21 May 2024 933 words, 4 min. read

Vivatech: 6 tips to prepare your visit

By Pierre-Nicolas Schwab PhD in marketing, director of IntoTheMinds
In this article, I give 6 tips for making your visit to Vivatech as effective as possible. If you aim to find customers, you should find plenty of useful tips in this article.

I went to Vivatech for the first time in 2023 and learned a lot about being super-efficient. On the eve of the opening of Vivatech 2024, here are my tips for getting the most out of the show and optimizing your chances of doing business.

Vivatech survival guide

  • Use the mobile app to establish contacts in advance
  • List in advance the stands you want to visit and the people you want to meet.
  • Make a map to place the stands you want to visit and find the shortest route.
  • Come to the show with your sandwich and a bottle of water. You’ll save time and money by not having to queue up at the stands.
  • Beware of overly commercial conferences: you won’t learn anything
  • Don’t rely on Wi-Fi

Define your objectives

The first thing to do is define your objectives. You don’t go to Vivatech because you have time to waste. You go for specific reasons, which for me are 3:

  1. To meet prospects and customers (i.e., to do outbound marketing)
  2. To listen to conferences (but beware of sponsored conferences, as you’ll likely hear a lot of sales talk).
  3. Discover the latest tech trends and promising start-ups.

My priority is objective 1, and I’m also looking for content ideas for this blog. So, I’ll also be looking for innovative technologies and interesting start-ups to feature in my podcast.

Come for the first 2 days

To do business, you must come for the first 2 days. The last day (the one open to the general public) is a waste of time for professionals. Many of the stands are deserted, and most of the decision-makers have left.

The first 2 days of the show are when you’ll have the best chance of meeting the people who count, both at the conferences and on the stands.

What’s the best time of day for prospecting?

If you come on the first 2 days, it’s clear that you’ll understand the meaning of the word “crowd.” These are still the best days to do business. But your prospects still need to be available to listen to you. In my experience, there are 2 good times to prospect:

  • At lunchtime, when visitors are outside eating, exhibitors also go out to eat, but there’s always someone left on the stand who will generally have more time to devote to you.
  • In the late afternoon, when visitors feel tired, they leave the show.

Establish contacts via the Vivatech app

My top tip is to use the Vivatech app before the show. Unfortunately, organizers tend to make it available far too late. This year, the Vivatech app was only available 3 weeks before the show opened, yet it seems indispensable.

It gives you access to:

  • the list of exhibitors and bookmark the ones you’re most interested in (this is important for efficiency, and I’ll come back to it below)
  • the list of participants, i.e., those visiting the show without a stand.

However, I want to clarify several points concerning the Vivatech app. It’s far from perfect, and its use as a prospecting tool could create a fair amount of frustration:

  • Since it’s coming out far too late, the number of people using it is limited. When I searched for people in marketing or communications, the application returned only around twenty names a week before the show.
  • For many exhibitors, a contact person needs to be identified.
  • Around 90% of visitors need a description of who they are or what they do.
  • The functionalities of the Vivatech app remain incomplete:
  • Favorites cannot be exported
  • You can’t locate multiple stands on the map

Create a list of prospects

I would like the Vivatech app to be able to export favorites, but as this isn’t possible (yet), I’m using a good old-fashioned method: Excel.

Once I’ve drawn up my list of stands to visit, I list them all in an Excel file with the following information:

  • Company name
  • Stand number
  • Name of the person to meet (if I’ve been able to identify them, cf. notes above about incomplete information in the app)
  • Why I’m interested in this company (so I can adjust my pitch)

Create a visit itinerary

Even though the Vivatech trade show is held in just 2 halls (linked by a walkway), the distances involved are still considerable. Hall 1 is especially noisy and large, and you’ll quickly lose track of where you are.

The map of Hall 1 at Vivatech 2024 conclusionThe map of Hall 1 at Vivatech 2024 with my annotations to facilitate my prospecting route.

If you’ve used the app (or the website) to locate the stands you want to visit, print out the map and position all the stands to create an itinerary. This way, you’ll be more efficient because you’ll minimize distances.

In my case, I use the Excel file created in the previous step. I assign a number to each stand I want to visit and place them on the map. Then, I decide on a “logical” visit route to minimize distances and avoid getting lost. I print out my Excel list and map, and I’m all set!

In conclusion: is it worth coming to Vivatech as a visitor?

Visiting a trade show is always profitable if your objectives are clear. They weren’t for me when I came to Vivatech for the first time. So, I got tired and wasted time, but I still had some interesting encounters. At the end of the show, my colleague Kevin and I came up with the idea for a brand-new service that would change how we do business.

So, I reckon that a visit to Vivatech, even if it represents an investment of +/- €1,000 per person for 2 days, is well worth it.

Posted in Entrepreneurship.

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