Michael Scherer

Michael Scherer

The Experience of Haptic Advertising: The HAPTICA® live is celebrating a premiere in Cologne on March 20, 2013, that has never been experienced before: In a compressed format on one single day product presentations, best practice examples, seminars, the Promotional Gift Award prize-ceremony and a networking event in the evening will make the power of promotional products tangible for all of the market participants. The event organiser is the Cologne-based company, WA Media, the publisher of eppi magazine.

Mr. Scherer, the HAPTICA® live is scheduled to take place in Cologne on March 20, 2013. Does the industry actually need another event?

Michael Scherer: HAPTICA® live is not simply another promotional products show. We have developed a totally new, integrative concept. We are presenting a performance show for the promotional product. This one-day event will give the visitors a compressed and inspiring overview of everything haptic advertising has to offer. We will combine product presentations with seminars, practical examples and the prize-ceremony of our communication prize, the Promotional Gift Award, and will additionally provide the guests with a chance to network with each other in the evening. Individual elements of the concept are of course present at other events, but they are unique in this concentration and focus.

Our aim is to create a platform for promotional products that addresses all industry professionals. We have given HAPTICA® live the subtitle “The experience of haptic advertising,“ because that is exactly what we want to do: let everyone experience the many facets of promotional products.

HAPTICA® live is open to all market participants: Suppliers, distributors, agencies and users. Isn’t this going to be a problem?

Michael Scherer: It doesn’t lie within our power to dictate or control the distribution channels. Every company has to decide this for itself. None of the companies are going to change their distribution structures merely because they have attended HAPTICA® live. Companies who are striving to do direct business really don’t have to rely on our event in today’s era of Google, Alibaba & co.

HAPTICA® live certainly doesn’t disregard or destroy existing structures, indeed we have opted for an approach that the distributors and the manufacturers will benefit from in equal measures. The discussions about the distribution channels are an internal industry problem, which is however not of paramount importance for the users, who both the manufacturers and the distributors live from. So, it lies in the interests of the distributors and the suppliers to convince the users of the huge potential of the promotional product. It is no use patting ourselves on the backs and assuring each other of the fantastic opportunities that promotional products provide – if we ignore the fact that the industry customers still have no idea about their versatile application options. The very positive reactions to our marketing magazine HAPTICA®, which we launched in 2011, show how important it is to communicate this message.

What were the reactions to the new magazine?

Michael Scherer: We tread new ground with HAPTICA® and this enabled us to reach decision-makers and advertising agencies, who had shown little interest in the promotional product up until then. The promotional product is still all too often considered to be a necessary tool, but its potential impact is seriously underestimated. HAPTICA® manages to convince with case studies and interviews with high-ranking users, scientists and economists, where sheer assertions prove fruitless. Simply claiming how significant the promotional product is in the marketing mix can’t be compared with demonstrating its impact in a factual and inspiring manner. This is why we decided to launch the HAPTICA® live event as a logical and necessary supplement to our successful print publication HAPTICA®. It is an image profiling campaign for the promotional product and that is why it would be against the nature of things to exclude users and advertising agencies. And it is needless to say that both distributors and manufacturers will profit from such an upgrade. Furthermore, one should consider the fact that once the promotional product with its versatile range of services and applications is finally taken seriously, the need for consulting services and the demands regarding the customising options will also increase. The know-how of the distributors is called for here.

What will HAPTICA® live offer the visitors?

Michael Scherer: One of the USPs of our event is the prize-ceremony of the Promotional Gift Award 2013. WA Media has been organising this award for many years and it is a unique and highly renowned guideline for promotional products distributors, but also for marketing decision-makers and purchasers, who are looking for something special. Overall it is our aim to use the HAPTICA® live to place the focus on specially selected and in some cases literally “distinguished” products.

However, we will not only be presenting examples that demonstrate the high innovative and creative level of the promotional product, we will also be presenting campaigns in lectures and case studies, which have strengthened the image of brands with the help of haptic advertising. There are surveys that prove the high reach of promotional products, but they contain mostly just figures which are unfortunately only acknowledged superficially, if at all. We underline the impact of promotional products using concrete examples of campaigns. The distributors can use these case studies as arguments in the dialogues with their customers and they will encourage many industry customers to reconsider their own marketing strategies. We want to turn the fascinating power of haptic advertising into a tangible experience.

What role will the experiences WA Media has made with the Community Event it organises play in the planning of HAPTICA® live?

Michael Scherer: They will play a big role. The Community Event also unites all of the market participants – manufacturers, agencies, distributors and users – and the response is extremely positive. For us it is very important that HAPTICA® live is a place of encounters. We all know how important personal relationships are and that a relaxed atmosphere is the ideal setting to intensify old contacts and establish new ones. That is why we are organising a get-together in the evening.

The E-Werk in Cologne, where the event is being staged, is big enough to accommodate around 40 exhibitors – so the space is limited. How will you make sure that the visitors will be offered a balanced product mix?

Michael Scherer: We would like to have a good mixture between generalists and specialists and will try to avoid product overlaps as far as possible. Suppliers, who are interested in participating, can apply directly to us, whereby we reserve the right to make the final selection. This is incidentally also the reason why promotional products distributors or agencies can’t exhibit at the HAPTICA® live: Because that would make it difficult to avoid major overlaps in the product groups.

Does it cost anything to attend the HAPTICA® live?

Michael Scherer: Admission to the event itself, which begins at 11 am, is free of charge for everyone. The entrance tickets for the get-together starting at 6 pm cost 50 Euros per person, the catering is inclusive. As part of the standard package exhibitors receive two VIP tickets for their exhibition stand staff and five VIP tickets for visitors they would like to invite to the HAPTICA® live. All of the winners of the Promotional Gift Awards 2013 will also be invited to the evening event as our personal guests and won’t have to pay the admission fee.

Do visitors have to register in advance, or can they turn up on the spot?

Michael Scherer: It is necessary to pre-register online, because only trade visitors are allowed to attend the HAPTICA® live, i.e. promotional products distributors, marketing decision-makers, executives, promotional products purchasers, advertising agency employees and service providers from the advertising industry.

Particularly interesting for suppliers who would like to showcase their products at the HAPTICA® live: What is the event’s visitor marketing strategy?

Michael Scherer: We are taking advantage of the high reach of our print and online publications for visitor marketing purposes: The German-language promotional products distributors will be informed via WA Nachrichten and the WA eLETTER, the European distributors will be addressed via eppi magazine and the eppi Newsflash. Users from the marketing industry will be informed via Promotion Products, Promotion Prodcast and HAPTICA®.

We will thus reach a pool of 91,000 addresses with our database. Furthermore, personalised mailings will be sent out to 5,500 readers in the region and newsletters will be distributed to our online Community at Xing, the German equivalent to LinkedIn. And of course we will additionally use all the advertising measures of the Promotional Gift Award to draw attention to the HAPTICA® live.

Why did WA Media chose E-Werk in Cologne as the location venue?

Michael Scherer: WA Media has had firm roots in Cologne for years and the city is an important media and marketing city, so it made sense to stage our event here. We took a shine to E-Werk immediately: We didn’t want to hold the event in an ordinary exhibition hall, we wanted to choose a location that matched the special nature of our event, one which also offered a nice setting for the evening event. E-Werk with its listed architecture has been used as an event location for ambitious cultural and media events since the 1980s. The focus of HAPTICA® live lies on the creativity of haptic advertising and we are also reflecting this aspect with our choice of venue.

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