As the organiser of RemaDays Warsaw, publisher of several trade magazines and an industry service provider, the Polish publishing company GJC Intermedia shapes the Polish market and knows it inside out. CEO Sławomir Giefing on his trade fair and the Polish promotional products industry.
What were your intentions behind founding GJC Intermedia and what were the goals of the new company?
Sławomir Giefing: Previously the company had acted in three areas: as an importer, an agency and a publisher. These three types of activities concentrated in a single company resulted in a conflict of interests – our clients were at the same time our competitors. Therefore, we decided to split the firm into three companies – one of them became GJC Inter Media. At the time of its foundation, its role was the least important of the three.
This has changed over the years: In 2005, you launched the Remadays Warsaw, which quickly became very successful, despite other shows, which still existed at that time. What was the recipe for its success?
Sławomir Giefing: The goal of bringing the RemaDays Warsaw to life was to provide the market with a complete product, consistent with the clients’ needs. The concept of the RemaDays is based on three basic ideas: They are staged in Warsaw, where the most agencies are located, they unite all marketing disciplines in one show and the price is right. We are convinced that the reason for such a swift development of the RemaDays Warsaw was because it provides a complete offer combined with our high quality service. However, an efficient and sophisticated visitor marketing management has also played a role.
From which countries – apart from Poland – do the most visitors and exhibitors come from in Warsaw?
Sławomir Giefing: Among the exhibitors, it is mostly companies from Western Europe: Germany, Netherlands, Italy. With regards to the visitors – incidentally we set a new attendance record at the RemaDays Warsaw this year – the Eastern European countries are very important. Each year, we record a growth in the number of visitors from Lithuania, Latvia and the Ukraine.
The RemaDays are open to distributors and end users. Why is this and does it still work well?
Sławomir Giefing: It is all to do with the nature of the Polish market. The wholesale suppliers market, which serves the end clients, is relatively small. But the “mixed concept” functions well because suppliers employ the policy of diversified prices for agencies and end clients.
Can you make any estimation at all on how big the Polish market is?
Sławomir Giefing: Based on our own database, I would say there are about 1,500 companies that are directly and strongly connected to the industry. A further 2,000-3,000 are companies for which promotional products are an important, but not a crucial part of their business. The rest – that is 5,000-10,000 companies – offer gadgets as an occasional product.
Which economic sectors are particularly “good promotional products buyers” in Poland and which products are popular?
Sławomir Giefing: The pharmaceutical, banking, liquor, chemistry and cosmetics sectors are very active, and popular products are stationery, clothes, mugs, paper products and import articles such as key chains, umbrellas and lanyards.
How has the Polish market developed since 2005?
Sławomir Giefing: Up until 2008 the market recorded strong growth and development. Since 2008, the situation has been changing, and companies that have overinvested started running into trouble. The alert players in the market have cut costs and enhanced their offer to secure their attractiveness and competitiveness. We are part of the global economy and thus we are dependent on what is happening in other markets. However, we reckon that Polish active entrepreneurship, which manifests itself in the constant search for new products and the willingness to work hard, will allow us to maintain above average results, especially against the European background.