RINALDO FRANCO SPA - DAN FRANCO

dan-franco

 

What expectations do you have for Zoomark, being held in person?

The organisers have undoubtedly taken a bold, admirable decision to hold the show in person in November and they deserve our respect and consideration. Shows have to serve their visitors, first and foremost, then their exhibitors: both need to feel that their expectations have been fulfilled. Business visitors must find useful input for their work, and exhibitors have to see that they have got a better response than their competitors. Will an in-person show during a pandemic like the current one satisfy both? It's a delicate balance that depends greatly on how many from each category will effectively be present, though everyone appears to be looking forward to the show very much.


We have been Zoomark International fans for years and we are currently working with our sales force to decide on how to structure our participation and the investment we will commit. While it's fundamental for start-ups to take part in trade shows, it's different for a large, well-positioned company: visibility at a B2B show drives development but is not always essential. As manufacturers and distributors, we are more used to taking a proactive approach, going directly to our customers rather than waiting passively at a stand, however engaging and well-equipped. But I have to say, as a professional in this industry, that I personally am very much looking forward to seeing everyone again, welcoming visitors to our stand and scoping out the market, tapping into that two-way influence and getting a feel for the new trends and new products.

 

 

The whole pet industry has seen an impressive increase in sales. Will this growth continue in 2021? And after that?

Unfortunately we do not yet have the IRI data for 2020, but what has leaked out so far appears to show conflicting results. We ourselves had substantial growth last year, both in Italy and with sales abroad, and that was going without the leading Interzoo event. So the market does not grind to a halt without trade shows. In the first quarter of 2021 we have consolidated and boosted that growth: we are actually 49% up on the first quarter of 2020 in pandemic conditions, and for the record, in the same period last year we were in any case on a par with the previous one. It's not easy at this stage to make long-range forecasts, we just have to do our best, one step at a time. And our stakeholders are well aware of this, being entrepreneurs like us.

 

To get back to the show, a year and a half after the last in-person event (in Orlando, Florida) it is easy to imagine that all the prospective visitors - the event's key players - are looking forward to it. Nowadays, it has to be said, trade shows are not about finalizing contracts, but building new relationships and strengthening existing ones, getting ideas and gathering information in a way and with nuances that virtual platforms as yet do not allow. We also know that if you decide to take the plunge, you have to go all in, and commit the necessary resources, perhaps this year with the funding support offered by Simest. In the meantime our sales division is already working on the new Record catalogue, which will be completed and reprinted in time for Zoomark: as usual, event dates influence company planning, above all when it comes to new launches.