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Course Marketing Communications & Advertising
Date 20 October 2014
Budget cut proposals affecting the digital strategy
promoting COMPANY X’s presence at the CeBIT
Undergraduate Diploma in Professional Practice – Business
Restriction Notice
The following management report “Budget cut proposals affecting the
digital strategy promoting COMPANY X’s presence at the CeBIT” contains
confidential information pertaining to Company X. Its use is restricted to
interested parties from Kingston University. The report may not be
published or passed to third parties.
10 September 2014
Executive Summary
This report analyses the benefits of developing a digital strategy and
emphasises its importance for a successful promotion of the COMPANY X
presence at the CeBIT IT trade fair. It also strongly recommends the
international management board to reconsider the potential 5% budget cut
for CeBIT 2015.
The project lead for the CeBIT and the digital strategist were interviewed
and both underlined the necessity for an effective digital strategy if
COMPANY X is to adapt to the ever advancing technological innovations. In
order to assess the effectiveness of a digital strategy including social media/
website/ search engine optimisation/ advertising and mobile, all online
activity was monitored and analysed at this year’s CeBIT. The literature
review gives an overview on current thinking and states why each
component of the digital strategy is an added bonus to promoting a trade
fair presence.
Recommendations for the workplace include increasing the social media
usage and making savings in other areas such as travel expenses, hotel
accommodation and staff presence at the trade fair.
A lack of hard facts proved to have a limiting effect on the research
methodology. Further research in this area might include an COMPANY X
internal observational study or questionnaires for visitors to the CeBIT. It
is suggested to take a closer look at the correlation between visitor
numbers and the usage of a digital strategy.
I would like to thank my manager at COMPANY X, my colleagues, my
placement tutor and my family and friends, without whom writing this
report would have been rendered a lot more difficult.
A special mention has to be made for the support my manager at COMPANY
X, Jan, showed me. He assisted me in obtaining all relevant data for this
report and helped me choose the topic and what direction the report should
go in. A big thank you also to my colleague Pinar, who supported me
throughout my internship and gave me useful insights into the digital world.
I would also like to mention my placement tutor Chris, who always
effectively replied to my emails queries.
Most important of all though, I would like to say a huge thank you to my
friends and family, who were always there for me, kept me motivated and
offered their assistance wherever possible.
Contents ………………………………………………………………………………i
List of Abbreviations and Explanations ………………………………………… ii
List of Tables and Figures ……………………………………………………….. iii
1. Introduction………………………………………………………………………1
1.1 Overview…………………………………………………………………….1
1.2 Research Objectives ………………………………………………………2
1.3 Research Methodology ……………………………………………………3
2. Literature Review………………………………………………………………6
2.1 Social Media Trends……………………………………………………….6
2.2 Mobile Devices …………………………………………………………… 10
2.3 Website……………………………………………………………………. 12
2.4 Advertising ……………………………………………………………….. 12
2.5 Search Engine Optimisation …………………………………………… 13
3. Company Profile …………………………………………………………….. 14
4. Research Findings ……………………………………………………………15
4.1 Literature and Interview Analysis ……………………………………. 15
4.2 Social Media Activity Analysis…………………………………………. 19
5. Conclusions…………………………………………………………………… 21
6. Recommendations for the Workplace……………………………………. 23
7. Limitations of the Research ………………………………………………..27
8. Recommendations for further Research ………………………………… 28
References List…………………………………………………………………….29
Appendices …………………………………………………………………………32
Appendix 1 – The CeBIT ……………………………………………………… 33
Appendix 2 – Interview Pinar Cilbir, Digital Strategist………………….. 35
Appendix 3 – Interview Jan Fode, Project Lead………………………….. 42
Appendix 4 – Social Media Analysis ………………………………………… 47
Appendix 5 – Checklist for social media strategy………………………… 54
List of Abbreviations and Explanations
“Business to Business” describes commerece transactions
between businesses.
CeBIT A German acronym for “Centrum für Büroautomation,
Informationstechnologie und Telekommunikation” which
translates as “Center for Office Automation, Information
Technology and Telecommunication”. The CeBIT is the world’s
largest IT trade fair and is organised by the DMAG.
DMAG A German acronym for “Deutsche Messe Agentur” which
translates as “German trade fair company” and is based in
Hanover, Germany.
COMPANY X “International Business Machines Corporation” is an
American multinational technology and consulting corporation,
with headquarters in Armonk, New York, United States.
List of Tables and Figures
Figure 1 – Social Media Analysis Timeline………………………………………3
Figure 2 – Usage of selected social and media networks ……………………7
Figure 3 – The Conversation Prism ………………………………………………8
Figure 4 – Social and media networks used by consumers; Base: 2,000
internet users aged 16+…………………………………………………………..9
Figure 5 – Global growth in usage of mobile applications 2012-13………10
Figure 6 – Visitors to select social and media networks through a
smartphone browser; Base: 33 000 smartphone users……………………11
Figure 7 – Visitors to select social and media networks through a
smartphone app; Base: 33 000 smartphone users………………………… 11
Figure 8 – Information sharing …………………………………………………17
Figure 9 – Engagement evaluation …………………………………………….19
Figure 10 – CeBIT 2014 expenses ……………………………………………..24
1. Introduction
1.1 Overview
`We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media; the
question is how well we do it.´
Erik Qualman (2010)
Author of Socialnomics
At Company X, a digital strategy and consequently social media is used to
promote and market events such as the CeBIT. Held annually, the CeBIT is
the largest IT trade fair worldwide. Planning for the CeBIT 2015 has already
begun in the marketing department. However, the management board is
considering budget cuts for the trade fair which is to take place next March.
