Events in Germany - Guest Post By Michael Heipel
Michael Heipel is an event aficionado based in Frankfurt, Germany. He works as a consultant for business development, digital marketing and innovation management, with a focus on B2B events. Previously, he held management positions at spring Messe (a subsidiary of Deutsche Messe AG), at the World Association of Newspapers and at one of the leading German event agencies BBDO Live. At michaelheipel.wordpress.com, Michael blogs about event innovations and digital marketing. You will find him on Twitter @michaelheipel
Marketing your event in Germany
Intro to Germany; the Peculiarities of that region between the North Sea and the Alps
Efficient, hard-working and disciplined - isn’t that the picture that a lot of people would draw when asked about what makes a typical German? Add to this the fondness for beer and a certain absence of humour, and you have the stereotype! However, as much as national clichés may have a somewhat realistic background, in our globalized world, they rarely reflect the state that countries have developed in.
Germany has changed a lot over the last 25 years since the Berlin wall came down. Actually, having won the FIFA World Cup 2014 in Brazil, Germany even tops the list of the latest Anholt GfK Nation Brands Index, being rated the most popular country in the world. While Joachim Löw’s team are doing everything they can to correct that overexposed image of German football with their current performance in the Euro 2016 qualifiers, it is true that the old clichés fail more and more when it comes to Germany.
Take Berlin, for example. The German capital is now home to a number of pretty exciting digital and technology conferences, including re:publica, hy! Summit or retune. The start-up scene is vibrant in the capital, and the night life has a reputation. Regarding trade shows and exhibitions, Germany has always been strong, and that applies today as well.
Hosting Your Event in Germany; what you need to know
So, what are the things that planners should bear in mind when considering taking their event to Germany or launching a new one based in Germany?
First of all, Germany is - unlike France or the UK - a decentralized, federal country. That means that Berlin may be the capital, but that doesn’t mean that all the business is done there. On the contrary, the economic hubs are rather Munich, Hamburg, Rhine-Main region (with Frankfurt as it’s center), Cologne/Dusseldorf, Stuttgart and a lot more quite specialized regions for certain branches. While infrastructure is pretty good all over Germany, is does make sense to take into account which sector your event will focus on when selecting the venue.
How to Market Your Event in Germany
Digital marketing has become the most powerful tool to market events pretty much everywhere in the world. Same goes for Germany, however, there are some particularities here as well. LinkedIn may be the dominant B2B network almost everywhere, but in Germany XING is clearly in the lead. With some 7.7 Million members in the German-speaking markets, the network offers plenty of promotion opportunities when marketing an event in Germany.
Facebook is strong in Germany, too (more than 27 Million active users), but Twitter hasn’t really taken off. Be it that German words may be too long for Twitter (try tweeting about Krankenversicherungsänderungsgesetz and you know what I mean…), it is definitely not the social network you should be solely focussing your event marketing campaign on.
Email campaigning is important in Germany, as in other countries as well. That said, be aware that Germans are VERY sensitive when it comes to permission-based marketing, and you may find yourself confronted with legal issues a lot faster than in other countries should you not have very safe subscription and un-subscription procedures. Same goes for the imprint information on your website, your social media profiles etc. Better make sure those are current and visible. And last but not least: picture and video use without the required licenses is not a good idea. In Germany, just forget about it when you don’t have the image rights! No kidding…
To End ...
The Events industry in Germany is growing steadily, and it has seen a constant increase in international participants over recent years, according to a study conducted by the German Convention Bureau. So, gear up for your portion of Sauerkraut and Bratwurst, prepare yourself for some of the most delicious beer varieties in the world and enjoy your time staging your event in Germany! Apart from the business side of things, Germany has a lot to offer for your leisure time as well, and living in Frankfurt, I was pretty proud to see that the New York Times listed Frankfurt among the 52 Places to Go in 2014! See you in Germany then, und Auf Wiedersehen!