Why Participating in a Trade Fair Abroad Is Important

Lessons Learned at London IT Expo Europe 2016

 by Jörg Hecke, Product Marketing Manager at SEH Computertechnik GmbH

All well and good: websites bursting with content, blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram—you know the variety of modern online marketing. You are probably playing the game as much as we do. And that is necessary. Attracting attention has not become easier with these online platforms; on the contrary, it has gotten harder. Everybody does it. So how do we stand out from the crowd?

Face-time Is Indispensable

How do you get face-to-face interaction with people that see, get to experience, and ideally buy your products? That is what trade fairs, road shows, and conferences are for. The rule that we manufacturers have to go to the potential client applies in this case as well as it does for so many others. If the mountain won't come to Mohammed, Mohammed must go to the mountain. For companies that do not carry the name Microsoft, Google, or T-Mobile that is even more true. However, even the Mount Everests of the IT and Internet sector go to where their customers and market potentials are.

IP Expo as Template for European Niche Trade Fairs

SEH exhibited at IP Expo for the third year in a row and we were very interested in seeing if the investment of time and money would be worth it. To us it was a pilot project and the basis for our decision about attending trade fairs in other European countries. What do we have to do better or differently?

Our nine square meter (97 square foot) booth was situated well given the walking paths of visitors. Contrary to most exhibitors around us, we did not have eye-catching attractions to lure in as many visitors as possible to our booth. In light of the colorful sideshows we were a relatively inconspicuous exhibitor.

Thus many visitors stopped at our booth because they were interested in our products: "dongle management", "Print.Mobile.Secure", or "enterprise AirPrint". We were one of the few exhibitors actually showing hardware. And that was our big advantage. Putting something tangible into a showcase has become more and more rare over the last few years. Most IT solutions are only displayed on a monitor.

The experts talked to us about application scenarios, and the benefits and functions of our portfolio. And we are talking about quite a few visitors. On both days we were really busy and had no time to rest. The other exhibitors confirmed this. They were really happy with IP Expo in general and this year's show in particular.

For my work as product manager direct conversations with our customers and potential clients are essential. I learn what their IT problems are, what they want, they ask me questions about functions and I find out what SEH can do for them.

Hot IT Topics

Bring-your-own-device (BYOD) and Mobile Computing are becoming more and more a problem that needs to be solved. We are talking about three aspects: organization, management, and security. Solutions for data storage and its scalability are hot topics for companies.

It does not matter if company data is in the cloud, on-site or at hosts such as Amazon. Today, entire software infrastructures are offered which cater exactly to these needs. The technology and data storage method behind it are supposed to be irrelevant to the customer. IP Expo illustrated this point with the increased use of flash memory (SSDs) instead of rotating media in data centers. This is "the next big thing" for several vendors.

Will Classic IT Trade Fairs Make a Comeback?

A German company needs stamina to establish itself in foreign markets if competitors have already established themselves. Luckily that is not the case for SEH. We do not have direct competitors so we have big potential.

Unfortunately, there a only a few events left which are relevant to the IT sector. Apart from IP Expo I consider "CloudEurope" in the United Kingdom to be interesting for our Dongleservers and USB virtualization.Based in London as well, "BETT" targets the education system. We also offer interesting solutions for this sector. But then we hit the end of the road when it comes to trade fairs and events in the United Kingdom suited for SEH.

That may be why IP Expo is growing each year and becomes more and more popular contrary to general development trends in the trade fair industry. There are only a few events for IT companies, such as this year's IP Expo, which focus on cloud solutions, cyber security, network and infrastructure, and data analysis.

Resume: Complete Success, Room For More

I do not like to talk about "leads" when I talk about people who are interested in our solutions. It dehumanizes the newly made acquaintances. You do not process leads, you socialize beyond the scope of trade fair with all those interested. And that will keep us busy for now.

After two jam-packed trade fair days we are exhausted but happily count about 60 very interested trade visitors. Half of them want to talk some more about mobile printing solutions with us. About 30 percent are very interested in our Dongleservers. Demand and need exist and we were spot on in signaling our potential British market and its companies that they are important to us: SEH went to the mountain.

For press inquiries please contact:

SEH Computertechnik GmbH

Monika Plaß

Phone: +49 (0) 521-94226-52

Email: m.plass@seh.de


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