Successful trade fair organisers are aiming for a 20-35 per cent share of digital business in the next five years. Trade fair organisers need to get the necessary digital transformation and community building on track and move beyond the era of the pandemic.
Mr Heinrich, what moves you most about the trade fair industry at the moment?
These are crazy and turbulent times. On the one hand, like almost all trade fair organisers, we have to react permanently to changes in policy at short notice and thus to postponed or even cancelled trade fairs. On the other hand, times have never been so exciting, especially with regard to the digital transformation in the trade fair industry. This is a topic we already took up when we founded the company in 2006. But we have never worked as much as we do now.
adventics is the creator of the “Scan2Lead” solution for trade fair organisers and their customers. What does this tool do for exhibitors?
The largest trade fair venues in Germany, Switzerland and now also in Italy use Scan2Lead. Exhibitors scan their stand visitors, immediately receive all visitor details including profile information, supplement this in a structured way with their conversation information and have everything digitally available for successful follow-up at the touch of a button. In times when trade fair contacts are often of a higher quality but tend to be fewer, this is an unbeatable advantage for exhibitors.
adventics were probably the first to offer Scan2Lead on the iPhone as an app back in 2009. Since then, further innovations have continuously flowed into our products every year so that we can continue to maintain and even expand our lead.
Scan2Lead now offers exhibitors a broad portfolio ranging from apps to different scanner variants to our latest product “InfoPoint”, a column with an iPad for interactive self-service scanning by visitors. The InfoPoints were very well received at Sindex in Bern, for example, and will be used again at BLE.CH, also Bernexpo Groupe.
Autumn 2021 has shown that the economy needs trade fairs. What is your forecast for the medium of trade fairs? And do you share the view that regional trade fairs will now win and the famous world-leading trade fairs in Germany will lose?
This is a big issue. As a consultant, we work for many large trade fairs. Among them are leading international trade fairs such as bauma, the Frankfurt Book Fair or Agritechnica. We will now see some accelerated international changes that have been on many people’s agendas for some time. But up to now, it was not absolutely necessary to initiate the change with all vehemence. Now it is necessary.
The winners will be those fairs that are bolder, faster and more innovative than others and those that implement projects and don’t just talk about them. Of course, smaller, regional formats can also do that.
In addition to the necessary operational trade fair competence, we see two fields in particular that need to be strengthened: Firstly, digital competence, where trade fairs are in strong competition with many other not exactly unattractive sectors and companies. Secondly, community competence, where trade fair organisers need to understand the needs of all market participants of their trade fair even more than before.
What is your forecast for the trade fair year 2022? And are trade fairs now becoming more expensive for the exhibiting industry because of higher material, energy and skilled labour costs?
Our assessment is that the pandemic, which is currently dominating the media, will fortunately lose its dominance again in the medium to long term. In 2022, however, it will still keep the trade fair industry on its toes. The restart will require a lot of strength and stamina. And in parallel, the necessary changes mentioned above must be put on track.
However, I would advise caution in allocating the resulting costs to the participation prices. More than ever, trade fairs are in direct competition with other marketing instruments and their cost-benefit ratio is much more clearly measurable. Exhibiting companies have learned quickly here in the time of the pandemic. The trade fair as a marketing instrument still has a lot of catching up to do, especially when it comes to measurability and the presentation of effectiveness.
adventics says on its website that “digital business” could generate additional revenue for trade fairs, how?
Successful trade fair organisers aim for a share of digital business of 20 – 35 percent in the next 5 years. There is a whole bundle of measures and products that are on the roadmap in this case. Marketing and sales must be considered from the very beginning. New minds, new mechanisms and new pricing are often needed here.
Organisers who see their previous digital approaches as an additional free service are running into the money trap. This is no longer sustainable in the medium term.
Organisers who redesign and intensify the methodical dialogue with their potential customers, develop offers that complement the core business, market and monetise these successfully, partly in partnerships, and then also measure and communicate the success to their customers; these will then also be successful partners of their exhibiting customers in the future.