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26 (121) 2016
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Digitisation

Business-focused expos in the digital age

Header targi kielce

New technologies shape and stimulate every industry's development; this equally applies to agriculture, bicycle and defence industries.

The exhibition industry, though largely based on direct communication, cannot skip the influence of innovation in various business sectors. Cutting-edge technologies help companies and institutions scattered around the world cooperate with each other. However, is it worth giving up on the traditional meetings in particular industries and business sectors?

Almost  1.5m visitors, 29,000 exhibitors, more than 760,000m2 of exhibition space leased out at more than 200 events -- these are the  facts and figures which describe professional exhibitions in Poland last year.

The Polish exhibition market has been constantly advancing, reporting steady, consistant growth since the 1990s. This development has been fuelled by the improving economic situation confirmed by continual GDP growth. Poland's EU membership and its favourable geopolitical location are also beneficial. The improved economic situation is also beneficial for Polish small- and medium-sized enterprises. SMEs' share in the total number of exhibitors at Polish expos has always been significant, with 84% of SMEs recognising participation in specialised expos held in our country as an effective way to reach marketing and communications objectives.

According to data from PIPT, the Polish chamber of the exhibition industry, there has been a noticeable upward trend in the number of visitors and exhibitors.  Last year saw a 15% increase in the number of visitors compared to 2014. The number of foreign businesses that exhibit at Polish trade shows has increased by 7%.

Kielce - a good example

Targi Kielce is one of Poland's trade-fair and exhibition market leaders.  The expo centre's calendar comprises more than 70 events – trade shows, exhibitions and 700 conferences. These include the world-famous international defence industry exhibition MSPO, PLASTPOL --Poland's most international exhibition, and AGROTECH -- the most visited agricultural fair.

Targi Kielce represents one-third of Poland's trade-fair market. Among all Central and Eastern Europe's expo organisers, the Kielce Centre is ranked second in terms of the number of exhibitors and exhibition space leased.

“Targi Kielce, the Central and Eastern Europe’s expo centres' rankings' runner-up has been in line with the global industry's trends; this development has also been fuelled with the markets' boom. The 2015, compared to 2014 saw the increases in exhibition space and the number of exhibitors. The number of visitors at Targi Kielce's expos has increased by almost 6%,” says Andrzej Mochoń, Targi Kielce’s management board president and the chair of the International Exhibition Statistics Union CENTREX. “The statistics-based up-trend shows that modern technologies and e-commerce development have not substituted direct relations. Expos are unrivalled in providing the opportunity for face-to-face meetings; these bring together exhibitors and visitors as well as representatives of various companies. Expo offers the ideal climate for this,” adds Mr Mochoń  

FACE-TO-FACE

The pursuit of innovation will never end. Although people's communication employs new technologies, these will never supersede or replace direct relations, meetings, face-to-face encounters, the need to exchange experiences. Direct marketing has ruled supreme ever since people started to trade; buyers and sellers have met face to face and looked into each other's eyes when talking shop. Targi Kielce's exhibitions which bring together exhibitors from all corners of the world look exactly the same.   Last year Targi Kielce hosted  6,500 exhibitors. Germans account for the largest group of foreign exhibitors (60% of the total), followed by Italians and the French. Turkey has also a strong representation.  Recently, a new group has strongly marked their expo presence -- there has been an increasing number of Portuguese exhibitors. In 2015 Targi Kielce hosted 220,000 visitors from 56 countries. These were  mainly Ukrainians, Belarusians, Czechs, Slovaks  as well as representatives of  Lithuania, Germany, Russia, Sweden and Denmark.

New technologies in the service of direct meetings

Pursuit of innovation, ground-breaking solutions, expansion of Internet-based communication and the use of social media are dominant trends in business and direct contacts. Yet social media tends to increase physical isolation between people. Video-conferencing, webinars, online meetings do not substitute the need for direct meetings; the virtual and the real complement one another. In its communications, Targi Kielce utilises social media channels such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn and Twitter.  New technologies and social media are used for expos, exhibitions and conferences organisation, however nothing can replace face-to-face contacts. Online activities maintain connections with an events' community -- before the next edition of a trade show, you do not have to build everything from scratch. This is the tool to motivate the largest possible group of people and give them incentives to meet in Targi Kielce.

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