UFI in Istanbul: The competition for budgets

International trade fair experts are coming together at the annual UFI Open Seminar in Europe from 15 to 17 June. They are meeting in Istanbul, the gateway to Asia.

Istanbul: the gateway to Asia. (Photo: HKF)
Istanbul: the gateway to Asia. (Photo: HKF)

The circle is now complete, certainly as far as the host city is concerned. After almost seven years, the UFI, the global association of the exhibition industry, is returning to Istanbul for a major event. The UFI’s 75th annual congress was held in the Turkish capital in the autumn of 2008. The huge firework display over the Bosphorus organised by host Bekir Cakici still remains in the memory of those who experienced it. This time around, things will be on a smaller scale. After all, this is “only” the association’s smaller summer event. Nevertheless, there should be enough information flying around to rival any firework display. The delegates will be exchanging experiences and sharing their expertise. Urgent and fascinating issues will be explored in presentations and discussions. The focus will be on the competition for budgets between trade fairs and other marketing instruments. In this connection, the seminar will be concerning itself with the future role of trade fairs in the marketing mix.

One of the really key issues currently is the digital revolution. It is being compared to a tsunami engulfing traditional marketing channels. On the one hand, trade fairs are also affected by this overwhelming wave. At the same time, however, organisers can take advantage of this wave of digitization and turn it into an opportunity. It also helps to see the broader picture when you are seeking to develop and implement suitable strategies. Analogies will be drawn and findings presented from other sectors at the UFI seminar in Istanbul. One sector that has already felt a significant impact from digitisation is publishing. Holger Feist, chief strategy officer at Messe München, will be pointing out what the trade fair industry can learn from the digital revolution’s effects on traditional media. Feist knows what he is talking about here: he used to work for a large publisher.

Bekir Cakici, CEO of HKF Fuarcilik, hosted the last major UFI event in Istanbul. (Photo: HKF)
Bekir Cakici, CEO of HKF Fuarcilik, hosted the last major UFI event in Istanbul. (Photo: HKF)

How the marketing budget is distributed always depends to a certain extent on the spirit of the times and the trends that are postulated. There are plenty of decision-makers who test the wind and then go with the flow. There will also be a platform discussion in Istanbul about whether exhibitors are acting differently or doing much the same as always. And in a workshop with Eva Teruzzi of Fiera Milano, organisers will be analysing and developing future approaches to marketing. Among other things, the delegates will be trying to establish what forms of digital marketing make sense. The new media are generally valuable when used as marketing tools. But if they are used wrongly, cultural differences can mean they come up against their limits. The delegates in Istanbul will also be considering the role of marketing agencies, which often influence the decisions of their clients. For this reason, their ability to open and/or close doors should never be underestimated. You will find the full and continually updated programme of the upcoming UFI Open Seminar in Europe on the UFI website (www.ufi.org).

Access to 1.5 billion customers

Photo: Hannover Fairs Turkey
Photo: Hannover Fairs Turkey

Exhibitors taking part in trade fairs in Istanbul can reach around 20 percent of the world’s population. “Turkey offers access to 1.5 billion customers in Europe, Eurasia, the Middle East and North Africa,” explains Wolfgang Pech, senior vice president at Deutsche Messe in Hanover. “The combined GDP of these markets is 25 billion US dollars,” he calculates. This is where the company stages the region’s largest industrial fair, Win Automation Eurasia. The last time it was held, in March, 1,581 exhibitors from 21 countries took part. They presented their future-oriented smart manufacturing solutions to around 77,000 visitors. Four separate trade fairs are held under the umbrella of Win Automation Eurasia, covering industrial automation, materials handling and logistics, fluid technology, energy and electrical engineering. These sectors make a decisive contribution to improvements in efficiency and quality. At the same time, costs can be reduced when appropriate use is made of these technologies. The region is attractive not just from an economic point of view but interculturally as well. “Turkey is open to innovations and gives prompt feedback,” emphasises Turgay Halimler, managing director of Yaskawa Turkey, an exhibitor of automation solutions. The company’s products are used in manufacturing facilities all over Eurasia. Companies that are yet to conquer the market will soon get another opportunity. The next Win Automation Eurasia is only ten months away. It will be held from 17 to 20 March 2016 at the Tüyap trade fair centre in Istanbul (www.messe.de).

Author: Peter Borstel

This article was published in TFI issue 3-4/2015


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