After the announcement of the new Fastener Fair CONNECT digital event – the digital business platform unifying Fastener Fair shows worldwide – we spoke to Liljana Goszdziewski, portfolio director of the European Fastener Fairs on behalf of the organisers Mack-Brooks Exhibitions, about what exhibitors and visitors can expect from the event.
Mack-Brooks has announced the launch of Fastener Fair CONNECT. What is this event and why have you decided to introduce it?
“Fastener Fair CONNECT is the brand new digital event and online business platform that merges Fastener Fair shows worldwide. This newly launched event is a cooperation between Fastener Fair Stuttgart, Fastener Fair Italy, Fastener Fair Mexico, Fastener Fair USA and Fastener Fair India, and it will provide a meeting point for fastener and fixing trade professionals to come together and reconnect with the industry. It will offer exhibitors a unique platform to present their innovative products, equipment, and technologies, by enabling business potential with prospective and existing customers worldwide.
Fastener Fair CONNECT aims to support the fastener and fixing community by unlocking networking opportunities and trade activities between geographical markets otherwise unable to meet due to Covid-19 and related travel restrictions. For quite a while now the industry hasn’t been able to meet at a live exhibition. At the same time we understand that some organisations might not be able to attend the live shows scheduled in the second half of the year. Thanks to the strong connection between the Fastener Fair brands, we want to offer the fastener and fixing industry the opportunity to connect internationally with their clients and potential customers, reaching even those unable to attend the live events.”
How will the Fastener Fair CONNECT event work and when will it take place?
“Fastener Fair CONNECT is an online event taking place from 17th – 18th November 2021. The platform will host virtual stands where exhibitors will be able to showcase their products and innovations; as well as upload product info sheets, commercial and marketing materials, and corporate or product videos. Visitors interested in a specific company, product or brand will have the option to contact suppliers directly on the platform, via the chat function available, and arrange meetings with the exhibitors.
The event will incorporate a knowledge platform, with webinars and live sessions held by industry experts. Registered attendees will log into their personal dashboard to view and manage arranged meetings and favourited webinar sessions and access the messaging tools. The dashboard works just like a daily planner, where visitors can keep track of their daily schedule to plan the day and make the most of the experience during the two days of the show.”
With the event unifying Fastener Fair shows worldwide will it be online continuously across the two days?
“Yes, on the two days of the event, the platform will be accessible for 24 hours. Exhibitors will have the possibility to make their members of staff available in selected time zones, depending on what is more convenient for them. Attendees will be able to view the availability of exhibitors and send meeting requests during the time frame chosen. Visitor registration will be available after summer – specifically to allow participants plenty of time to navigate the content on the portal and organise their daily schedule before the event dates. Live sessions will be held in the local time zone of the speakers, but of course, recordings for each webinar will be accessible on demand on the platform to anyone at any time.”
How will Fastener Fair CONNECT fit in with the physical shows?
“Fastener Fair CONNECT will offer a complementary experience to the live shows, which are scheduled to take place as planned on the respective dates in the autumn/winter. The primary purpose of running the digital event is to give the fastener and fixing community worldwide a marketplace to meet with their peers internationally, during a time where attendance to some geographical regions might be more difficult from different countries. With the digital platform, all shows’ participants will have the option to reach out to their suppliers or gain access to industry developments and trends by attending the event virtually.”
How can companies get involved? Is there a cost?
“The digital event is open to any business organisation operating within the fastener and fixing industry. Exhibitors taking part in each live show will be given the opportunity to enrol on the digital event at no extra cost. The digital platform will be an enhanced experience for them. For any other company interested in taking advantage of this unique opportunity, we would advise them to reach out to their local sales representative to discuss a personalised visibility offer in detail. As for attendees to the show, the event will be free of charge upon registration. Registered participants will be able to access the platform with no limitation to view the exhibitor’s showrooms, and product showcases, and attend all the live sessions.”
How do you intend on getting visitors to attend the event?
“The event is digital-only, and attendance will be available to anyone from anywhere. Visitor promotion for the event will run in the months before the event, the same way we would do for a live show. It will highlight updates on exhibitors joining the show, new product launches and the latest industry innovations, webinar programme and speaker introductions. By working with the other Fastener Fairs, we will be able to tap into each show’s regional market, broadening our target audience and reaching out to the international fastener and fixing industry. The cooperation between our fastener brands will help to strengthen our partnerships globally with industry associations and national stakeholders in order to deliver Fastener Fair CONNECT’s participants a comprehensive experience and enhanced coverage with promotion across all shows.”
You mention there will be virtual product showcases. How will this work? Will this be aimed at new products or existing products? How can companies get involved?
“Yes, that is correct. Fastener Fair CONNECT will offer virtual product showcases. Each exhibiting company will be listed on the exhibitor list, and the platform will categorise firms depending on the products and innovations they are presenting at the event. Exhibitors will have access to their company profile page, where they will be able to upload corporate videos, product pictures and descriptions, commercial materials and specifications. We are offering exhibitors a portal where they can choose to push technologies that are important to them, depending on their sales and business development strategy. It can be an existing product but also an opportunity to reveal to the market new innovations or product launches. The more information uploaded on the platform, the greater the reach and visibility to fastener and fixing buyers. Attendees will be able to search directly for exhibitors or browse through the product directory to find the technologies they are looking for – by utilising filters and matchmaking functionalities.”
A host of webinars is also mentioned. What will these webinars be about? When will they take place? Will they be live or pre-recorded? Will there be Q&A opportunities?
“The show will also host webinars, discussing topics and trends relevant to the fastener and fixing industry. We are currently working together with all Fastener Fair brands and our industry partners to select compelling content for the sector and shape the webinar programme, which will be released at a later stage. The sessions will take place during the two days of the event, but participants will be able to view the conference schedule before the event and select the sessions they would like to attend.
Sessions will be live, but since we are covering different time zones, they will be recorded, and we will make the content available on-demand on the platform after the session has ended.
Keynote speakers will share their insights on industry trends and challenges the fastener and fixing industry faces today, and there will be some time for Q&As after each session. A moderator will facilitate interaction between keynote speakers and conference audiences during the discussion.”
There will also be interactive matchmaking opportunities. Can you tell us more about what this will include? Will it only be for selective companies or open to all participants? In what time zone will the meetings be held?
“Fastener Fair CONNECT is built on a platform that includes matchmaking functionalities to improve the website’s usability and make visitor participation as effective as possible. These features are supported by the latest AI and machine learning technologies. They will be implemented across the platform and available to all participants. Upon registration, attendees will be prompted to select product categories of their interest, enabling the system to define the visitor’s profile and tailor their customer journey.
The system will work on product recommendations, which will consider the visitor’s interests and ‘match’ them with relevant products and exhibitors with compatible profiles. Visitors will then be able to connect directly with the suitable suppliers that fit their needs and requirements.
As per the time zone when the meeting will be held, that will depend on the exhibitor’s availability they set in their schedule during the two days, which will be viewable for attendees on the front end.”
Will joined Fastener + Fixing Magazine in 2007 and over the last 14 years has experienced every facet of the fastener sector - interviewing key figures within the industry and visiting leading companies and exhibitions around the globe.
Will manages the content strategy across all platforms and is the guardian for the high editorial standards that the Magazine is renowned.