It has been decided that the majority of these cuts will affect the social
activities and media promotion area as this is seen to be a less vital field
for investment.
Social networks can open new communication channels between a trade
fair and visitors or clients. Due to the change of communication trends and
customer behaviour, social media is, as Qualman (2010) states, a must in
today’s society. Cutting costs for a digital strategy and taking less
advantage of the growing popularity of sites such as Facebook and Twitter
would be a drawback (Desmond, 2014) for COMPANY X. Customer-focused
efforts around the CeBIT such as a website, mobile, social, advertising and
search engine optimisation are what makes a company like COMPANY X
stand out from its competitors.
This report mainly analyses secondary data on why a digital strategy is an
essential part for planning a successful CeBIT 2015 and states why budget
cuts should not take place here.
1.2 Research Objectives
The main purpose of this management report is to define the following:
‘How essential a role does a digital strategy, with focus on social media,
play in assisting trade fair marketing at COMPANY X and its presence at the
The following objectives help answer this question:
 Identifying the importance of a digital strategy for a successful
promotion of the COMPANY X presence at the CeBIT trade fair
 Convincing the international management board that costs-cutting
measures should take place elsewhere
This report reviews current thinking and theories in the digital media area
and gives an answer to the research questions.
1.3 Research Methodology
This management report relies on both secondary and primary data. In
order to obtain a wider view of the topic area, a mixture of textbooks and
electronic resources such as websites and online journals was utilised.
These sources were checked for relevance and reliability. The acquired
knowledge is applied to state why a digital strategy is essential and also
assists in making recommendations.
Comparing facts and figures from past years at the CeBIT and other trade
fairs and analysing documents about COMPANY X and textbooks about
trade fairs also assisted in the research. The digital strategy COMPANY X
implemented at CeBIT 2014 is used to analyse its success. Social media
activities were analysed from 7 weeks up to the CeBIT 2014 (Figure 1).
Web mentions are counted using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Blogs, News
and Forums as a source. The filtered words are ‘CeBIT’ and ‘CeBIT
COMPANY X’. Twitter was filtered by ‘CeBIT’ and ‘Company X’ in order to
analyse competitor mentions.
Figure 1 – Social Media Analysis Timeline
Primary research is utilised for this report with a face-to-face and an online
interview with the CeBIT project leader and the digital strategist. The aim
of an in-depth individual face-to-face interview is to explore a topic in-depth
whilst being recorded with the permission of the interviewee. The body
language of interviewees is important to be able to understand their view
on the subject completely. This aspect is unfortunately not present with an
online interview. The answers of the interviewee are more spontaneous,
without extended reflection. This is not the case with an online interview as
the interviewee usually thinks before typing and in focus groups would
reflect on what to say and already form a finished sentence in their mind in
order not to embarrass themselves (Beall, 2010).
The advantage of an online in-depth interview is the time and cost saving
as no travel expenses are incurred. On the other hand, to have a successful
and in-depth online interview around twice the time has to be planned for
than with a face-to-face interview. Also, the interviewee and the interviewer
could easily be distracted, which would have a negative effect on the quality
of the interview. In addition, the interviewer is not always able to judge the
reactions and mood of the interviewee, making it more difficult to create a
good interview ambience (McGivern, 2009).
A room in the COMPANY X buildings was necessary in order to interview the
participants. Each interview took approximately half an hour, and included
remuneration. There were no other costs.
As a large amount of data is confidential, sensitivity is required. To ensure
research is conducted in an ethical way materials from other sources are
acknowledged and it is important to outline what will happen to the collated
information. The subjects were provided with information explaining the
research process in a clear and concise manner. A consent form was given
(Appendix 2 & 3) with participants retaining the right to decline the
interview or any use of information. Qualitative data is analysed using
coding and highlighting themes.
2. Literature Review
The following chapter gives an overview on current thinking on why a digital
strategy, including website/ advertising/ search engine optimisation/
mobile and social media, plays an essential role in event marketing and
2.1 Social Media Trends
According to the Social Media Benchmark Wave 2 (2012), 69% of
organisations use Facebook, 79% Twitter, as a core part of their marketing
strategy. Social media is a cost-effective tool offering the ability for
businesses to successfully achieve a highly targeted customer reach (Social
Media Guidelines and Policies, 2013) and observe their competitors and
respective markets (Mehrtens, 2013).
Posting articles, comments, videos and photos on blogs, YouTube and
Instagramm, widens an organisation’s reach by spreading its messages out
to a potentially vast audience as people share information they like with
friends, who in turn share the branded content with more friends (Smith
and Zook, 2011).
