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Charging for seminars increases engagement, Xymogen CEO says

By Hank Schultz , 11-Sep-2013

Florida-based nutraceutical company Xymogen has announced a seminar series with an interesting twist: The company is asking participants to pay an entry fee for something that functions in part as a branding event.  But CEO Brian Blackburn has found that when participants pay, they pay attention.

“I’ve always been opposed to giving anything away for free.  You want people to commit to the conference, you want people who are engaged in the subjects,” Blackburn told NutraIngredients-USA.

The company, which markets its supplements exclusively through the practitioner channel, is asking $198 for the one day events which began on Sept. 7 and run through early 2014. Upcoming seminars are scheduled in Los Angeles, CA, Broomfield, CO, Scottsdale, AZ and New York. The event is called The Metabolic Nexus and features presentations from members of practitioners David Perlmutter, MD, FACN., and Paul Nemiroff, PhD., MD, FACS, who will lead discussions on achieving optimal brain and joint health.  XYMOGEN plans for attendees to walk away with a stronger idea of the shifts in scientific thinking and an altered perspective on healthcare.

Quality over quantity

Blackburn acknowledges that if the seminars were free, more people might attend.  But that’s not the point, he said.

“The numbers aren’t important.  It’s more about quality than quantity. We don’t want doctors who are there only to get continuing education credits,” he said. “It really becomes very much a forum and dialogue.”

Perlmutter’s talk will focus on new concepts in neurological disorders. His main points:

  • Recognize that even a mild elevation of blood glucose has toxic effects on the brain
  • Understand the pivotal role of dietary fat for brain health
  • Appreciate the fundamental role of cholesterol in building a healthy brain
  • Learn strategies to amplify gene expression to enhance brain resilience.

Nemiroff will focus on joint health.  The main topics he’ll cover, according to Xymogen, are:

  • Learn about chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) and how diosmin can support the body’s own healing mechanisms
  • Personalize therapeutic intervention for improved joint treatment outcomes
  • Understand the inflammatory and degenerative processes that affect the stages of joint disease.

Supporting the channel

Blackburn said the seminar series is in line with Xymogen’s mission to support its customers—the practitioners—and their patients.

“Xymogen was founded about 10 years and it was based upon innovation and education, and that included a medical board of advisors,” he said.

“From an economic standpoint, if we wanted to go mass market we could generate more revenues.  But it’s all about commitment and our focus and the channel. Going through the practitioner channel, we are able to build more expensive ingredients and technologies into the formulas,” he said.

“Our passion is a focus on research, science and the on the practitioners,” Blackburn said.

Xymogen’s formula seems to be working.  While it is hard to get accurate sales numbers for a private company, Xymogen said it passed $50 million in revenue in 2012 and was recognized this year for the sixth time by Inc. Magazine as one of the fastest growing privately-held companies in the US.

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