. The post-MarketPlace follow ups are when the possibilities become significant realities. Do the follow ups!
The ECA, A Delivery Industry Alliance looks forward to a great MarketPlace with you this April 11 – 13 at the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort in Tucson, AZ! Taking these simple but important steps assures a fully maximized, successful MarketPlace 2022 and an event ROI you can easily prove!