Global crises still strongly impact the events industry. Uncertainties make it necessary to react more flexibly to changing circumstances. As a result, the requirements for event marketing have also changed fundamentally. Companies are increasingly turning to digital marketing and using innovative online formats. The advantage: Digital solutions enable an extended reach and the possibility to address participants worldwide. Tim Spranger from NürnbergMesse has recognized this and, together with socialPALS, has found a way to support his exhibitors in trade fair communication efficiently!
Tim, please tell us something about yourself and your position at Nuremberg Trade Fair!
I am the Executive Director of Marketing at NürnbergMesse and am responsible for marketing all trade fairs in the Process Technology sector. I always try to give new impulses, so my goal was to establish socialPALS in the trade fair business.
You were the "idea generator" for the connection of LinkedIn as a new channel for our platform. Since March, you have been able to provide your exhibitors with fully automated activation campaigns via socialPALS for the first time. How did the idea come about to test this form of marketing for your exhibitor service as well?
My previous job had already allowed me to work with socialPALS, and I also gained initial experience here. The added value for retailers was obvious – social media marketing perfectly tailored to their target group with marginal effort.
Clearly, the USP of socialPALS could also be transferred to exhibitors, as they face the same challenges – neither resources nor marketing know-how. However, the social media platform in B2B business is LinkedIn. Therefore, together with socialPALS, we created a test pilot where this network was integrated. A suitable event was quickly found with MedtecLIVE, and we were able to get started together.
What was the goal of the MedtecLIVE campaign and what was your internal effort to get it off the ground?
Our socialPALS campaign for MedtecLIVE aimed to generate broad awareness for the event and address the target group specifically. In doing so, we not only wanted to support the exhibitors who decided to participate in the campaign with their social media marketing – but we also wanted to arouse the interest and participation of potential exhibitors, speakers and trade visitors. The most significant internal effort was communicating the benefits to the customer, i.e., our sales team. The initial effort here is undoubtedly more important than in subsequent years.
Was the test run successful? Did the platform help you to digitalize the exhibitor service and thus make it more effective or scalable?
The results were positive. Our exhibitors significantly increased their reach and visibility on LinkedIn, which allowed them to reach more potential customers and their marketing goals more effectively. The ability to deliver high-quality campaign content in a personalized and automated way proved to be efficient and time-saving for our exhibitors. Ultimately, we were hoping for the participation of more exhibitors – here, we still see opportunities for increase for the second year.
Were you able to draw any insights from the campaign analysis - for example, which channels/formats are best suited for what? Were there any surprises?
Yes. Originally, we expected LinkedIn to perform the best. We were surprised by the success of our campaign on our exhibitors’ Facebook and Instagram accounts. We hadn’t focused on those two channels. We found that video formats were particularly effective and that LinkedIn was well suited for industry-specific information, while Facebook and Instagram appealed to a broader audience. These insights have helped us to target our channels and formats more effectively.
Did you gain a new understanding of your exhibitors through the platform? How difficult was it to motivate them to participate? Is the module "online marketing via socialPALS" accepted as an integration into the service concept?
Attracting exhibitors for the campaign proved surprisingly challenging. But by providing targeted information about the advantages and added value of participating via socialPALS, we were able to achieve a positive response. However, we still see room for improvement here for 2024.
In the follow-up, we received a tremendous response and many exhibitors showed interest in participating in the upcoming trade show. The campaign has definitely attracted attention. The positive feedback encourages us to continue integrating the module into our concept and to offer our exhibitors an effective marketing platform to promote their trade show participation.
What challenges do you currently see for NürnbergMesse as well as for your exhibitors? Have diverse global crises such as the pandemic or also the supply chain problems had a lasting impact on the brands? Have the requirements for marketing and exhibitions/events also changed fundamentally as a result?
The challenges for both NürnbergMesse and our exhibitors are diverse and have changed permanently due to global crises. These challenges undoubtedly also have a profound impact on brands and companies.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the exhibition industry and the event industry as a whole. Restrictions on physical events, travel restrictions and health concerns have resulted in many planned exhibitions and events either being postponed, cancelled or converted to digital formats. For NürnbergMesse, this meant developing innovative solutions for virtual events to continue to provide the trade show experience even in times of distancing. For our exhibitors, the pandemic brought the challenge of presenting their products and services on a purely virtual platform. Face-to-face interaction and direct contact with potential customers were limited – companies had to find new ways to reach their target groups.
In addition, problems in global supply chains posed a further challenge. Bottlenecks in raw materials and components and delays in delivery affected the production capacities of many companies. This led to uncertainties and the need to respond more flexibly to changing circumstances. As a result, the requirements for marketing and trade shows/events changed fundamentally. Companies were forced to increasingly switch to digital marketing and use innovative online presentation formats. Virtual trade shows, webinars, live demonstrations and interactive events became essential to maintain customer contact and generate leads.
The flexibility and adaptability of exhibition organizers also played a crucial role. NürnbergMesse had to react agilely and develop new concepts to meet the changing needs and constraints. Despite these challenges, these changes also offer opportunities. Digital solutions enable an extended reach and the possibility to address participants from all over the world. Combining physical and virtual elements, hybrid events will gain importance in the future and make the trade show experience even more versatile. Overall, flexibility, creativity and the ability to adapt to changing circumstances are crucial to mastering these challenges and successfully shaping the future of marketing and trade shows/events.
To what extent has socialPALS helped you keep up with current trends? Were you able to benefit from the features to address changing exhibitor needs?
socialPALS has enabled us to optimize our marketing efforts, reach a broader audience, and ultimately increase the success of MedtecLIVE. Digital channels and social media have gained importance as marketing channels. On the other hand, our exhibitors’ personnel capacities are often strained, so they were happy to accept the offer that we take care of promoting their trade show presence.
How would you rate the customer support of socialPALS? Were there situations in which you had questions or problems - and if so, how were you helped?
In the cooperation with socialPALS, there were, of course, a few questions and problems. However, we could turn to the customer service at any time. The support team was always available and showed a high level of responsiveness. Communication was smooth, whether by email, live chat or phone.
This is what trade fair exhibitors say:
We decided to use socialPALS to keep our marketing capacities free and still inform our customers and prospects on a professional level about the upcoming trade fair and our booth within the social media channels. In this course we would like to thank you very much for the easy handling of the content plans, which were posted independently and on time. Likewise, we found the graphic design of the advertising tiles to be very appealing and CI-compliant in relation to Medtec LIVE.
Kunststoff Christel GmbH & Co. KG, Bad Dürrheim
Nadja Pakulski, Marketing & Social Media Manager
Want to learn more about LinkedIn marketing?
In addition to Facebook, Instagram and Google, brands can now also play out their campaigns on LinkedIn at socialPALS and thus reach another target group via the channels of your trade network!
Find out why LinkedIn is relevant as a marketing channel to establish a strong brand and what the growing success of B2C campaigns on LinkedIn is based on in this blog.
Act today and use your MDF more effectively!
socialPALS brings brands and retail partners together and creates a win-win situation that unleashes previously untapped potential. The innovative software solution simplifies complex processes through automated retail marketing and strengthens stationary retail through regional brand campaigns. Get your obligation-free platform demo today and become part of the socialPALS success story.