t Miami's Doral Golf Resort and Spa, approximately 850 people joined NICSA this week for its 19th annual conference and golf tournament. Although the conference's keynote address filled the ballroom, both the sessions and exhibit halls were sparsely populated as many participants hit the links.
Many exhibitors passed the time talking with each other; at one point, representatives from DST
, and SunGard
gathered for a friendly coffee klatsch. While some aim to drum up new business, for the most part, exhibitors show their faces to reinforce existing client relationships. Appropriately enough, that's exactly what is for sale at a lot of booths.
Client relationship management (CRM) has become central to many products as funds work to make investors stay put. Part of the problem, however, is making firms invest in CRM and find methods that work. When asked how they make their clients understand the value of CRM, many vendors threw up their hands.
"That's the challenge," admitted one exhibitor. "That's the fun part."
PFPC and DST butted heads in the battle to over-fete attendees. PFPC offered a poolside buffet and inventive entertainment. Besides the obligatory live band, the firm offered up a palm reader, tarot reader, and a card illusionist. Despite a mid-meal rain shower, fireworks burst out over the Doral; if PFPC's own staff had kept its lips zipped, its guests wouldn't have known that the show had come courtesy of DST.
"That's not ours. It's another company with initials in their name," said Jeanette Harrison-Sullivan
, PFPC spokesperson. She shrugged, adding, "I don't feel bad; we did it last year."
DST also had a band, as well as a carnivale-style floor show resplendent with feathers and, of course, the fireworks display. Guests at both parties expected the grand finale to feature their host company's initials, but that idea will have to wait until next year.
Hopefully, the hotel will work out its issues with accommodations by that time, as many guests with reservations were moved to other hotels, including the Inter-Continental, Marriott, and Sofitel.
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