written by
Dominik Matyka
Dominik Matyka
Marketing
2019-07-30

Show me the DMEXCO: Interview with Dr Dominik Matyka

Show me the DMEXCO: Interview with Dr Dominik Matyka

DMEXCO is a trailblazer in the trade show world, offering a meeting place and community for key players in digital business, marketing, and innovation. It also plays host to SevenVentures Pitch Day 2019 on 12th September. We caught up with DMEXCOs Chief Advisor Dr Dominik Matyka and discussed how start-ups can stand out from the big players and why even in the digital era trade fairs are hard to ignore.

DMEXCO is a trailblazer in the trade show world, offering a meeting place and community for key players in digital business, marketing, and innovation. It also plays host to SevenVentures Pitch Day 2019 on 12th September. We caught up with DMEXCOs Chief Advisor Dr Dominik Matyka and discussed how start-ups can stand out from the big players and why even in the digital era trade fairs are hard to ignore.

Dominik, at large shows like the DMEXCO it is not always easy for start-ups to generate attention alongside the established, large players. What tips do you have for young entrepreneurs?

These events are perfect for young companies to show off what they can do and there is the opportunity to reach thousands of potential customers in a short period of time. The target group comes (almost) by itself. One condition: they also visit your stand. Therefore, the product or service must be presented clearly and comprehensibly, preferably in a creative way that sticks in visitors‘ minds. Regardless of whether it‘s films, live demonstrations, competitions, quiz shows or anything else - whatever stands out from the crowd brings visitors to the stand and creates the basis for a dialogue. True to the motto: (almost) anything goes if you want to be seen.

In the run-up to an event like DMEXCO, it is worth not only preparing the stand, but also informing customers, potential customers and press representatives that you will be there and what they can expect from a visit. Ideally, this will result in exciting meetings arranged in advance.  

You have also founded several companies. How did you prepare for big events back then? What is important from your perspective?

The most important thing is to set clear goals for what is to be achieved. Is it about networking with potential customers? Or is it about reaching potential investors? Or building awareness and reach? Usually there is more than one goal. From this you should derive a concrete event strategy and define appropriate measures. Ideally even define a few KPIs. What should come out at the end of the event to determine its success?

Then communication is the next step: inform your existing business contacts that you will be on site and ready for discussions. It is often a good idea to hold a get-together at your stand at the end of an event day. Also see what other side events are happening which could be worthwhile for your for networking.

And don't forget: After each event, be sure to follow up on any new contacts you have made and remind them that you met. Otherwise even the highest pile of business cards won‘t generate any leads in the long run.

How important are trade fairs today for young companies and their marketing strategies? How do trade fairs run alongside performance and mass marketing measures?

The more digital our communication, the more important personal encounters are and will continue to be. And events such as DMEXCO are the place where you can speak to an extremely large number of market partners personally in a short space of time. Potential business partners, angel investors, other start-ups, media representatives and influencers. When an entire community comes together, it is a perfect basis to expand your own network. What is also worthwhile at DMEXCO is a visit to the conference: international top speakers, specialised workshops or the World of Agencies. There is a great deal of inspiration and learnings to take away. And of course the most important reason: trade. For most start-ups, participation in an event is always about winning new customers. DMEXCO also stands for this like no other digital event in Europe.

SevenVentures Pitch Day, one of the start-up world’s most renowned competitions, takes place again this year at DMEXCO. You are an investor yourself with Cavalry Ventures. What are the biggest don'ts when pitching in front of investors?

The most important thing I say to founders is: be authentic and don't pretend to be anyone but yourself in front of potential investors. You and your team are incredibly important to them. So they need to know exactly who they are putting their trust in. An arrogant performance combined with a utopian turnover plan is something no one wants to see. It is also important, no matter how technical the product or service is, to explain it in an understandable way. Without the bells and whistles and in such a way that every outsider really understands it. Even better with graphics or pictures. Visuals almost always catch the attention of those present. And otherwise the same applies as with every presentation: Practice, practice, practice. The best thing to do is to think both well in advance and in front of the audience about where your weak points are. And prepare for critical questions with good answers. Then almost nothing can go wrong.

Trade fairs are only successful if you attract the right people from the industry. How has DMEXCO achieved this?

With the right network and by learning over the years which visitors have what expectations of us as a platform and ecosystem. And then meeting those expectations in as targeted and individual a way as possible: with interesting exhibitors, with useful content and event offers and with the appropriate network of people. Our new DMEXCO app combines all these possibilities as an interface of data, content and technology. And by making the two days of DMEXCO on site in Cologne a highlight for personal networking and experience.

This year, for the first time, we are inviting corporate venture capital representatives to a half-day conference format, the CVC Stage. Limited, concentrated and with a clear focus on strategic investments. The new format won’t just provide information and inspiration for the participants, but will above all enable them to network with each other and actively connect with the more than 150 national and international DMEXCO start-ups.

What can start-ups expect this year at the DMEXCO?

Start-ups can expect engaged visitors, a great number of venture capital companies and investors, over 500 international and national media representatives as well as a conference with top speakers and a huge inspiration. Also the Future Park is an absolute highlight for start-ups this year.

DMEXCO’s Startup Village is now known as the Future Park. Is there a new focus here this year?

We didn't rename the Startup Village. We have completely redesigned the Future Park. We have integrated the start-ups because we believe that they are in even better hands there. Directly at the entrance to Hall 9, established companies and start-ups from the NewTech, PropTech and FinTech sectors, among others, will be showing their products and services on around 7,000 square metres of space, covering all the relevant technology topics of today and tomorrow: from artificial intelligence and big data to mixed reality, smart technologies and mobility to IoT and blockchain.

They will also be able to pitch their innovations to an expert audience on one of the two integrated stages and present cases in the future hub of DMEXCO. This is the perfect platform to network and make new contacts both within the founder scene and the DMEXCO community.

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