Visitors to Markex, an event that is 30 years old now, used to only derive value from promotional products being exhibited. While this is crucial for business, for the last two years another event has run alongside. Madex is a space where marketers can address, and hopefully solve, the challenges they face every day. Michael Bratt spoke to the event director at Specialised Exhibitions Montgomery (organisers of both gatherings), Nick Sarnadas, to find out more.
“Marketing is ever-evolving on an hourly basis,” Sarnadas explained. “The wheel used to turn much slower, so marketeers were able to adapt much quicker. Now with everything being digital and with social and augmented reality, they are evolving every hour of every day. There is constantly a marketer going ‘I don’t know what this is, my marketing strategy doesn’t include this, should I include it?’”
Madex and Markex running simultaneously allows marketeers to interact with not only promotional product exhibitors but also media companies, advertising agencies, social media firms, digital companies and everything that isn’t the former. Marketeers can explain their challenges to these firms and in collaboration, hopefully craft innovative solutions.
Exhibitors and free seminars
There were 150 exhibitors across both Madex and Markex. Sarnadas reckons there has been an upward trend in visitors. He declined to give figures as the numbers are first audited before being released publicly. For the first time ever, exhibitors also received awards. Amrod took the title for Markex: most resellers converted, Kevro won the best Markex overall marketing campaign award and Mass Supply was awarded the best social media campaign. For Madex, Scan Display won the best social media title, and PocketMedia Solutions scooped the best PR and content award.
Aside from these exhibitors attendees were also granted access to numerous talks around marketing, digital media, consumers and tying these all together. Some standouts from the event included Joggie Myburgh, who explored the art of bringing storytelling back to B2B marketing, Daniel Malherbe explaining how ‘sticky content’ is created and curated, and how marketing efforts across Gen X, Y and Z in South Africa are optimised by Monique Claasen.
Fascinating brands and people
Walking around the hall, interacting with the brands and people it was fascinating to see what is on offer. Who knew that the branded balloon space is such a big industry or that you can brand chocolate? From upside down umbrellas to beach umbrellas and gazebos that have built in chargers for your phone, the products and tech on offer were exhilarating. Many of the exhibitors were first time ones and attracting more business and increasing their brand’s exposure were the key reasons for their attendance.
Here are some photos from the event:
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