Effective promotion must for success of expos

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By Richa Chakravarty

A recently concluded electronics exhibition in Delhi disappointed exhibitors because it lacked good footfalls. Despite being the first major electronics exposition to be held in the FY 2011-12, organised on such a mammoth scale, and in a central venue like Delhi, this expo could not generate enough traffic. What could be the reason for such a low turnout?

From national to international players from China, Singapore, Taiwan and Korea, this event managed to pull together the entire electronics industry under one roof. However, it left most exhibitors disappointed with the low turnout. Being one of the preferred events by the electronics industry, exhibitors complained that the expo did not reach out to the audiences due to sheer lack of promotion.

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How important is promotion?

Nowadays, participation in an expo is akin to a large scale, targeted and very efficient advertising campaign, not only for the sale of products, but for an organisation’s branding as well. For exhibitors, expos are a good platform to create new contacts with customers—both retail and wholesale buyers, enhance relationships with existing customers, and generate business. Here, companies interact with their competitors and business partners, and use this opportunity to build their brand’s image and talk about their range of products. They can also get first hand reactions to their products from the large audience they target through such expos.

So having invested a huge sum of money—on travel and lodging, setting up a booth and transportation of their products—exhibitors expect to earn substantial returns from the event. The onus, therefore, clearly falls on the organisers to offer maximum visibility and exposure to its exhibitors. Failing to do so can have an equally adverse effect on the exhibitors, visitors and organisers, as was widely felt during the recent electronics event held in Delhi.

Says an MNC spokesperson dealing in semiconductors, “Seeing the lack of promotion by the organisers, I can conclude that an exhibitor cannot completely rely on the organisers to promote the event. I feel the exhibitors, on their part, should also promote their participation in a particular event. In the end, it’s the exhibitor who ends up paying heavily for not being able to generate enough business due to poor promotion.”

Sharing the same disappointment, VK Chamoli, regional manager, Khanna Traders and Engineers, complains, “It was through my personal email invitation that most of my clients came to know about the event. There has been a total lack of promotion from the organiser’s end as most of our target audience was not even aware of our participation. It has taken a toll on us because in spite of huge investments, we are unable to generate business through our presence here.”

International players also complained that there was no buzz created around the event being organised in the city. “The stretch from Noida, where our accommodation was arranged, to the venue, did not have a single hoarding or advertisement publicising the ongoing event. There were no newspaper advertisements either—calling on the electronics industry to attend the event. Our target audience was not aware about the event,” complained a Chinese exhibitor.

Tools for promotion

Considering how dynamic the market is, no matter how well known a brand name is, the key to success for any such event lies in effective and efficient promotion. With various innovative tools available nowadays, organisers can promote their events through the print, electronics or online media. One ought to ensure that the publicity directly targets the relevant audience and the participating players get enough visibility.

Exhibitors also felt that the organisers ought to pay equal attention to making the venue approachable and visitor friendly in terms of making it easy to locate the exhibitors and their stalls. According to a spokesperson from Qmax Test Equipments, “Indian expo organisers should learn from international events, where huge electronic display boards highlight a company’s name, stall/booth number and products on display. This helps visitors to pick their choice very fast. Also, some kind of online system should be installed at the venue, by which, with just one click, visitors can view the complete company profile. This will not only help visitors but also exhibitors by saving them the time spent entertaining casual visitors.”

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