New marketing demystified for Indian SMEs

Visiting the IITF2011- first impressions

I visited the IITF after many years: eight to be precise and I thought of listing my thoughts and impressions of IITF2011, especially what has changed in the interim.

Who is this trade-fair IITF 2011 for?

We walked through hall after hall, moved from one stall to another and my overwhelming impressions were:

1. The IITF 2011 is no longer aimed at the business visitor- not overtly like it used to be when I used to participate.

In those times we used to look forward in dread to the general public days- where you would be shouting at the top of your voice to make yourself hard- and yet not make any sense. Your “target audience” would be muscled out by aunties and uncles, with babies in arms in many cases.

And, now? Exhibitors are looking forward to the general public days- who will come to be hardsold pressure cookers, electric ovens, food processors, blood pressure monitors etc. Almost all companies have turned their presence into a branded retail store.

2. There seemed like a lot of companies who exclusively sell through the tradefair channel-

they do not have a shop, they do not have a website, they do not have a salesforce, they do not have distributors/ stockists; nothing.
They only go to tradeshows and sell there and then- in many cases, expecting the customer to carry the product back with them. I guess the customers would only part with their money in exchange for some “hardware”.

3. Where are the engineering products? The auto-components, the other light engineering products?

I can only guess at two reasons:

1. Marketing and relationship building and searched for partners have moved online- so instead of spending (say) 1 Million rupees on having a presence at the IITF 2011, companies are spending a fraction of the money on SEO and being found. Then there is phone and email for dialog and final meeting to sign the contract.

2. For those still interested in exhibiting at the trade-shows, there are increasingly specialized shows.

3. Delhi is no longer the only venue for trade-fairs in India. Folks are exhibiting closer to the markets: in Chennai, in Mumbai and other places.

Logistics of reaching IITF 2011:

First, the prudent thing to do: and I suggest you do the same:

Take the Metro!!

Get off at Pragati Maidan, and follow directions. We bought business visitor tickets- if you are visiting the tradeshow only for a day, you can buy it right at the Metro Station itself. Or else, take a HOHO bus from right outside the metro station- for FREE- and go to either Gate 1 or 2 where you can buy either the Rs 1500/- season pass or Rs 400/- daily ticket. These are for business visitors. If you wanted only the daily ticket, you could have bought it right at the Metro Station.

At Gate 2, we subjected ourselves to security check and entered- it seemed to me that the security check process, while thorough, took a long time. This was day 1 and they were coping with only business visitors- it will be interesting to see what they will do on a regular (general visitor) day.

General visitors: 19th to 27th of November, 2011.


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