JOERG ZEISSIG, CEO – HOLTMANN GMBH + CO. KG

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CAPTURINGTHE CHANGINGLENS OF events

ES. We understand that Holtmann+ provides a variety of services to the industry, such as roadshows, sales promotions, launch events, etc. Can you share with us what are some of the other key services the company provides which help make it stand out from its competitors?

Joerg Zeissig. First of all, we have been changing drastically in the last couple of years, as the market has changed very much. We are now trying to listen to the communication goals of our clients, servicing their clients, more than ever before. Resulting in a wide spectrum of services, that can be needed in order to achieve those communication goals. For our customers, we at Holtmann+ offer not only the services mentioned above. We want to take care of the entire value chain and all services connected with it, not on our own, but with partners. In the present chapter of our company development for the next years to come, we see ourselves as a full-service provider for all relevant live communication formats of our clients. Trade fairs and events are an important anchor of our industry, but also using the time in between fixed dates in a meaningful way for communication and community building.

In order to create more sustainable and long-lasting journey, added values for our customers and their brands are needed. Our role is, being the reliable sparring partner throughout the year, 365 days a year 24/7. Our PLUS are the different experts in our teams, from the storyteller to the concept designer and generalist to the project manager. Depending on the nature of a customer journey, we put together our dedicated teams flexibly to serve the specific needs of the customer, in order to create perfect and shareable brand moments. We always meet as partners of even. We approach processes together with our customers, from the initial idea, through concept and strategy to implementation and execution. We are partners for our clients along the entire value chain in a long run.

ES. We are interested in learning more about the major highlights of your recent session at the IEIA Open Seminar in which you discussed issues related to sustainability in the exhibition industry. Could you please share these highlights with us?

Joerg Zeissig. For me personally, and in my role and responsibility as CEO of the Holtmann Group, the topic of sustainability is going to be a game changer, inevitably necessary and should not be misunderstood as a mere trend. At Holtmann, we see sustainability as an integral part of our DNA and a business model in the upcoming years. Not only for our own interests, but also for our clients, network partners and stakeholders, we want to actively develop a roadmap for our industry to tackle the issues of sustainability, solve challenges we see as well as creating believability for the entire market, that our industry can be part of the solution. Solving problems for a society as a whole, in a holistic and meaningful manner, a joint roadmap is required. For this, sustainability must become a common attitude for all stakeholders and partners of the industry. I truly believe, sustainability and collaboration will be license to operate for us in the years to come. Without sustainable solutions there will be no business in the future for several reasons. We must have our finger on the pulse of the times and recognize and serve the needs of future generations today. Right now, we are focusing on networking within the industry to create a joint roadmap. On behalf of several associations, we have started some certification training sessions to create believability and an impact on the client’s end, giving them orientation. Within our organization we are focusing on technical innovation to be implemented in our daily concept work, change processes sensibly and develop sustainable business models for our clients. Our company has been carbon neutral since 2018.

To make all of this possible within the entire industry, we try to collaborate with our community to change perspective, to network and to collaborate with the goal to take joint actions beginning immediately.

ES. It has been particularly remarkable to see IFES stand strong as an association when the world has been going through difficult times. Could you tell us how IFES has served its members over the years?

Joerg Zeissig. First, speaking as a member, IFES is by far more than just another business and knowledge sharing platform. IFES reads the needs of members as well as follows market trends that are relevant to the members to come up with common suggestions and solution sessions. IFES pays attention to specific needs and general trends and shifts. This helps a lot, especially in the past difficult years, IFES has been committed to the interests of our industry and always provided orientation, hope and tried to provide perspective and a lot of advocacy work. Personally, for me IFES is a link and meeting point for like-minded people and has also managed to maintain the exchange and support among its members in the past years. Non of us can possibly solve the challenges in our industry alone. This is where IFES provides a partner community to jointly solve issues and to enable business opportunities by connecting people.

This way, you can be sure, that tasks can always be solved appropriately around the world without any hesitation. As a result, the problems and hurdles of recent years were no less serious, but we have learned as a community how to deal with it much better. Third, as an Executive Board member of IFES, it is a privilege to experience, how open and straight forward IFES members are. The open minded exchange of ideas and fast forward approach towards collaboration is something unique. And we are trying to share not only knowledge, to secure, that our business in sustainably developed and secured in future for our future generations to carry it on.

ES. Are there any upcoming projects that you are working on that you can disclose at this very moment? Please share some of your major projects handled in 2022?

Joerg Zeissig. We have developed many different concepts for clients, some of them have been executed, some of them are about to be seen in very near future. I would refrain from highlighting individual trade show / event participations. What I would love to mention is, that together with partners we are developing new communication platforms that are a perfectly filling a communication gap between trade shows. Focusing on content driven dialogue platforms that work physically, digitally as well as hybrid, we will provide industry communities platforms for continuous communication and to be connected to existing highlight events.

ES. What are some of the digital media trends that you are excited about for the future?

Joerg Zeissig. Trade fairs are already to be considered hybrid, as they are consisting of physical and digital components already. Especially when we consider pre- and after-show communication, we are more digital than ever before. Trade fair formats will continue to develop. Trade fairs are and will remain a special and very important part of a holistic live communication mix and are certainly a very complex and highly immersive type of an event. Therefore, they deserve special attention and will retain their very high priority within customers marketing communication. Digital and physical complement each other very nicely, but the setting for individual industries is different and technology does not always apply to every industry and communication format. In which setting ever, even including Metaverse, digital and physical merge once you look at all communication tools holistically.

Each industry, each target group will define its own path as right and relevant for itself. Interesting to see is, that developing platforms will be merging publishing and subscription business models with trade show and event business models, using technology to make this work easily and intuitively. I am enthusiastic, that our industry will be part of this development.

ES. What is the best part of your job?

Joerg Zeissig. Creating new things in a collaborative ecosystem
Trying new formats and developing them to perfection
Understanding and building communities is so fascinating already, and we have just started

ES. What is your outlook for Exhibition industry?

Joerg Zeissig. These are some keys for bringing a bright future back into our industry.

We should focus and changing our perspective to the clients journey setting the scene for our events (content and format).
Sustainability will be license to operate, thus we need to find a common way to do this believably, meaningfully and economically attractive for the industry.
We need to define and develop more transparent and measurable indices, to judge success or quality of our events – what is the return on investment based on?

  • We need to understand cross platform marketing communication and as a result – developing community building methods and tools
  • We have to jointly achieve to make our industry attractive for all talents out there, as we are lacking qualified professionals.
  • We need to establish a common understand of sharing resources of all kind.
  • And finally, we should be ‘crazy’ enough to try new things like Metaverse

ES. Please share with us your experience of the most challenging show you have managed in the past?

Joerg Zeissig. Our first hybrid event was quite a challenge, as the storyline was simply to complictated or boring for the online audience. We basically lost them. We have learned to adjust this fairly fast, but the first go was a nightmare.

ES. On another note, what do you enjoy the most about your work? Please share your hobbies, what keeps you busy when you are away from work?

Joerg Zeissig. What I like most about my job is the freedom of creativity and an inspiring team.

Hobbies: Family, Sports, Communication

ES. Any message that you would like to share?

Joerg Zeissig. Collaborate, share and sign up for Net Zero Carbon Events.