“Over 300 exhibitors covering more than 10,000 sqm are already on board and markedly several exhibitors have booked larger booths than in the previous edition”- shares Anil Arora, President, Print-Packaging.Com Private Limited, the co-organiser of PAMEX in the interview.
PAMEX is happening again in just 1 year, instead of two-year gap. What were the reasons for it?
Anil Arora: Since 2015, there exists an unwritten understanding between AIFMP and IPAMA, that as far as possible, their two iconic events will be held a year apart. While PAMEX is held in Mumbai, Printpack India is organised in NCR. This has been endorsed by the industry and consequently both the shows have grown over the years and are able to meet the needs of all stakeholders that get an opportunity to gather at one large event every year.
Both these events had to be postponed during COVID and in the case of Printpack India, more than once. Eventually, it was held in May 2022 and PAMEX followed in March 2023. IPAMA was keen to claim its traditional spot of the first quarter of the odd year and announced the next event for February 2025. In deference to the sentiments of the exhibitors who look for at least one large event a year, we took our rightful spot of first quarter of the even year and announced the event for February 2024. Accordingly, the subsequent edition is planned for February 2026.
How has the industry taken this change?
Anil Arora: We had a broad interaction with the major exhibitors before announcing the 2024 event, which is not really a change but getting back into the original schedule. The unanimous feedback was that the industry needs one large domestic event a year and would be happy that PAMEX would happen in the absence of Printpack India in this year. Also, some exhibitors felt that the 2023 event was too near the financial year closing because of which, many of their customers had been unable to attend. This would be an opportunity for those visitors to return. Several exhibitors are also looking at the exhibition as a curtain raiser for drupa. Also, Messe Dusseldorf will be using their participation in the event to showcase the happenings of the upcoming drupa later in the year.
Last year, the theme was convergence and this year there is extended focus on textile printing and soft signage? Your views on these industries and what visitors can expect at PAMEX.
Anil Arora: Convergence is a global trend about printing technologies that allow multiple applications. It is driven by printers looking to diversify into segments other than the ones that they are serving presently. The last edition had seen a tremendous interest around such technologies, and we had seen coming on board as exhibitors of several providers of label printing and flexible packaging equipment. Continuing with this theme, we will have providers of textile printing and soft signage equipment exhibiting this time. This will give exposure of emerging opportunities in related fields to visiting printers. It will also attract the Textile printer to visit and explore new opportunities in commercial and package printing.
How many exhibitors have signed in and how much space has been sold till now?
Anil Arora: Every PAMEX show for the last several editions have been bigger than the previous one in terms of number of exhibitors and the net area occupied and 2024 will not be an exception. Over 300 exhibitors covering more than 10,000 sqm are already on board and markedly several exhibitors have booked larger booths than in the previous edition.
What marketing strategies are you using to promote PAMEX and attract a wider audience of industry professionals?
Anil Arora: Every PAMEX edition also has had a larger footfall than the previous edition. The increased visitors come from both India and abroad. This reflects the growing reach of the exhibition ensured through a perpetually ongoing marketing campaign. The crux of the marketing for us, as in the past, is a robust database of prospective visitors that are continually informed about the happenings at the event. The intervening period between exhibitions is when we update this database and add to it with inputs from our executives who travel around the country and collect information while visiting industrial areas and towns. Visiting and exhibiting in shows with similar profiles in the country and abroad; engagement on social media; road shows; advertising and news stories in trade magazines, printing and distributing pre-event newsletters; advertising on local buses and radio etc. – the well-oiled campaign rolls on ensuring the reach of the event gets wider with every edition.
Social media presence is vital for event promotion. Could you discuss how you are leveraging social media platforms to create buzz and engagement around PAMEX?
Anil Arora: We were the pioneers in the industry in creating a social media presence several years ago. We find that the social media engagement is more useful for B2C events. However, we have not neglected to leverage the incremental additional value that one can get for events like ours.
In today’s digital age, how do you balance traditional marketing methods with newer online marketing techniques?
Anil Arora: Discerning latest technological and commercial trends and communicating them to the industry is an important part of making of a successful exhibition. Equally important is using contemporary tools and mediums to communicate and market the event. Over the years, in our budget, the traditional methods of marketing have been giving way to more and more of online and digital marketing. Even within the traditional marketing domains, we have moved away from print communications to the use of bus hoardings and radio advertising.
Attendee engagement is key. What special features or interactive elements will be there to make it a valuable experience for the visitors?
Anil Arora: We have a robust online match making programme that is available to our exhibitors and registered visitors. This enables the visitors and exhibitors to communicate with each other well ahead of the exhibition. The exhibitors, thus get an understanding of the customers’ needs in advance and are able to come up with possible solutions to be discussed before the two meet at the venue. The record on-site sales at the event that PAMEX is now reputed for, happen partially because of this understanding reached in advance.
Networking is often a significant reason attendees participate in expos. How do you facilitate networking opportunities during the event?
Anil Arora: We believe that an exhibition is as much a place to network as it is to conduct business. It is always our effort to provide a neat and uncluttered ambience for easy networking and business meetings. Undisturbed by high decibel announcements that are not uncommon in some events, we take pride in providing a silent exhibition. Lounges including exclusive VIP enclaves and eating places at various common points are hallmark of our events.
The co-located NAEP and Global awards evening is where the who-is-who of the industry gather to network with peers. The presence of the exhibitors makes it an informal place for the entire industry to meet away from the formal business atmosphere of the exhibition.
What measures are taken to facilitate seamless registration for visitors?
Anil Arora: PAMEX has always attracted high number of visitors and they have only grown with each edition. We were challenged to provide a seamless registration of the visitors while avoiding long queues. In the last edition, we introduced a QR code based online registration that allowed visitors to self-scan and print their badges at the kiosks provided for the purpose. We have further refined this process and expect to see no queues in the upcoming edition.