As in Figure 2, younger consumers are the main users of social and media
networks. They are most likely aged between 16 and 24.
More 16-24s than over-65s use media networks by a ratio of almost 3:1.
By comparison, the ratio for social networks is 3:2 (Mintel, 2014).
Figure 2 – Usage of selected social and media networks
(Mintel, 2014)
Facebook and Youtube are the most appealing sites for over 65s, given that
six in ten over 65s use Facebook and 25% watch videos on Youtube (Mintel,
Developed in 2008 by Brian Solis, The Conversation Prism (Figure 3) is a
visual map of the social media landscape. It is an ongoing study in digital
ethnography that tracks dominant and promising social networks and
organises them by how they are used in everyday life (Solis, 2013).
Figure 3 – The Conversation Prism
(Solis, 2013)
Mintel (2014) provides a chart giving an overview of the social and media
networks used by consumers aged 16+. It shows that Facebook is still the
most prominent among other social media channels with 74% out of 2,000
consumers using it.
Figure 4 – Social and media networks used by consumers; Base: 2,000 internet
users aged 16+
(Mintel, 2014)
Redant (2013) states that well-conceived digital strategies and campaigns
offer companies new, unique ways of engaging with their customers and
audiences to a far higher level than previously possible. Bashar et al.
(2012) also states: that it is practically impossible to design a marketing
strategy without considering social networks. Social media plays an
important role in the marketing and promotion mix. The internet, social
networking and media sites have changed the way business is done and
how people interact with each other. The human race is social by nature
(Clippinger, 2012), and an increasing number of people are joining social
media and networking sites (Mintel, 2014). Businesses can therefore reach
even more potential customers with an active and effective use of social
2.2 Mobile Devices
Figure 4 illustrates that social media and messaging applications have the
highest year-on-year growth compared to other applications.
Figure 5 – Global growth in usage of mobile applications 2012-13
(Mintel, 2014)
Between 2012 and 2014 there was a steady increase in mobile access for
a selection of social media and networking sites (Figure 4). Increases in
applications used between November 2012 and February 2014 were 163%
and 99% for Pinterest and Tumblr, compared to 21%, 22% and 24%
respectively for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn (Mintel, 2014).
Figure 6 – Visitors to select social and media networks through a smartphone
browser; Base: 33 000 smartphone users
(Mintel, 2014)
The same pattern is recognisable for access of the previously listed sites
through smartphone apps (Figure 6).
Figure 7 – Visitors to select social and media networks through a smartphone
app; Base: 33 000 smartphone users
(Mintel, 2014)
The increase in the proportion of smartphone owners accessing social and
media sites from their devices is not surprising, given the wider role in
consumers’ digital lives that smartphones and tablets have been playing
over the years leading up to 2014 (Figure 7).
2.3 Website
Event websites are a one-stop shop for all things related to the event:
 Event news
 Press releases
 Event photo gallery and videos
 Social media links
 E-ticketing and pricing
 Schedules for the event
 Promotional material
This gives potential visitors a tool to obtain all the necessary information
and is especially effective for large events. A Website can support the
infrastructure that would have to be put in place to maintain and update
the website daily with event related news and information (Carter, 2013).
2.4 Advertising
In 2009, the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) announced that internet
advertising spend overtook TV advertising. Currently, the internet takes up
23% of all advertising spend, compared with 21.9% for TV (redant, 2013).
Online advertising is designed to yield instantaneous and easily measurable
results (Hoyle, 2002). According to Catalano and Smith (2000) the Internet
is the ideal medium for advertising.
2.5 Search Engine Optimisation
Search engines have become the most important way by which internet
users find content and information online (Carter et al, 2011). This makes
them by far the most valuable digital advertising tools available.
There are hundreds of existing search engines, yet around 70% of all search
results come from one company: Google (Kent, 2012).
Ledford (2009) states that search engine optimisation is needed for a
website to stand out and to ideally be displayed on the first page of a search
result. An increasing number of website visitors will stimulate the event
promotion (Bernard et al, 2010).
To summarize, all aspects in a digital strategy have their benefits and are
best used in combination. The next chapter will introduce the company
COMPANY X and the CeBIT trade fair, for which a digital strategy is
3. Company Profile
The American corporation COMPANY X is one of the largest providers of
information technology and B2B solutions. COMPANY X’s headquarters is in
Armonk, New York. More than 430,000 employees in over 170 countries
manufacture and market computer hardware, software and services to
complex application solutions, outsourcing projects and financing.
(COMPANY X, 2013)
COMPANY X uses the CeBIT IT trade fair (Appendix 1) to introduce new
progressive solutions and prepare its customers for future challenges and
fast-changing market requirements. Each year, the international
management board decides what budget will be made available for planning
and organising the CeBIT. For 2015, it is possible that a cut of 5% will be
announced (Appendix 3).
4. Research Findings
4.1 Literature and Interview Analysis
The CeBIT project leader (Appendix 3) stated that a cut of 5% of the budget
would have “a lot of consequences” and would also lead to “a lot less scope”
when it comes to organising and planning COMPANY X’s trade fair presence.
