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This Week in IDEA | September 23, 2011

Our eNewsletter, This Week in IDEA, keeps you informed with the latest news and education about IDEA, our solutions and services, and our customers and partners. IDEA’s knowledgeable staff and other contributing writers share insights, resources and special offers to help you Unleash the power of e. Subscribe now to receive This Week in IDEA in your email inbox every other Thursday and add our RSS feed to your reader.


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“Catapulting the Curve” – Drive Business Growth with eCommerce

Content courtesy of tED magazine.

Sonia Coleman, marketing and web consultant, interviews the current and past IDEA chairs, Larry Stern, president of Standard Electric Supply, and Del Nickel, past president of Pentair Technical Products for an exclusive feature story in the September issue of tED magazine. Stern and Nickel share their insight into where the industry stands on innovation, technology trends and fears, the Industry Data Warehouse (IDW) and new IDEA technology solutions. They also address concerns of cost and time when investing in new technology but make the case for immediate adoption and full support.

Q: Technology is the talk everywhere, from smart phones to social media. What impact do you see these trends having on the future of the electrical industry?
Stern: That’s where the world is today, and the electrical industry is no different. The issue is recognizing the importance of these technologies on our industry and taking action as it’s requested – and even demanded – by customers.
Nickel: I believe both manufacturers and distributors are behind the curve. We’re just reacting when we need to be anticipating. Young people aren’t going to use print catalogs. They want mobile computing and online acces to information from any place at any time. It’s a trend that’s here to stay and will accelerate. 

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10 Twitter Tips

By Jennifer Yi, Marketing Coordinator, IDEA

Like learning to ride a bicycle, using Twitter has a fast learning curve once you get over the first few falls. If you’re new to Twitter, these 10 tips will help form the foundation for a solid launch.

The exciting thing about social media and Twitter is that it is constantly evolving in an organic response to how people choose to use it. We’ll keep you updated with the latest in future articles.

In the meanwhile, some great resources for exploring the nuances of Twitter can be found on these sites: Social Media Examiner and Mashable.

Top 10 Tips to Help You Get Started with Twitter:
  1. Set up your Account with a Photo (recommended dimensions of 125 x 124 pixels) and a Description (limited to 160 characters). You can also choose to keep the default Background, select one of Twitter’s templates, or create a custom version.
  2. Tweets are the messages that you post to your profile and are limited to an 140 character limit. Twitter also allows private Messages to be sent to individual users. Applications such as TweetResponder allow you to send messages to multiple followers at once. Example tweet: Video Interview on How Twitter Helps a Company Manage Its #Reputation » Via @smexaminer #socialmedia #NetworkSolutions 
  3. Shorten your Links to conserve space. and TweetDeck are two ways to do so. Example: becomes 
  4. Follow other users to have their tweets appear on your Home Page in a chronological newsfeed. Followers are users who follow you. Click the top link Who to Follow to search for users. To get started, you can take a look at who and other industry organization such as and follow. 
  5. Mentions can be used at the beginning of a tweet to indicate a reply to another user or show the source of the information, message, or link in a tweet. Example: @IDEAeSolutions Thanks for the follow! 
  6. Retweets are the tweets of other users which you share on your account either by clicking the Retweet symbol (located under the tweet) or pasting the tweet into your own. Example: RT @IDEAeSolutions: How will the #Epicor-#Activant integration affect #distributors? Latest issue of #ModernDi… Read more 
  7. Hashtags are keywords with a hash symbol (#) in front. Anyone can create a hashtag by adding # . Tags are searchable and linkable with a myriad of subtle uses humorously explained in this New Yorker article. Trending Topics are popular tags used at a high frequency. is a catalog of trending, new, and popular tags. Example: #ebizforum 
  8. Promoted Tweets are company-sponsored tweets. Twitter has a great . 
  9. Search allows you to look up tweets using keywords (and hashtags). can be saved by clicking on the “Save this search” button so you can keep tabs on particular keywords. Example: green, lighting, distributors, manufacturers 
  10. Lists help you organize your followers into groups. Clicking on a specific list will show you tweets only from users in that group. Example: electrical, lighting, distributor, manufacturer

Any more tips you’d like to share? Share your own experience with Twitter in the comments.

