Date: 16 October 2020
Trade fairs every year generate business for 60 billion euro and give rise of 50% of the companies export that take part.
Thousands of shows have been postponed or canceled since the beginning of the Covid-19 restrictions. The impact on the export turnover of the companies is incalculable.
This is one of the reasons that led most companies to transform traditional fairs and events into digital meetings.
The assumption also applies to us: on 7th October 2020, in Schiatti, the first digital event of the company took place.
Can the virtual event replace the physical one?
No, it can not. But this is not the point.
If we talk about an interpersonal relationship, it is clear that a digital approach cannot be compared to a physical meeting; however, this is not the question that we have to ask ourselves.
At Schiatti we wondered which were the basic needs that we wouldn’t give up and, having made a list of priorities it turned out that our customers (and our market in general), especially in a scenario of reduced mobility such as today’s pandemic, had the need to maintain with us a constant flow of information.
And when we talk about information, we intend it in different meanings:
- Technical information: hence the digital development of remote maintenance and service area;
- Relational information: and luckily we were equipped with the necessary tools, even during the lockdown (virtual chats, calls on dedicated platforms) to be always connected;
- Commercial information: this is here that we made the most reassuring discoveries because we understood that it is possible not only to continue talking with the public about our news but that the digital medium would provide us with tools to facilitate spread and understanding of our contents thanks to video support.
The digital events are complicated
This was our fear.
We wondered if our digital skills were ready for this new experience.
At the beginning, as always, it takes a certain effort to understand how a new process works but, in this, we had been helped by a mindset that has always been rooted in Schiatti, which takes us towards innovation and experimentation.
The phases of the digital event
One of our priorities, when we decided to open this “channel” of communication, was to learn a little about what was necessary to arrange.
We had already joined some webinars or digital events as guests and noticed that there can be some difference between one event and the other: some offer video contributions, graphic media for more complex technical information, the ability or not to interact with people online, others not. We wanted to keep our high level of professionalism, without expiring in an initiative that looks uncared or complicated to enjoy.
We have chosen to rely on professionals in the sector who has driven us in the creation of the event, planning with us every detail so that the result was exactly what we expected.
The potential of the digital event
It was immediately clear how the digital event as we saw it, was an information appointment and not just a way to meet. The premise led us to organize a real webinar that turned around the latest technological novelty made in Schiatti: the automation of the double edging machine for the flat edge mod. BFP35.
Our machine, without ever leaving the Schiatti’s workshop, has traveled the five continents with us, reaching an enthusiastic audience.
Do you think about the comfort of knowing the novelty of the moment even in slippers, sitting on a sofa at home?
The digital event in practice: what have we done?
Setting targets and priorities: we set the guidelines of the event, that is to show our customers and prospects the technological innovation of our fully automatic machine, showing its operation and benefits.
Contents: we prepared the contents of the webinar, writing the tracks of the interview of Cinzia and Alessandro (owners and respectively Sales and Production Manager), recognizing in them the faces that would have represented the company during the event.
Video: we shot and recorded the video contribution of the double edging machine at work, with the help of Simone Ghisletti (Schiatti sales dept.), who explained the machine’s details on which we wanted to focus the attention.
We could have shown the machine live as well but it was sold and delivered before the event date, so we acquired the images in advance.
The video editing has also given us a way to make specific cuts and zooms in the area of greatest interest, reducing the guests’ waiting time and speeding up the explanation.
Technical slides: in our field, as often is in industry, a small detail hides quite complex technical implications. We felt the need to enlarge on machine specifications with the graphic slide support.
The live: it was about the presentation of Cinzia and Alessandro Schiatti and the moment devoted to “questions& answers”. The large number of questions, all relevant and specific that we received, was the first proof of the high level of participation and interest in the webinar by our guests. It was exactly what we wanted: not a formal meeting but an opportunity for a concrete and targeted technical discussion, just it happens during a show, in front of a working machine. Only our grinder did not have to travel the oceans to reach you.
Outcomes: the word to our viewers
The interest and the relevant questions were only the first sign of the success of the webinar. The guests thanked us for the clear content and for the opportunity to see “up close” the novelty.
Our agents have already asked us to be able to apply the webinar presentation mode for other machines of our product range, precisely because of the ease with which the customer is led to recognize the pluses of the product and the convenience that has allowed to virtually bring together those interested from all over the world (actually two rooms; one for English speakers and the other for the Italian ones in two different times of the day to meet most time zones).
If you do the math, is the digital event worthwhile?
Compared to the traditional fairs, of course, yes. The savings are, first of all, related to time but also resources, displacements and travel costs.
The handling of the machines is another cost wiped up: transports, assembly and start-up at destination, as well as, of course, the financial support due to the exhibition space.
A digital event is forever
We hadn’t thought about it but another great advantage of an online webinar is that it is always available thanks to the recordings. If a customer has not been able to attend the live event or wants to review it, he can do it simply by clicking on a link. This is not allowed at a fair.
Is a communication agency needed for a digital event?
The answer we gave ourselves is “depends on the final effect you want to achieve”. On the other hand, we are specialists in the manufacturing of machines for glass processing, not gurus of digital communication. We, therefore, believe that some arrangements are necessary in order to create a clear and pleasant event. We tried to do our best and the very positive feedback encourages us to go on this way.
Well, Schiatti is really close to you. Today also with this new instrument.