COMPANY X has exhibited at the CeBIT, on and off, since 1987. In recent
years, COMPANY X has become one of the largest exhibitors with the largest
stand space. Saving money by renting only half of the stand space, or even
less, for CeBIT 2015, would cause speculation about COMPANY X’s financial
situation by implication. Furthermore, it “would not really help” (Appendix
3) as the cost of half of the stand space does not match 5% of the overall
Agencies are needed to come up with the key visual and the “whole look
and feel” for the CeBIT 2015 (Appendix 3). The key visual is what is placed
on every invitation, email, letter, flyer, giveaway and on the stand itself. It
is what gives a lasting impression to the visitors and customers and is used
as a tool of recognition. It needs to be thought through and designed
carefully, as it is visible everywhere and is used throughout all promotion
methods. The “look and feel” (Appendix 3) is the creativity around the key
visual, using the same colours and matching design.
COMPANY X is a “top brand and thought-leader” (Appendix 3) in the world
of innovation and technology. Employing the use of a digital strategy for
events such as the CeBIT enables COMPANY X to engage the audience to
listen, learn, communicate and “contribute to the success of the trade
show” (Appendix 2). The usage of a digital strategy can extend the
experience as events are capable of becoming more immersive and
memorable. The event buzz can be elevated and more viral “pre, during,
and post event” (Appendix 2).
New media and digital marketing will “play a huge role in the future” as
users today strive for “interactivity” and availability of information “anytime
and anywhere” (Appendix 2).
Social media as a cost-effective tool has the ability of targeting many
people (Chapter 2.1). Additionally, COMPANY X can reach a younger target
audience, having significant influence on new trends in the IT area, when
using social networks. The trade success and analysis for CeBIT 2011 states
that some visitors decided to pay a visit to the fair based on information
provided on social media platforms (Company X, 2011). As Facebook is the
most commonly used social network site, and is also the number one social
network application downloaded onto mobile devices (Chapter 2.2),
COMPANY X should definitely promote its presence at the CeBIT on the
COMPANY X Deutschland Facebook page. The Conversation Prism (Chapter
2.1) has shown that Facebook falls in the category of “listening” and
“learning”. Users can share news or updates with friends and friends of
friends. “Facebook is especially good for sharing information” (Appendix 2).
Figure 8 illustrates how wide the targeted audience really is.
Figure 8 – Information sharing
Source: Student X
As mentioned in Chapter 2, social media and networking applications have
the highest growth rate on mobile devices. With the increasing success of
mobile devices, people are starting to spend more time on their handhelds
than they do on laptops or computers. The applications they download onto
their devices should be “easy usable, fast and mostly free of charge”
(Appendix 2). The apps for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are exactly so.
Marketing and promoting on these sites can only be beneficial for COMPANY
X as any information posted here would reach more people than on other
For CeBIT 2015, a website for COMPANY X’s presence at the trade fair is
an essential part in the digital strategy. A website provides access to
information, photos, news, updates, links, tickets, etc. In order to “go with
the flow” (Appendix 2) and stay up-to-date with technological advances,
COMPANY X should think of optimising its website for mobile devices in the
coming year as “mobile applications and mobile devices are booming”
(Appendix 3). The search engine optimisation complements the website for
the event as it makes the website stand out from others and ensures it is
ranked high on the result page. People looking for information about the
CeBIT or COMPANY X online, will immediately be located to the COMPANY[email protected] website “we lead the user via paid media to our website”
(Appendix 2). This gives COMPANY X a competitive advantage as the event
website is a one-stop shop where you can obtain “all the information you
need” (Appendix 2).
The engagement path (Figure 9) shows the step along the audience’s
interaction with a digital strategy. The ultimate aim of a digital strategy is
to move the audience through each step within the engagement path to
achieve the goals set at the beginning (redant, 2013).
Figure 9 – Engagement evaluation
Source: Student X
From a strategic point of view, it is ineffective to not use one or more of
the digital channels. As said by the digital specialist for CeBIT, it is “very
important” to have an “integrated and unified communications mix around
CeBIT” as this ensures that “all communication activities harmonise
together and support each other” (Appendix 2).
4.2 Social Media Activity Analysis
As is apparent from the weekly social media activity analysis, more than
half of all mentions during a seven week observation period were made
during the CeBIT week (Appendix 4). Despite Facebook being the most
downloaded application on smartphones, activity was not high on the
COMPANY X Deutschland Facebook fan page. As mentioned in Chapter 2,
79% of organisations use Twitter as a core part of their marketing strategy,
compared to 69% who use Facebook. Counting web mentions on “CeBIT
Overall” and “CeBIT COMPANY X”, Twitter showed more activity than any
other site throughout the 7 weeks leading up to the CeBIT. The least
numbers of mentions being 49 in week 1 of monitoring and the highest
2,103 in the week of the CeBIT. Facebook only achieved 13 mentions in the
same week, this being the highest count on Facebook. However, monitoring
did show that even though there were few mentions about the CeBIT or
CeBIT COMPANY X on Facebook, the content posted on Facebook reached
a large number of people e.g. a press release about a topic to be shown at
the CeBIT reached nearly 10,000 people (Appendix 4, Week 09).
