Wednesday, September 17, 2008 10:31 PM
Our First European Trade Show
Last week, Atalasoft exhibited at the DMS exhibition in Cologne, Germany to launch our SharePoint Suite of products called Vizit. It was the company's first European show. We were fortunate enough to have established a partnership with Kodak and exhibited in their booth instead of having our own. This was a great way for us to scope out the show, but also benefit in a big way. DMS was dominated by larger booths, and fortunately Kodak had a good sized booth dead center in the main aisle, also right next to the Microsoft booth.
Three of us attended this show and we thought it might be a little overkill for our small Kiosk...boy were we wrong. We hired a firm fluent in German language and culture to send out information packets (in German) to other exhibitors who might be interested in OEM'ing or reselling our products. They setup meetings for us ahead of time and kept all 3 of us very busy meeting other ISVs and Integrators making sure we didn't miss our important meetings. Not one of us spoke more than a couple words in German. I quickly learned not to introduce myself with "Guten Tag" as what followed was a German conversation that I had no chance of understanding. Luckily nearly everyone spoke English remarkably well.
What was wonderful about the Kiosk was that everything was done for us! We didn't have to ship anything, we didn't have to do anything substantial to setup or teardown. It was remarkably easier than the 10x20 booths or 10x10 booths that we usually exhibit in. The only hiccup was that Kodak used the Atalasoft logo for the main sign when we wanted the Vizit branding. We ended up printing a make-shift sign for Vizit instead.
The best thing about this show as compared to similar shows in the US is the professionalism. This was not about handing out giveaways or giving hundreds of demos. It was about meeting with people, sitting them down, and getting business done. Everyone was dressed professional, mostly in suits (with branded nametags if you were an exhibitor). No loudspeakers and no iPod giveaways. Many CEO's and executives were in the booths ready to talk about their business and to share ideas. A wonderful venue to get down to business, learn more about the industry, and learn about companies that only do business in Europe or Germany.
Overall the show was great, and there proved to be a great deal of excitement about our free Vizit Scan-to-SharePoint for push scanning into SharePoint with Kodak scanners, Vizit Previewer for zero-footprint thumbnail previews of TIFF, PDF, and Word documents in SharePoint, and Vizit SP for Document Viewing and Imaging in SharePoint.