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A total of 321 selected stationery and office supply companies from 41 countries exhibited at this year's Insights-X. Five of these exhibitors were represented by Karl Kallinger, who founded the company KALLILA Sales Innovation KG five years ago. Kallinger advises companies, particularly from the Balkan states, with regard to marketing and sales strategies and arranges contacts with bulk buyers. His skills are also reflected in his curriculum vitae: he was Managing Director of Pelikan Hardcopy for 10 years and a member of the Board of Directors of KMP PrintTechnik AG for Sales and Marketing. We interviewed Karl Kallinger to find out how successful the visit to the Insights-X was for him and his customers.
Insights-X: You represent several companies in the stationery sector. What inspires you personally about this sector?
Karl Kallinger: So far, I have mainly worked for multimedia companies such as Casio and Texas Instruments. That's why I'm personally excited about the stationery industry, because it places a lot of value on trends and product design. I am also really impressed by the strong diversity of the stationery manufacturers. While a lot of sectors are dominated by big players, there are a quite a few companies in the creative sector that satisfy the increased demands of end customers with different products.
What can we expect in the stationery sector in the coming year?
K. K.: In general, it's clear to see that society is changing very rapidly. This also changes the requirements profile for the various products, because customers want to have a large selection and, at the same time, always something NEW, which is why the retail trade is facing a small challenge: it has to offer customers a large and ever innovative product portfolio.
Why do you advise your customers to exhibit at trade fairs?
K. K.: Trade fairs are very important for all manufacturers, because this is where companies have the chance to show their entire product portfolio, make contacts and, above all, acquire new customers. I also represent many newcomers, for whom the acquisition of new customers is crucial so they can gain a foothold in the market. Even if the e-commerce sector continues to grow, one shouldn't underestimate personal contacts and manufacturers can establish this personal relationship with customers at trade fairs.
You attended Insights-X 2019. Which companies did you represent there?
K. K.: At Insights-X, I represented the companies G&G from the Netherlands, Ilijanum LTD from Serbia, Ars Lamina from Macedonia, Plassy Ltd. from Bulgaria and Schnaud GbR from Germany.
Can you comment on the chances of success of the deals concluded there?
K. K.: The companies I represent have made concrete deals at Insights-X and they have all been able to make new contacts. What's more, the personal exchanges helped the companies to take into consideration customer wishes with regard to the development new products or further development.
Which visitors were you able you reach at Insights-X?
K. K.: Visitor quality increased again this year. Customers from all sales channels relevant to the stationery sector were there. This means that specialist stationery retailers, department stores, drugstores, mail order companies, online retailers, consumer markets – they were all there. I also discovered stationery wholesalers who were visiting Insights-X for the very first time. They, too, also ensured an increase in quality.
What was your personal highlight at Insights-X 2019?
K. K.: My personal highlight was the start-up company Schnaud GbR, which I also represent. I wanted to give the company new opportunities to win new customers and close deals. And I succeeded. The response for the start-up company was excellent and the products presented, such as the drawing set, paint brush pen set and acrylic paint set, which all come with an online course, were ordered immediately.
Thank you very much for talking to us, Mr Kallinger