Seven things businesses can learn from the IFRA World Publishing Expo and DCX Digital Content Expo
by Bianka Boock
While the IFRA World Publishing Expo und DCX Digital Content Expo, currently taking place in Berlin, are primarily for specialists in the news and media industry, these events do still deliver teachable messages for businesses in general – and the IT industry in particular. Having taken a look around on the first day of the show, we’ve compiled a few things we’ve learned – seven in one, you might say.
- Ethics and responsibility should take precedence over any technical innovation.
It’s not just about “faster, bigger, broader” or always going one better. “Data is our friend, data can be our enemy”, said Michael Golden, former Vice Chairman of the New York Times and President of WAN-IFRA. In his keynote speech, he raised concerns that the smartphone could be the greatest espionage tool of all time and discussed a threat “that we need to take seriously”. He challenged the media representatives in the audience to tell stories about what technology enables and what businesses do. The goal: to inform the world, to allow everyone to form their own opinion. For businesses, this means acting responsibly when developing and using new products.
- Traditional marketing is dead.
The world has changed. Businesses that talk about nothing but their own products and services end up looking like blustering macho throwbacks. “Marketing is like a flirt”, explained sales trainer Stephan Heinrich. His advice? “Flirt first, sell later!” Businesses should first think about what their target groups want, then build a relationship with them. Only once this relationship has matured sufficiently should they start their sales pitch. In other words, the focus should be on the target groups and adding extra value.
- Context is more important than reach.
Storytelling via location-based content, and technologies like iBeacons, Eddystone, NFC and geofencing, present exciting possibilities. It’s not about reaching as many people as possible with as many messages as possible, said Michael Wolf, CEO, wingu GmbH. Rather, it’s about the context – it’s about giving them the right information through the right channels precisely when they’re in the decision-making phase, for example.
- It’s better to do your homework than chase the “next big thing”
Businesses were offering media outlets a huge range of solutions at the show: everything from content management systems to location-based services and diverse distribution platforms to support artificial intelligence. It was almost overwhelming to learn how many different things are theoretically possible. But it’s not actually about implementing as many of these things as possible and keeping up with the cutting edge of absolutely every field. Presentations by independent speakers and podium discussions made it clear that it’s much more important to do your homework. In other words, businesses shouldn’t strive for world dominance: you can do very well by going for the low-hanging fruit first.
- Less is often more.
Presentations shouldn’t just be mind-numbing introductions to your business! It’s disappointing when interested visitors, drawn by a promising session title, show up and have to spend ten minutes at the start listening to you talk about your company. Instead, three or four concise statements like “My name is X, I work for Company Y and we do Z” make for a perfectly clear opening. Getting straight to the point will highlight your competence. Give your audience pure information – don’t dilute it with side messages!
- You can always learn something, even from other industries.
The complexity of the modern working world means that many people never look beyond their own industry. Looking at the wide range of offerings for the media industry, however, we noticed that similar solutions were already available in other industries, such as e-commerce. It seems that looking at what other industries are up to can help you better assess the value of new developments in your own.
- Get out there, look around!
Even when work is piling up and it seems like it’s only going to cost you time, effort and money, try to get out of the office every now and then! Visit events like trade shows and conferences, listen to what people have to say and engage them in conversation. Sure, you can read, see and experience a lot on the Internet, but Human Contact 1.0 still offers a little something extra.