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Branding & Marketing Events Online in a Globalized World by Woodapple
Nov 20, 2013 Published in content
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In a country that is aggressively stepping up branding & marketing its ‘Made in India’ products by worldwide, it becomes imperative to look at how increasingly business events are being branded and marketed globally. There is a phenomenal surge in trade shows and exhibitions world over that has led to a booming Meeting, Incentives, Conferences & Events (MICE) industry. Call it globalization or cross-border trade, the numbers are growing exponentially for export driven countries like India, China, Brazil and Turkey for key segments enjoying preferential marketing by respective governments.

Until recently, various trade export promotion councils in India for industries like Handicrafts, Handloom, Apparel, Carpets, Wools have followed the routine traditional marketing techniques for building up participation in Trade fairs that attract buyers and visitors from across Europe, US, Asia and Australia. While attendance from mature markets like US and Europe are followed predictable growth curves, latest trends show strong potentials from Scandinavian countries, Sweden, Norway & Finland, opposite seasons markets of Latin Americas (Chile, Uruguay, Brazil), Australia and resurgent countries like Russia. The Indian government with its thrust on exports, is pushing its exporters and entrepreneurs to explore new business opportunities, to introduce newer products and materials to emerging markets as well as major economies.

Marketing the Indian Apparel and textiles potential

The Indian textile and apparel industry is amongst the largest in the world, with an enormous raw material and manufacturing base. Apparel exports grew from US$ 9.69 billion 2007-08 to US$ 13.73 billion in 2011-12 which accounts 4.48 per cent of India’s total exports in 2011-12. The Apparel Export Promotion Council is amongst the flagship councils that is busy setting up buyer-seller meets across major commercial capitals like New York, London, Denmark & Tokyo for Garments & Apparel fairs. It is keenly pursuing marketing India as a leading ‘Fabric to fashion’ destination, aggressively promoting cities like New Delhi as an ideal meeting point for international buyers and business heads of major global brands who are scouting for top notch Indian suppliers and exporters.

Brand India calling - Online

Until only a few years ago the council followed a typical and traditional event marketing exercise. The senior key personnel of the organization enjoy one-to-one, trusting and lasting relationships with global buyers who depend upon them to introduce them to quality suppliers of the best products in India and manage the relationship on an ongoing basis. In such an approach no one is complaining, except for one nagging hitch. The numbers have yet to scale up. So while existing buyers continue to source from Indian under the watchful eye of the council, when it comes to expanding its reach and looking to rapidly expanding and dynamic international market scenario, it is time to look beyond the existing pie.

 Apart from print advertising in leading magazines and trade journals, and a battery of telemarketers, there wasn’t much by way of AEPC getting to know who is coming to attend these events and in what numbers. No numbers, no feedback, no engagement. Just your plain look-good, feel-good, usual marketing spent that went into glossy covers and odd insides. That is a far cry from today, when AEPC recently appointed Digital marketing agency Woodapple for strategic online marketing of Textrends 2014 for the 4th consecutive time, having tasted outstanding success right from the inception of the first campaign. 

Marketing Textrends Online

Geo-targeting on Google & other search engines

There was a time when humanity navigated oceans and sailed with the wind to new horizons and opportunities. Today, in the internet economy, businesses are navigating very different waters of online search trends, surfing websites for highest traffic & visitors, banner advertisements, social media, PPC campaigns and conversions. Woodapple’s plan of action for Textrends India fair included geo targeting focused countries for AEPC’s exports and fetching registrations from overseas buyers across North America & Latin America, Europe, parts of Asia & Australia. The campaign aggressively pursued a list of target keywords, scanning trends on Google to gauge the actual volume of global searches for these keywords. A smartly designed and highly vigilant PPC campaign, effectively creating visibility and online buzz for the event thereby routing traffic to the TexTrends event website and successfully registering prospective visitors to the fairs, day on day. 

Benefits:

· Results are instantly visible

· Cost is transparent. You only have to pay when someone clicks on your ad and lands on your website.

· It is easy to set and adjust your daily budget and unlike with other media you can calculate your ROI precisely.

· Easy to target Audience geographically, demographically etc.

 Email, LinkedIn & Facebook marketing

Email campaigns, LinkedIn & Facebook marketing campaigns were undertaken to boost matchmaking and attracting high-profile professionals from top notch brands interested in sourcing from India. As the campaign gained popularity and visibility across leading search engines, it drew more and more traffic and registrations each week of its duration, culminating in registrations of high value prospective buyers who finally attended the event. It was the first remotely managed, people-less campaign for AEPC, wherein it successfully tapped into a much wider market than it could ever dream of, across continents, with actual buyers contacting them & registering for the event online, without making expensive international calls for overseas prospecting.

 LinkedIn is a powerful professional networking platform,

· Over 225 million members in over 200 countries and territories around the globe.

· 39% of members are Managers, Directors, Owners, CEOs or Vice Presidents

· LinkedIn membership includes executives from every company listed on the Fortune 500

The current Textrends campaign for the Januray 2014 fair will see stepping up engagement with its audiences via popular conversational channels Twitter & YouTube & image/media sharing site, Pinterest. Creating a win-win, deeper & trusted engagements with both buyers & exhibitors via responsive online platforms is clearly the future for a successful brand building & marketing strategy by AEPC.

By Suparna Banerjee
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