Thursday, November 29, 2007

MAXI Fair - A Resounding Success

Born of the vision of XLRI’s eminent professor Dr Sharad Sarin in 1979, the Marketing Fair, then a novel concept, is today an accredited marketing research tool. Conducted by the Marketing Association of XLRI, this brilliant and innovative method goes beyond the blind testing concept and uses a “mela” or carnival milieu to conduct meaningful consumer behavior research. The underlying concept involves designing games and events as surrogates to actual research questions, in order to elicit unbiased and accurate information from customers regarding their preferences and perceptions. Tales from the Mahabharat, a Bhool Bhulaiya, even the legendary Vikram aur Betaal served as themes for the stalls, and helped in eliciting the unbiased responses of more than 4000 visitors during the MAXI Fair held on Sunday, 25th of November at XLRI Grounds.

The 29th edition of MAXI fair was inaugurated by the District Magistrate cum Deputy Commissioner of East Singhbhum District, Jharkhand, Dr Nitin M. Kulkarni. Dr Kulkarni lit the ceremonial lamp and went around the fair visiting the various game stalls set up by the students.

With corporate support well established over the years, the fair associates itself with top brands in all categories across sectors. This year saw an entire gamut of research problems from the top manufacturing and FMCG companies and from the fast growing retail industriy. With the Steel City now among the top 10 richest cities in India (according to a survey by Delhi-based Indicus Analytics, one of India’s leading economic research firms), the companies can expect higher research quality from the fair than ever before.

Besides this, there was also the 2nd edition of Rural MAXI Fair conducted on 24th November at Swaspur, a village near Rakha Mines. The research problems for Rural Fair were given by top corporates, Tata Steel and Aditya Birla Group, which wanted to find out more about the vast, untapped customer base made famous by C.K Prahlad. Committed to social causes, this initiative saw the students take a small step to help the society at grassroots levels. The entire setup was done keeping the rural population in mind, with lucid games which could be easily understood by the villagers; it attracted nearly 500 people from the villages to experience the fair.

Also conducted under the umbrella of the Marketing Fair was Shilp Mela, in association with SIGMA (Social Initiative Group for Managerial Assistance of XLRI). The Shilp Mela acts as a platform for local artisans to market their handicrafts and agriculture products, thus enabling XLRI to translate its mission of social responsibility into reality.

The biggest compliment to the efforts of the marketing community of XLRI has been the popularity of the event among the localities. With footfalls increasing year on year, the fair has captured a place in the hearts of people and has now becoming a part of the history of Jamshedpur. It is a platform for the management students to interact with the community of their residence, and is an annual event which children and adults of Jamshedpur look forward to.

Not only are the Marketing issues being addressed through an innovative manner, the students are also able to practice what they have learnt in the classrooms, design research games and events and implement them in the running of the “mela”. This year MAXI took a step further and collaborated with IMRB International (part of the WPP group), the leading market research company, as its Knowledge Partner to ensure an enhanced quality of study. The sponsors for the event included Tata Steel and Aditya Birla Group as Associate Sponsors, BIG 92.7 FM and also Pepsi as beverage partner.

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