It’s Exhibition Time, Folks!

When it looked as though IT exhibitions had lost their shine, suddenly
partners had to provide for time, money and energy for several major shows and
numerous smaller ones in recent times. If the channel thought that participating
and attending trade shows was waste of precious time, marketing professionals
from show organizers were knocking at their door doing the hard sell saying the
events provided unique business vistas.

Indeed, one of the fundamental objectives of trade shows is to bring together
on one single platform, buyers, decision-makers, innovators and competitors and
provide new opportunities for business expansion. But somewhere down the line,
it was felt as though channel partners and even big vendors had lost interest in
IT exhibitions.

But then in the second half of 2000, floodgates for major shows were opened
by BIT.Com 2000 in Bangalore, followed by IT Kerala 2000. Then IT Asia Millenium
opened in Mumbai and IT World 2000 Comdex India made its presence in Delhi. In
between, partners had to spare time for India Internet World 2000.

Besides these big shows, channel associations in cities like Kolkata and
Nagpur hold their own IT exhibitions. Associations in other cities are joining
hands with CyberExpo to hold 25 events in 23 cities under the PCQuest Series.

 

Each of these exhibitions has enticing USPs. If BIT.Com proclaims that it is
Asia’s international IT show, IT Kerala 2000 calls itself a premier infotech
event. While IT Asia Millenium is the complete IT solutions fair, IT World 2000
Comdex christens itself as the national IT show.

No doubt these are marketing slogans. At the same time, these have woken up
the IT industry from its slumber especially because state governments have
become involved with some of the biggest shows. These states are telling the
world that entrepreneurs and industry leaders have no other better place to do
business!

When faced with the onslaught of trade shows like these, what should be the
approach of channel partners? Should they just ignore the shows and continue
with the ‘business as usual’ attitude? Or plunge themselves headlong into
participating in all the exhibitions?

In our opinion, a balanced approach should bring right returns to the channel
in the long run. Partners can ignore trade shows completely at their own peril.
One of the primary objectives of IT exhibitions is to showcase cutting-edge
products and technology. And IT is very well known for the rapid changes in
technology. Thus, if partners neglect exhibitions totally, then they would be
groping in ‘technology’ darkness.

On the other hand, participating in all exhibitions, without giving a thought
on how these could help business growth and expansion, would be inviting trouble
in terms of out-of-budget overheads and costs. The wise move would be to allot
certain funds at the time of budgeting and participate in a show that would give
short-term as well as long-term returns.

If you have a new product to launch, then a trade show is the best place
because it would give all the visibility that you want. Even if you do not have
a launch, participating in at least one of the major exhibitions would be a
sound practice to keep your organization and products in the limelight.

sylvesterl@cmil.com

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