This year I visited the Intergeo 2015 not without reason. I was invited at the booth of the German GeoBusiness Commission for an interview. The interplay of geobusiness and social media should be examined more closely. I like to publish my theses here as well.
Talk about your deeds
The German (geo-)economic landscape is rich in smart companies, ideas, concepts and great products. Nevertheless, Germany is “dubbed” as a country of the small and medium-sized enterprises. When we look at these two points (great ideas/small companies) in terms of a European economic context and also in view of the globalized markets of products and ideas, we have a field of tension: good ideas need to be known so that the related solutions can be sold, however the SME is in doubt not as Internet savvy and firm in an international dialogue. And an awareness for your product can only be achieved if either the consumers / users talk about the product or the producer does it. What could be better than to share the knowledge about your product with the social arena earliest possible to let others discuss it and thus to undergo an external evaluation? Who isn’t visible, will not get evaluated! Thanks to the German spatial data infrastructure, its high level of education and the excellent ideas in spatial data, many companies have an excellent foundation to spread the word about their ideas in social media.
Germany is not the market!
When it comes to contact with the potential customer / user of a product, we need to go international. Here I mean the change from a German culture of communication to an international / English driven communication. Suppose the company BlackBridge with headquarters in Berlin: A company with international staff and clientele. If you see this company and you want to be “found”, you will not address the Tajik Python developer nor a Spanish DataViz specialist of Blackbridge, except one of them comes to the “crazy” idea to look after the German counterpart to “create Webmap python json” by googling “Erstelle Internetkarte python json”…
The communication and presentation in English is mandatory and thus creates the leads that are needed to sale your product in the future.
Sales, Advertising and Social Media
Social media is much more than just an advertising alternative. It is the opportunity to present yourself and search for praise / criticism, to obtain valuable input for product development and also to react on developments in the market in an agile way. The communication in social media is not unidirectional. The input and the reactions that one experiences should be respected in your business and you should also react to it. Where else do you get input on your latest idea in the field of data visualization, innovative ETL processes, exciting and high-performance spatial data analysis tools as in the (international!) community, which will buy or use your product in the future. This valuable input you have to demand (See Talk about your deeds”) and also include in the agile development of your product. The “time to market” must be short these days. Especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can assimilate this agile approach faster than large companies: your competitors from Portugal, England and South Korea are not waiting for you!
Don’t underestimate the youth
What I saw at the show: It is a fair for specialist: for the buyer, the sales managers, product managers. For those specialists those kind of events are important and right. But do not forget the youth! Many great ideas and products are poorly communicated in student circles. Current students of geoinformatics/GIS or geodesy grow up with ArcGIS and Matlab and use the products from Leica and Garmin to acquire data in case of doubt (Attention! Exaggeration!). These students are your product developers, analysts, sales managers of tomorrow! Why not start appropriate activities in networks of students and young professionals? Maybe save one month of the training period for your product (== € 5,000 personnel costs), as your next employee has already tried your product using the trial version, after he was getting curious reading about it at the student council newsletter, through a Facebook post in one of the numerous geoscientific groups or seen it (on a paid dialogue…) on a geo-website.
We especially appreciate the last paragraph emphasizing the need for more OPENNESS in geospatial education.