Specific trade events hold more value: Mystakidis

Heidelberg is now one of a number of heavy manufacturers to quit drupa 2021 but Australia and New Zealand managing director Savas Mystakidis says the smaller, more specific show format and virtual livestreams may prove more valuable going forward.

The German offset press manufacturer announced in July that it would not be attending the 10-day printing and packaging megashow in April 2021 due to ongoing travel concerns and health risks caused by COVID-19 pandemic.

Heidelberg will use online events and sessions at its five global Print Media Centres to show new technology in 2021

Instead the company is preparing to show its latest products and technologies via a series of regional events at any of its five Print Media Centres and also through a livestreamed Innovation Week from October 19 to 23.

The Innovation Week will focus on packaging and commercial, including autonomous printing, end-to-end solutions, Smart Print Shop and Push-to-Stop.

Mystakidis said when drupa organisers announced the new date for the event, it was always a concern that the event may not happen, even at the rescheduled date.

“I think lots of Australians will not be going travelling overseas for a long long time unfortunately,” Mystakidis told Sprinter.

“I don’t know if drupa will proceed at all in any respect to be honest.”

More specific approach

In response to this lack of surety, Heidelberg is instead offering a series of more specific targeted events which Mystakidis feels will more suit customers anyway.

“Trade shows from 20 or 30 years ago were always a good event for people to go and see things but as the internet age came about and people have more ready access to information everything has started changing,” he said.

“I’ve been to five drupas myself but at the end of the day when you have a big event it is quite often that people use it as an excuse to have a look, which is great, but they all tend to go on their holidays afterwards.

“They are not really there for a purpose but just a general look whereas if it is a specified event, if you are interested in something, and it’s got to do with your business moving forward then you will attend an event of relevance.

“So definitely a specified event is far better for all parties I believe.”

Around the world

Tokyo and Shanghai are the nearest Heidelberg Print Media Centres for those in Australia and New Zealand but with travel restrictions remaining in place it is unclear when any of us will be able to travel to those.

There are three other centres in Wiesloch-Walldorf in Germany, Atlanta and Sao Paulo.

“We are quite often doing week long shows on say packaging in Tokyo where we have a big showroom. We invite people to attend and it is the same in Germany where we could have a week-long label event for example,” Mystakidis said.

“These kinds of events have always happened and it is just going to happen more and more as the new normal.”

High tech Aussies

The virtual livestreamed events would also suit many Australian and New Zealand business owners, who tend to be very knowledgeable and not afraid to adopt new technologies.

“Those in the Australian and New Zealand regions are quite well informed and well educated so when they look at something they know exactly what they are looking at and they can ask the specific question that is relevant to their environment,” Mystakidis said.

“Time will tell but I think it will be a really good way to do it.

“When you have specific events and specific targeted groups that are going there they know what they want and they will ask the relevant questions and get the answers they need.”

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