The teaser video for COMPANY [email protected] was viewed nearly 2,000 times by
week six of monitoring.
Competitor activity was also analysed. Twitter was filtered by ‘CeBIT’ and
‘Competitor Name’. COMPANY X had an average mention of 47.3%,
compared to Microsoft with an average of 12.9% (Appendix 4). This shows
that COMPANY X is the leader in social networking and has experienced
more mentions than other companies such as SAP, Microsoft or HP who
also exhibited at the CeBIT 2014.
5. Conclusions
The objective of this report is to emphasise the importance of a digital
strategy for successful promotion of the COMPANY X presence at the CeBIT.
The technological possibilities of new media are, and should be increasingly
used as an addendum to existing CeBIT communication methods. A digital
strategy is an ideal opportunity to promote the trade fair and its exhibitors
and allows new and improved communication methods with (potential)
visitors. A strategic approach and active networking can ensure lasting
successes for the exhibition and exhibitors.
In conclusion, after having analysed all available material and having
conducted research on the success of a digital strategy, one can now return
to the original question of this report:
‘How essential a role does a digital strategy, with focus on social media,
play in assisting trade fair marketing at COMPANY X and its presence at the
A digital strategy has an essential part to play in trade fair marketing. In
order for trade fairs to stay sustainable and successful in the long-term, it
is crucial for exhibitors to adapt to an ever-changing environment. And as
the digital world advances, so should COMPANY X. Budget cuts in this area
would limit the ability to design a digital strategy to complement COMPANY
X’s presence at the CeBIT. Exhibitors will always be confronted with new
challenges, trends and advances. Companies such as COMPANY X need to
optimise the fair as a communication method and should change their
strategies in order to adapt to new environments. This is the only way trade
fairs can remain sustainable and hold their ground in the marketing and
communications industry. In order to assess the effectiveness of an everadvancing digital strategy, research should be conducted on an annual
basis before, during and after the CeBIT.
6. Recommendations for the Workplace
Based on the findings and analysis in the previous chapters,
recommendations can be made for COMPANY X to ensure a sustainable
organisation of trade fair participation at the CeBIT in future years.
The role of a digital strategy and the growing usage of internet will play a
“huge role in the future” (Appendix 2) and COMPANY X should therefore
continuously expedite the development of online communication in
connection with the CeBIT engagement. In doing so, the company can
reach out to a new target audience and can utilise the full trade fair
1. The increasing use of social media is of paramount importance for
trade fairs. Customers now have the chance to better prepare for their visit,
and collect information online. This is another reason why COMPANY X
should start an online communication strategy and should integrate the
social marketing plan with all other phases of the exhibition. The worksheet
in Appendix 5 is designed to assist in developing a social media strategy
for CeBIT 2015 and should help to better engage with potential customers.
2. It is recommended that COMPANY X develops a CeBIT 2015 website
to complement its digital strategy. A consistent communication style should
be maintained and content is to be made clearly and easily accessible for
customers, even on mobile devices.
3. As this report has established that a digital strategy is essential for
COMPANY X exhibiting at the CeBIT in 2015, it is recommended not to cut
the costs in this field. The total budget is spent on the booth and services,
the service from the Deutsche Messe, the showcase, side events, technical
and logistical services, advertising and promotion (including the digital
strategy) and staff accommodation (Figure 10.)
Figure 10 – CeBIT 2014 expenses
Source: COMPANY X Confidential
A budget cut of 5% equates to approximately 0.2 M € less to spend. If the
cut is only to affect one of the mentioned areas or services, this could imply
cutting a whole area e.g. the showcase. As this would have an adverse
effect on business, it is suggested that if the cut is to be implemented, then
it should be spread across as many areas as possible, excluding advertising
and promotion. The following is a list of areas that could be targeted:
Booth and Services: COMPANY X cannot spend less on the booth or
services, as these are essential non-variable costs (Chapter 4). However,
an attempt should be made to re-negotiate a better stand rate with the
Showcase: The showcase is the eye catcher of the stand – expenses could
be moderately cut, but the showcase should still fulfill its purpose to
generate more footfall and business.
Side events: The Toptreff is a side event for selected clients. These clients
are important customers for COMPANY X and should therefore not be
affected by the budget cut. The Bergfest is an event for COMPANY X staff.
Cutting costs here is a possibility. A surplus of staff was observed in general
at the trade fair. Reducing staff members at the Hanover event would incur
less travelling expenses and accommodation fees as well as reducing the
cost for the Bergfest venue.
Technical and Logistical Services: As the stand space is a constant at the
event, opportunities to save costs here are few and far between.
Advertising and Promotion: The digital strategy is part of this area. This
report has already established that it would be unwise to apply the whole
budget cut here. In fact, this report would advise that out of all the trade
fair areas, the digital strategy warrants a budget increase owing to its
enormous potential for COMPANY X. Savings could, however, be made
within the sphere of print media e.g. flyers, billboards, printed invitations
and promotions.
Accommodation: COMPANY X should take a closer look at travel expenses.
As previously mentioned, reducing booth staff could be one approach. The
pricing of hotel accommodation is another area of possible savings.
