Mai 21, 2019
Trade Shows and Events T4M

T4M- Can Two Competing Shows Thrive?

For several years now, different organizers have been trying to establish a counterpart to Compamed/Medica in Spring. T4M in Stuttgart has now premiered its first attempt. Here are our key takeaways.

Image: Landesmesse Stuttgart GmbH

Brand identity crisis
Does the industry really know what it is getting and who it is supporting from the two competing MedTech shows in Germany? We heard a lot of confused visitor and exhibitor remarks about the organizers (past and present) and the locations. It is apparent that many equate Stuttgart, the T4M location, as the show that was waning- while some correctly stated UBM/Informa was show host of Medtec Europe. Medtec Europe, however, announced last spring that they were joining forces with Nurnberg Messe’s MT Connect to create a Nurnberg-based show called MedtecLIVE.

It was interesting to see that T4M placed much emphasis on what it considers its geographic strength. And maybe assuming that fact alone must be positive, when in fact many compared T4Ms premier effort and attendance to a show that has since moved to Nuremberg. T4M has inherited a false, one-sided legacy based on geography. It is apparent that a lot more work needs to be put into defining the T4M vision and mission, while aggressively creating a strong brand identity so that they detach themselves from Medtec Europe’s past in order to carve out their own future.

That said, there was a time when Medtec Europe was a growing, vibrant show, in Stuttgart, that enjoyed so much success and recognition that Messe Düsseldorf had a delegation visit it to learn first-hand who or what was driving their success. That was also a time when the trade show management put out the following statistic: 78% of visitors where coming from within 120 km of the venue. So that made it an extremely popular, local trade show that enjoyed pulling in visitors from all across Europe with a short walk from the airport. That is until Medtec Europe decided to add more local shows across Europe to increase their trade show portfolio.

Local show or Swiss export show?
It was clear that Southern German and Swiss exhibitors were in the majority and that international exhibitors, were in fact a rarity at T4M. There were also many exhibitors that have never been seen at a Medtech trade show before, most of them had Stuttgart or Tübingen area zip codes. With the sheer size of the Swiss pavilion, visitors and exhibitors were left to wonder if T4M was actually designed as a showcase for Swiss Medtech exports.

We often heard from Swiss exhibitors that our customers are “here”, in the Stuttgart area and that driving an extra three hours is too much. This is an unusual argument as we have heard from Scandinavian exhibitors at COMPAMED, that they prefer to meet their local clients in Düsseldorf at the show because that is their prearranged meeting place. The reason: they can drop all the excruciatingly, long drives to visit individual clients. In short- efficiency. The Swiss exhibitors also drive an additional three hours to Düsseldorf to exhibit- but that is of course, COMPAMED/MEDICA.

However, without bringing in more international supplying exhibitors, it will be difficult to attract a more international visitor profile. Not an easy thing to do when you are competing with another Medtech show in Nuremberg two weeks later and a major UK Medtech show the week in-between only to back up against German Pentecost school holidays and MD&M East in New York.

Timing – it might create alternating exhibition and visitation plans
Most of the industry rejoiced when UBM announced plans to join Nuremberg Messe. The competition was over, choices did not need to be made and suppliers could focus their energy on one major Medtech show in Germany aside from the show they always plan for; COMPAMED. Now suppliers are really put in a hard spot. To exhibit at two shows in the same month and just a week apart means overlapping preparation and follow-up time. This puts a massive burden on small sales and marketing teams. This will be tolerated in the “test year”, but what about next year and the year after? This is where we believe there is much room for improvement as May was never part of Medtec Europe’s winning formula in the best of times. Two spring shows are for most, simply one too many.

Co-located with Control
We thought there would be a stronger, noticeable synergy between T4M and Control. But it turned out that a T4M ticket was not treated the same as a Control ticket. It is our understanding that Control visitors were welcome at T4M but a T4M ticket would not give visitors access to Control. It was assumed there would be a greater degree of cooperation as T4M was scheduled at the same time as the PE Schall event that focuses on quality assurance, which of course attracts many OEMs, including medical device manufacturers.

What were your observations on the show? Share them with us: editor@medtechmediaeurope.com

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