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Tech Center Exhibitors and Forum Contests

The Tech Center will bring together a wide array of exhibitors presenting innovative solutions:
  • Epicor Software Solutions – a global leader delivering business software solutions to the manufacturing, distribution, retail and services industries.
  • Unilog Content Solutions – India’s leading catalog management and data cleansing company.
  • IBM Smarter Commerce – a solution integrating and transforming how companies manage and adapt their buy, market, sell, fulfill, and service processes.
  • DATAgility – a data management service company enabling companies to maintain and improve their competitiveness, efficiencies, and profitability through the implementation of cost effective solutions.
  • Infor – the third largest provider of enterprise application and services engineered for speed, using ground-breaking technology, and offering flexible deployment options.
  • 1SYNC– a Product Data Management solutions provider helping industries maximize the value of accurate data synchronization using GS1 Global Standards.
  • Alpine Consulting – an eCommerce solution provider centered around “client success” and with expertise in B2B & B2C in the electrical manufacturing, wholesale and distribution industry.
  • Aspect – a leading Microsoft solution provider enabling productivity gains by deploying scalable technology solutions that align employees with critical business processes. 
  • Computer Pundits – the developer of eCommerce21 storefront, Catalo­g Builder, and catalog-ready content for wholesale distributors and manufacturers.
  • EDI Specialists – a premier staffing and services provider that delivers solutions and services in the areas of e-Commerce, EDI, EAI, Microsoft Technologies, and IT. 
  • Faxinating Solutions – a solutions provider that helps companies leverage their EDI investments and extend compliancy to non-EDI trading partners. 
  • MCA Associates – a team of senior consultants providing idea and lean thinking leadership to distribution and manufacturing companies that are committed to operational excellence. 
  • RepFiles – a mobile applications provider dedicated to increasing efficiency, preparedness and success by placing sales and marketing material into the field and closer to the customer.
  • Sales Management Plus (SMP) – a CRM & Analytics solution that is cost-effective, powerful, and easy-to-use as well as able to work with your existing business system.
  • TechniCon – the developer of a web-based platform to transform and manage complex product information. 
  • Third Eye Consulting Services & Solutions LLC. – an experienced provider of next-generation customized Internet software solutions for accessing critical information securely and reliably.

Forum attendees can visit and collect stamps from the 18 exhibitors as part of the Tech Center Passport Program. Three people will win a new iTouch with Facetime.

Also, during general sessions, speakers will throw out baseballs each time attendees share experiences and ask questions. Attendees can bring their baseballs to the Prize Giveaway to enter a raffle and win 1 of 5 Starbucks Gift Cards.

Twitter will be a resource during the Forum for instant updates and answers to commonly asked questions. If you aren’t able to be there, you can tweet questions for speakers and we’ll respond with the answers. Attendees can also mention and use hashtag #ebizforum in the most value-added tweets about Forum educational sessions or the Tech Center to win a new iPad 2.

Winners must be present to be awarded their prizes. All winners will be announced at 3:00 PM on Wednesday, Sept. 28th in Grand Ballroom C-G at the E-Biz Forum.

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Connect with the People at IDEA

Our new “About Us” page on the IDEA website profiles our Board of Directors and IDEA Directors. Learn about their unique backgrounds and experiences and find contact information to quickly access our Directors. IDEA is proud to have a Board that shares a common vision with our leadership team —to anticipate and deliver innovative B2B eCommerce solutions and services that help companies from diverse backgrounds compete, thrive, and profit in an increasingly competitive global economy.

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New Synchronization Customers

As a 1SYNC Data Pool On-Board Solution (OBS) partner, IDEA implements suppliers that subscribe to the 1SYNC data pool using the IRD CERICOMX® Data Synchronization Platform. IDEA was recently assigned 17 suppliers:

Planetary Distribution, Inc.
Simpson Ventures, Inc.
Almar Sales Co.
Lighting Partners Jax, Inc.
Lumos, Inc.
Gordini USA, Inc.
Flanigan Farms, Inc.
BAWLS Acquisition, LLC
Scherba Industries, Inc.
Swann Communications USA, Inc.
SP Enterprises, Inc.
The Moscoe Group
Lyric Culture
North Shore Greenhouses, Inc.
Hammary Furniture
Maxim Marketing Corporation
EE & P, Inc.

These companies will be trained to use IRD CERICOMX®, an online catalog that suppliers use to register product data with the GS1 Registry® and GDSN via the 1SYNC Data Pool. Suppliers also use this solution to publish product data to demand partners including retailers such as Lowe’s and Walmart.

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