The Ultimate IFA 2018 Survival Guide

Hands down the most exciting thing about IFA 2018? The fact that James Blunt of ‘You’re Beautiful’ fame will be performing. We’re joking. Blunt is performing, but unless you’re a fan, there are far more appealing things afoot at this year’s IFA than his insufferable caterwauling.

IFA, of course, is one of the world’s biggest events of the consumer electronics and home appliances industries. Taking place every year at the sprawling trade fair venue that is Messe Berlin, it sees all the biggest names in tech gather to showcase and often launch their latest products, as well as network, forge new business relationships, brainstorm ideas, and generally just geek out.

This year, IFA, which stands for Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin (try saying that after a few Hefeweizens), takes place from August 31st to September 5th, and ChannelSight is super-excited to attend, as we do every year — IFA’s just too important to miss. And if you’re involved in tech in any capacity, you don’t want to miss it either. No matter your role, whether you’re a product developer, a brand marketer, an eCommerce director or other, come the 29th of this month, Messe Berlin is where it’s at.

But make no mistake, IFA is an absolute beast. Last year, it outdid itself, selling out 159,000 square meters of show floor space to 1,805 exhibitors. And this year it’s going to be even bigger. The scale can be overwhelming — the amount of LED screens alone is mind-blowing — so you need to be well prepared to get the most out of it.

Luckily for you, seasoned IFA veterans that we are, we’ve put together your essential IFA survival guide in the form of this handy blog. Bitte! (that’s ‘you’re welcome’ in German, in case you didn’t know…)

1. Stay Local

The nearer your bed, the better. And if you can’t stay nearby, ensure your accommodation is at least on a public transport route, as few stops away as possible. The U-Bahn at rush hour during IFA is not for the faint-hearted. This we know from bitter experience. ‘Bitte’ experience, even. Soz. We couldn’t resist that terribly poor play on words.

2. Pace Yourself

Whether you’re there for just a day or the entire event, it’s important to pace yourself. A day at IFA can be very long and tiring indeed. Your caffeine fix will be important too. We find the standard varies widely between stalls. So find a good one early and make the barista your bestie.

3. Pack A Lunch

Eating at IFA can be pretty expensive, so budget accordingly. In saying that, if you like your bratwurst, this event won’t disappoint. Having eaten twice our bodyweight in them last year though, we don’t ever want to see one again. They are the devil.

4. Dress Comfortably

You’ll be on your feet a lot at IFA, so dress appropriately. Business casual is the name of the game. Whether you want to wear tech billionaire-esque sandals is entirely up to you. We’d prefer you didn’t though. And if you do, at least get a medi-pedi first.

5. Download The App

The venue is labyrinthine and the program jam-packed. You need to be familiar with all to plan your attendance efficiently. The best way of doing this is via the IFA app. This is your essential portable guide to the event, and features floor plans, exhibitors, products and the program, as well as functions such as searching and bookmarking. Download it on the App Store or Google Play.

6. Allow Time Between Events And Meetings

Don’t underestimate the size of Messe Berlin. It could take you up to 30 minutes to walk from one meeting or event to another. IFA has a shuttle service — use it! Also, be smart and save time by getting people to come to you for meetings as much as you can. Unless of course you’re trying to get face-time with, say, Jeff Bezos. Expecting the likes of him to come to you might be a bit of an ask. Just saying!

7. Manage Your Expectations

Many of you will be there to forge new business partnerships. By all means aim to press the flesh with as many decision-makers as possible, but don’t expect contracts signed on the spot. All you might get is a handshake. So have that elevator pitch down to a tee, even if it repeatedly ends up getting cut off mid-flow.

8. Hustle Like You’re Broke

Don’t be shy at IFA. This is one of the biggest tech gatherings in the world, and many industry gods will be walking among us like mere mortals. Reach out and talk to anyone and everyone. You never know who they are or what might come of it.

9. Stand Out

Countless business cards are exchanged at IFA. So strive to make yourself, your brand or product stand out. How you do that is up to you. But dressing in lederhosen and yodeling your elevator pitch might be going a bit far.

10. You Don’t Need All The Goody Bags

It can be tempting to grab every goody bag going, especially if you’re an IFA rookie and dazzled by all the free stuff. But heed our advice and be discerning. There are only so many USB sticks and stress balls a person needs. Taking all the goodie bags will leave you with lots of junk you don’t need and must dispose of in an environmentally-friendly manner or risk adding to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

11. What Happens In IFA Stays In IFA

It need not be all work and no play at IFA. There’s plenty of room for fun. Especially in the beer tent. And for those interested in seeing Blunt, he plays the Sommergarten on the 2nd at 6.30pm!

For further information on IFA 2018, visit the website here.

ChannelSight works with many leading global consumer electronics and home appliances brands including Sony, Siemens, Bosch, Philips, Logitech and Schneider Electric, achieving up to 30% increases in basket size, 10-20% conversion rates and 10:1 average ROI. If you’re interested in your brand achieving the same, then schedule a coffee with one of our team at IFA 2018!