Together with other larger exhibitors at the CeBIT, COMPANY X could
approach the Hanover hotel business and negotiate better prices. Should
this not be successful, private accommodation is an alternative solution for
reducing expenses.
To summarise, on no account should any budget cuts be made in the area
of the digital strategy owing to its huge potential to generate new business
for COMPANY X by promoting the CeBIT. The 5% cost-cutting measures
should be spread across the relevant aforementioned areas within the
overall CeBIT budget.
7. Limitations of the Research
Most books relating to digital strategies and online marketing are written
as manuals, explaining how businesses should design their digital strategy.
These ‘manuals’ explain very well how and why to implement a digital
marketing strategy, but do not analyse the consequences. Some articles or
books that were found lacked on academic structure or thoughts.
For the interviews, the sample size could have been bigger and the
technique of probing could have been improved in order to get more indetail answers about the topic. The discussion should have been led in a
different way such as letting the interviewee think for longer or let them
add something.
At COMPANY X itself, there was no internal analysis of the effects of a digital
strategy leading up to, during, and after the Hanover event. This somewhat
constricted the ability to obtain meaningful research data. There was a
greater reliance on hearsay than hard facts.
8. Recommendations for further Research
The research undertaken for this management report has discussed the
role of a digital strategy in trade fair marketing. Further research would
only be beneficial for this topic area. The report lacks observational studies
or visitor questionnaires which would be useful to evaluate the effectiveness
of the digital strategy. CeBIT visitors could be questioned about whether
they were engaged by COMPANY X’s digital strategy, or could be asked
about their attitude towards digital and social activities in general. These
questionnaires could also take the form of an online survey before or after
the event. One could, for example, ask website visitor whether information
was to a satisfactory level or whether the website is easily navigable. Post
event surveys may include questions on how much influence social media
played in the decision to visit the COMPANY X booth at the CeBIT. COMPANY
X should take a closer look at trends in the correlation of the use of a digital
strategy and visitor numbers over the past and future years.
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Appendix 1 The CeBIT
Appendix 2 Interview Pinar Cilbir, Digital Strategist
Appendix 3 Interview Jan Fode, Project Lead
Appendix 4 Social Media Analysis
Appendix 5 Checklist for social media strategy
Image 1 – CeBIT 2014 key visual and motivating theme App. 1
Image 2 – CeBIT 2014 COMPANY X stand layout
App. 1
Image 3 – CeBIT 2014 COMPANY X showcase
App. 1
Appendix 1 – The CeBIT
From a global perspective, the CeBIT is seen as one of the largest and most
significant marketing activities for COMPANY X worldwide. The project
leadership is traditionally located in Germany and is executed by the
marketing and communications department. In 2014, COMPANY X
presented itself using the motivating theme: “BUILD A SMARTER
ENTERPRISE. With the power of social, mobile, cloud, big data & analytics”.
In order to better convey the message to customers, the motivating theme
is supported by a key visual. This allows more scope to design the individual
communication strategies and the look of the exhibition booth. Image 1
shows the combination of key visual and motivating theme for CeBIT 2014.
Image 1 – CeBIT 2014 key visual and motivating theme
The COMPANY X booth was divided into 6 different zones and a showcase
area: Infrastructure, Cloud, Mobile, Smarter Commerce, Big Data &
Analytics and Social.
Image 2 – CeBIT 2014 COMPANY X stand layout
Each zone consists of demo points which introduce COMPANY X solutions
and case studies. In 2014, COMPANY X had 130 demo points, 24 of which
were used by business partners. The main attraction on the COMPANY X
stand is the prominent showcase (Image X), positioned at the front of the
stand as an eye catcher. This year, the showcase highlighted how
companies today benefit from IT trends. Examples given by the presenter
illustrated the overall goal of modern customer interaction whilst explaining
the references and involving the audience.
Image 3 – CeBIT 2014 COMPANY X showcase
Appendix 2 – Interview Pinar Cilbir, Digital Strategist
What is your job role concerning the CeBIT?
I´m a Masters student in the Demand Programs C-Suite team and have
supported the CeBIT Core Team for almost 3 years. For the CeBIT 2014 I
was responsible for the Digital and Advertising strategy. This included all
kinds of communication activities around the CeBIT. In addition, I had a
variety of other organisational tasks, such as selection of giveaways,
customer communication, support for our exhibition organisation tool
“FairOrg” and the coordination on site.
What does “new media” mean to you?
New media refers to access to content anytime, anywhere, on any digital
device. The interactive user feedback and creative participation of users
also can be defined as new media. Another aspect of new media is the
real time generation of content. Some examples may be the Internet,
websites, computer multimedia, social media, mobile apps and so on.
New media are digital and often have characteristics of being
networkable, compressible, and interactive.
Which media do you think are best suited to support an
Trade shows are part of the communication policy and should be
supported by all other political communication tools such as advertising,
PR, direct marketing, social media marketing, SEO, mobile apps. The
target groups of companies are moving on different channels, so to reach
the target group by using different communication measures. But I also
think that methods like mobile marketing, paid media and paid search are
also important to support a fair. In conclusion, I can say that the healthy
mix of the different communication measures supports a fair in the best
possible way and can contribute to the success of a trade show. Facebook
is especially good for sharing information, Twitter is good for promotion
and interaction here anything reaches a lot of people- see, every site has
its own benefits.
