Digital First?

Written by Urs on . Posted in Messe CEO

Yes, but why not do your homework first?

It was busy on the show floor at the Prolight & Sound in Frankfurt this week. It was obvious that a large percentage of the show attendees came from abroad, which makes this show a truly international one. My guess goes to between 50 and 60 percent.

I enjoyed my talk to one of the press colleagues at Messe Frankfurt and it underlined my conviction that live can do everything for you that digital cannot. The English language has a great name for what happens in such meetings: serendipity – we find things we did not know we were looking for. Naturally (naturally!) one of our key topics was the digital transformation of the exhibition industry.

We can not underline it enough times, but digital is a extension of real time trade fairs, not a replacement. It will not replace trade fairs, on the contrary. The more digital our world becomes, the more the need for real time get togethers rises.

But the fear of loosing out on selling square metres still seems to monopolize the minds of most trade fair operators in the world. In fact we have not seen a valuable digital business modell within the exhibition industry, which adds value to the organisers and their customers.

Why not start and make things easy?

Digitization first and foremost means to tackle simple organiser’s homework such as providing valuable tools for the registration as a exhibitor and all subsequent administration, which used to be done in timeconsuming print.

This of course is just the first step. It does not provide a new business modell, but gives a organiser credibility that he cares about digitization and the speeding up and the reduction of administrative processes.

We have a simple two step business modell for exibition organisers:

The first step is to show exhibitors where their future digitization lies (and where not). This can be achieved in special area concepts like the Frankfurt show Tendence does by offering a special show area on concept stores for retailers.

The second step goes a bit further: it transforms or should we rather say extends the show itself into a mobile, 24/7, 365 days show by bringing together the relevant community online. This is what a real time show can not achieve.

My press colleague and I shared the opinion that the first step in the direction of this goal is … to listen to your customer. Yes, it sounds dreadfully banal, but let’s be honest, do you do this comprehensively? On a daily basis? Do you care first and foremost for what really exites your customers and not your own organisation?

We have recently researched criticisms of a globally leading trade fair by some of its main exhibitors. The mind blowing realization came when we realized how solutions for the future format of the show were sublimely covered in the subtext of the criticisms. It has confirmed us that a protesting customer is a customer who cares and can offer great insights.

 

P.S. Smartville offers consulting on the transformation in the exhibition industry and high profile new media communication for your sales team. Use it.

Pro Light & Sound Frankfurt

 

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