I have been participating in various exhibitions and conferences as a visitor for many years. But recently I had the opportunity to monitor and explore this market, from the inside, as an exhibitor.
During my 16 years of work experience in the energy business, I have learned that the most effective way to reduce the cost of energy is not consuming it. This is the most effective way in every sense –no energy consumption, no pollution and no need for recycling.
Why am I talking about exhibitions and energy? Exploring this monster advertising market from the inside horrified me. I was shocked by the enormous amounts of resources that are used and wasted. A regular visitors does not notice this because they are at the exhibition just to look around, find new ideas or have a good time. A visitor does not care that everything that delights his eye was created in the year and that after the exhibition all of it will turn into a big garbage mountain. These things do not bother a visitor because cost for visit the exhibitions usually are quite low, varying from €20 - €200.
In contrast, the exhibition expenses for exhibitors are much higher than for visitors, as they include stand designs, the transportation of products, accommodation and more. In any case, all these expenses go into the cost of products or services that are ultimately paid by the same Visitor. Finally, it comes out that every trash that is thrown away is paid for. The only value that is created is information visitors have learnt about an exhibitor’s products or services.
The principal questions are, therefore:
Today, technology helps to provide us with great opportunities to distribute information through social networks, video broadcasts and more, but still we keep going to shows. Why? We need to so we can connect face-to-face with potential clients and have live contact with people with whom we want to develop business or research relations. Attempts to transfer traditional exhibitions into virtual ones are not yet popular, due to the lack of reality. There is too much animation, which does not give enough certainty and confidence. Other virtual exhibition platforms have turned into the archives of catalogues, making it difficult to understand what is currently on the trend. Despite the expected potential significance of the virtual exhibitions, consumers do not currently have much confidence in them, and they don’t solve the fundamental dilemma of how to provide information in an easier way.
While this is a dilemma, every problem faced has a solution. Since I was sorely disappointed by the results I had from displaying at traditional exhibitions (I spent about €100,000 in expenses with an almost zero return), my healthy anger gave birth to a solution. A solution that on one hand would eliminate the expenses, risk, and would save time, and on the other hand would keep the same level of communication with clients that exhibitions would provide. Two years of continuous searching and hundreds of drafts, prototypes, design changes, frustrations and inspirations gave birth to a new communication platform – Exponeer.
Most of us would agree that the traditional ways in which exhibitions and conferences work are already outdated. They are outdated because new technologies enable an easier and faster way of disseminating information. Nowadays we have to pay even more attention to the sustainability of each activity. In the context of global climate change concerns, there is not any space left for businesses that do not take resources wastage into account. However, what I saw from inside traditional exhibitions couldn’t be called sustainability. It was a massive waste of resources, energy and time.
Despite all the things discussed above, let’s try to look at the efficiency of exhibitions. Imagine you are an expert in your field and you are going to participate in an international exhibition. You must pay for hotels, travel, and a backlog of work, but you make it to the expo. It’s a big event: thousands of people, a lot of information, wow! You are running, collecting information, trying to talk with some managers. The expo lasts for two or three days and then it’s done! How many signed contracts do you have in your hands? Have you gathered 100% of what was offered by the expo? Will you be able to recount everything you have seen there to your colleagues? Do the answers to these questions disappoint you?
Now, let’s try to imagine an alternative. Imagine that during the year you visit two major exhibitions. Taking into account the time you spend on travelling to an exhibition and time spent at an event, you dedicate 80 hours in total to it. If you choose an online virtual platform, the same result will be obtained within 36 hours or 9 minutes per day. In addition to avoiding travel and accommodation expenses, your chance of finding a partner and getting acquainted with market trends doubles.
This is just a small part of what can be achieved in terms of efficiency. Here is an example, which will be followed by the approving nods of people who face similar situations. Recently I accompanied someone to an international conference. During the registration, each participant was given a beautiful bright colored backpack. While the conference was on, I saw so many people with these backpacks in the old town, the metro and other public places. Why is it strange, you ask? My amazement lies in the fact that hundreds of people over the peak of the conference did not take part in it, and instead toured the town, even though it was an international medical conference where topics of disease diagnosis and treatment were discussed.
Not a single case shows that the traditional exhibitions and conferences have turned into entertainment and tourism business-oriented ones. They lack value, the creation of new business relationships and market building. So if you are really interested in building a business, looking for the new partnerships and knowing the latest market trends then using new generation technology makes sense.
Imagine a completely new alternative to traditional exhibitions, which would allow you to attend exhibitions or conferences, but at the same time would free you from the investments and headaches of travel, accommodation and installing a booth‘s equipment. Moreover, imagine that you could participate in exhibitions that are in psychically distant countries, which you would never reach in reality.
Two years of hard work gave a birth to an entirely new tool, which is extremely useful to each of us in the development of business and acquisition of new knowledge.
What is the Exponeer and how does it work? This platform was designed to move visitor’s and exhibitor’s behaviors and experiences into the digital space. First of all, the visitor or exhibitor will think about which exhibition they would like to take part in. This choice is usually determined by market concentration, potential and their level of experience.
Then the visitor or exhibitor of Exponeer can analogically choose topics and regions or cities that interest them. Exponeer provides data about relevant exhibitions and conferences across the world. In such a way, you are able to move around online like it is real-life. In order to provide visitors and exhibitors with the latest information, each product, service and presentation can be displayed for no longer than one year. In addition, each exhibitor can only present up to five products or services at a time. The limitation helps to ensure that visitors are provided with up-to-date information.
This principle of a virtual platform does not compromise on the advantages of traditional exhibition. Moreover, you are provided with an invaluable opportunity to visit distant exhibitions you would never visit in reality, due to the limitations of time and money.
Real conversations and eye-to-eye contacts are essential to traditional exhibitions. How can this issue be solved in a virtual space? At this point, Exponeer has a tool that surpasses the advantages of live chat. When you are an exhibitor in a traditional fair, you are forced to repeat the same story about your product or service hundreds of times. However, in Exponeer you can record a video once and then add related material (e.g. graphs, tables or diagrams). By seeing two synchronously operating video windows, a visitor will not only feel real human emotions but will at the same time receive important information. The same video can be uploaded to a number of other exhibitions, which means that huge amounts of time can be saved.
Have you, as a visitor, ever waited in booth’s line to talk with an exhibitor? Exponeer has a solution to this inconvenience. From now on, you will be able to reach detailed information at any time, stop the broadcast, and rewind it. And, if you like the presentation, you will not have to wait in line anymore. Exponeer’s video call function allows for both visitors and exhibitors to choose and reserve a convenient time for a conversation or, if necessary, to change it.
Only one question is left. How can you sign a contract if everything happens in a virtual space? Exponeer does not take away from you the joy of live communication. It aims to create new relationships, as quickly and efficiently as possible. It is likely that the relevance of traditional exhibitions and conferences will decline: it will turn into compact meeting places, where people will meet just to sign a cooperation agreement and shake hands.