What role will media play in the future?
Considering the current role of new media or digital marketing, I think
both will play a huge role in the future. The user of today strives for
interactivity and the availability of information anytime and anywhere on
all devices. Even the own creation of content and information and also the
attractive presentation of this content is very important. Anything you
present to customers so they can gather information should be easy to
use, fast, and free of charge. This will be continuously developed in the
future and many more new trends are created to provide a personalised
How high is the budget for digital activities? How do you spend it?
The amount of the budget for the digital activities is different every year.
Also it depends on many different factors how much money we get for
Digital. The money for digital comes in turn from the communications
budget all around CeBIT and Digital is a part of the overall communication
activities at CeBIT. We also receive financial support from other
departments when needed, so it is difficult to give an exact number.
First of all the mandatory elements of the CeBIT communication be paid.
Then we decide what options we have with the rest of the budget and
look what kind of external communication activities we can still make at
CeBIT and what new trends are available or what new creative things we
can do in the digital area to promote our presentation at CeBIT well. We
also have Communication measures like Social Media, PR or Advertising
which are covered by our internal teams so we don’t have to pay for the
support of the teams.
We are moving in the digital area where our target group is and we work
in various meetings on our communication plan and decide on what
activities we want to spend money. It is every time a new challenge for us
to decide in which methods we want to invest.
Describe the digital strategy this year and what you, in hindsight,
would say was successful or not as successful.
We set up a 360 degree integrated digital marketing plan. In which all
measures coalesced with each other. Here we integrated paid, owned and
earned media together in order to ensure an integrated 360 degree
strategy. This strategy allows that we lead the user via paid media –
Google Paid Search – to our website – which is owned media – here he
can get all the information you need about our exhibition presence and
we gave him the opportunity to share this information on his social media
channels – called earned media. It was also a customer touch point
strategy – that means a communications mix pre, during and post event,
with strong focus on digital integration, interaction and interconnection of
all areas. The web and social media monitoring played before, during and
after the event played an important role. It was very important for us to
ensure an integrated and unified communications mix around CeBIT, in
which all communication activities harmonise together and support each
other. Ultimately, I can say that it was a very successful strategy,
because we have reached all the goals we set. The only thing maybe that
could still be improved is the cooperation with the Deutsche Messe
concerning the use of the app on the Other Article: and to make the usage
more attractive for the visitor.
How would you measure the success of social media?
First of all I would define the relevant business goals clearly and well.
Then I would set up a marketing plan that will help to achieve these
fundamental business objectives. After that I’d define Key Performance
Indicators and success metrics to determine which are relevant for
measuring the performance of the defined marketing goals. And last but
not least I choose the right software for the success measurement.
Would you say COMPANY X profited from having a digital strategy
at CeBIT?
We supported our exhibition presence by our digital strategy in the best
possible way and have also received positive feedback. We have given
clients who could not be there the opportunity to participate in a live
broadcast and ask their questions to our experts or to get information
online about the topics presented at the fair. COMPANY X has definitely
benefited and that is also shown in the results of the digital strategy. We
have almost taken the analog world into the digital and digital to analog.
Our clients had the opportunity to get information about our presence at
the exhibition in any channels he is moved.
Do you have anything planned for CeBIT next year?
So far, nothing concrete, but we are in a constant improvement and
optimization process. This year’s strategy is certainly being expanded and
redefined. Of course we follow the new trends and decide how we can
optimally integrate this into the strategy for the next CeBIT. The
interactivity with the visitors will continue to be an important issue.
Interesting for the next CeBIT could also be the matchmaking within an
app. Basically as a search – bidding function in which the visitor can
specify topics for which he is interested and the app using the specified
keywords to suggest the right experts at our booth. Also for the next
CeBIT could be a live transmission in a slightly different way as to come
into question. This of course all depends on our budget for communication
around our exhibition presence and therefore I can unfortunately not
provide accurate information.
According to the CeBIT project lead, the available budget for
CeBIT 2015 is going to be cut. This will especially affect the digital
strategy. What effect will this have in your opinion?
Due to the budget cut, we will certainly have fewer resources to
implement the digital strategy as well as the year before. But this will
only turn out if we know exactly how much is the budget for the CeBIT
2015. Looks like we’ll have to consider what measures are indispensable,
such as a Web page and how we can possibly do without or which
financing options we have left.
Do you not think that cutting costs on digital is a step backwards
in a digital world like today?
Definitely. Digital media are a central part of our society and for most
companies, an aspect that cannot be ignored. We live in a time in which
people are moving mostly online and talk a lot about digital
developments, mobile and online marketing, Social Media, Social
Networks and so. Therefore, I would rather advise against saving on the
digital strategy. A company like COMPANY X should go with the flow,
especially since COMPANY X is a company that stands for innovation and
technological advances. I would propose that the other Departments that
are involved in the CeBIT Project support the Digital Activities around
Appendix 3 – Interview Jan Fode, Project Lead
What is your job role concerning the CeBIT?
I am the project lead for the CeBIT. My job role includes organizing and
planning our presence at the trade fair in Hanover. I coordinate meetings
with agencies and work with them closely to develop the design of our
stand. I also coordinate meetings with all departments exhibiting at the
CeBIT on our stand within COMPANY X, we discuss what solutions will be
shown, what demos will be used, what side events will take place and so
CeBIT 2015 is already in planning progress. What will the main
difference be compared to 2014?
Currently, we are at an early planning stage. There is not that much that
can be said about what will be the same and what will be different- not
quite yet, anyway. At the moment, we are still trying to get the same
budget that was available to us for CeBIT 2014 this year. However, things
aren’t looking too good. Unfortunately. We’ve had a couple of discussions
with the management board, and they probably won’t be giving us as
much as last year.
We don’t quite know when we will get a final answer or statement
concerning the budget. See the thing is, without a confirmed budget,
there isn’t that much we can do, because we can’t go out and buy or
order things or start planning with our agencies, if we don’t even know
how much money we will be able to spend.
Who decides what budget is available?
The international management board does. They review all expenses from
last year and then work out how much is available to us for the next
CeBIT. Obviously, they try and cut costs wherever possible. This can turn
out to be quite tricky sometimes, as the can only roughly guess how
much we will need. And we might have really good ideas, or one of your
agencies might have a really good idea, but we then can’t go through with
it because there isn’t enough money left.
By how much and why will the budget be reduced?
I can’t really give any numbers yet, but talk was that the whole budget
will be cut by 5%. Now this makes a huge difference. See, the CeBIT cost
us around 4 M € this year. A cut of 5% would mean we have 200.000 €
less to spend. This is nearly all we spend on advertising and promotion!
What consequences will this have?
Cutting the budget has a lot of consequences. However, we try and
minimize them wherever possible. Cutting the budget means we have a
lot less scope. But things like the stand space and other services need to
be ordered and payed for nevertheless, so it’s other things we will have to
go without with. Our digital strategy for example. This is the only area
where we can dispense with things. Maybe less payed media, less print
media, no flyers or something like that. No LED walls, I don’t know yet.
But digital is definitely the area that will notice the cut most.
What will you have to refrain from?
As I just said, social networking and social media and the whole digital
strategy will have to be newly thought trough and changed accordingly. I
mean, there are other areas, too. We have the booth service, the
Deutsche Messe, the showcase, side events, technical and logistical
services, ads and promo, and accommodation. But we can’t save as much
money on one of these areas as we could in the digital area.
Do you not think that this is a step backwards in a digital world as
I do yes. Unfortunately though, it’s not my decision to make. And there is
no way we can cut costs on anything else- we need our agencies to come
up with a key visual and the whole look and feel for the CeBIT 2015.
Cutting costs here would be a very bad decision- the whole look and feel
and design is what the CeBIT is about, it’s what makes it stand out from
other booths. And we can’t cut costs on services, we need electricity,
water – you know, all the essentials – we need the stand space, we need
solutions and demos we can show, and we need to cover all costs for your
staff – and all that needs to be paid. And, to be honest, we wouldn’t be
able to save that much just by making the stand smaller. For example, if
we would only buy half of the stand space compared to last year – that
would not really help us. The stand space does not cost us 10% of the
available budget. And cutting the space would mean we have not as much
room to showcase our solution, which in turn would mean less business!
So this is the wrong end to come from. Especially as visitors to the show
who have been coming for the past years will be wondering why the stand
is so small!
Of course I think it’s ridiculous that a top brand and thought-leader like
COMPANY X needs to cut back on its digital strategy to cover other costs.
Especially in a digitised world like today. Social media and networks are
booming, mobile applications and mobile devices are booming, and then
we have cut back on our digital strategy.
Appendix 4 – Social Media Analysis
Calendar Week 4
Calendar Week 5
Calendar Week 6
Calendar Week 7
Calendar Week 8
Calendar Week 9
Calendar Week 10, CeBIT Week
Appendix 5 – Checklist for social media strategy
Planning for Social Media at CeBIT 2015 Checklist
Event Date:
Event Location:
Event Objective:
Event URL:
Producer Provided Social Media links:
Audience type:
Audience Social Media participation (what is the show
producer using):
Industry Value Prop:
Key messages:
ID Sales Goals:
Incorporate Social Media plan into Sales Comms:
Social Media Communication posting schedule
(facebook fanpage, twitter, linkedin groups):
Define Social Media objectives:
ID Social Media types:
Social Media measures (id plan):
Define 360/365 plan:
ID Social Media tools audience is using (what are
they already using?):
Provide links to groups on social media sites:
Identify SPOC for social media communications for
event (post & monitor):
Facilitate online discussions (invite speakers to
Capture & share event communication (screenshots,
Encourage using event hashtag:
Sponsor meet-up, Twitter lounge, sponsor
Tweet details on event activity:
Capture & share event communication
(screenshots, other):
Poll audience:
ReTweet thought leader postings:
Participate in the conversation:
Post relevant SME content:
Capture & share event communication:
Measurement & Analyze Results:
Review findings, document results & apply learning:

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