Frankfurter Buchmesse

New paths beyond the core business of the trade fair - development of digital business models for the B2B and B2C sectors


How do trade fairs and trade events generate revenue beyond the physical event? Based on this key question, the SYZYGY GROUP, led by diffferent, developed and pilot-tested strategically new, sustainable business models for the Frankfurt Book Fair. The aim of our collaboration was to make the brand and business models of the largest international trade fair for books and content more digital and resilient.

Our approach

It was clear from the very start that simply copying physical trade fair offerings to digital formats would not be enough for new growth. We therefore examined the market through interviews with customers and experts, analyzed business data to identify strengths, reviewed feasibility and technical assets, and compiled them into areas of opportunity. The areas of opportunity served as a starting point for the development of new business ideas, which were further developed together with customers.

Juergen Boos

Ceo of Frankfurter Buchmesse

"Frankfurter Buchmesse is a festival with international appeal and a global marketplace that is constantly evolving. The SYZYGY GROUP impressed us with its deep understanding of our industry, its digital strategy, and its rapid implementation expertise."

The result

We developed various digital business ideas for Frankfurter Buchmesse that are intended to permanently complement the physical trade fair format and were piloted and tested at Frankfurter Buchmesse 2021. The focus was on the concrete benefits for the public as well as for the exhibiting companies and trade visitors.

Together with our client, we developed the pilot project "Frankfurt Masterclasses 2021" for the trade program of the book fair. Exhibitors were able to present their expertise, content, and portfolio in so-called "Masterclasses" on well-staged, curated, and advertised digital platforms.
The audience was hand-picked: Interested parties had to apply for the limited places in the various online sessions.

The exhibiting customers and speakers received a professional presentation for their masterclass fee, including a post-production for further use. They also benefited from a detailed evaluation of their session by the audience as well as qualified contacts to potential B2B customers without wastage.

The market was ready for our new strategic approach - and for the Frankfurter Buchmesse, the concept will be further refined and scaled on the way to new growth.

Key Insights

As innovative as the "Masterclass" for the 2021 Book Fair was, its market debut was just as successful:

  • For the twelve Masterclass sessions sold, a total of 850 B2B professionals applied from 75 countries.
  • Among the participants, the format achieved the highest intention to reuse and satisfaction with the content.
  • The exhibiting publishers and presenting speakers in turn awarded top marks for the price-performance ratio.


  • Business Innovation & Service Design
  • Digital Strategy
  • Experience Strategy & Concept
  • CX & Process Consulting
  • Prototyping & Usability Testing
  • Qualitative & Quantitative Research
  • Market potential analysis & benchmarking
  • Success Tracking & Quality Management
Digitale Audiowellen vor rosa Hintergrund

New Growth

The collaboration with Frankfurter Buchmesse has shown that three transformation shifts are needed for new growth in the event and trade fair segment:

Shift 1: Hybridization
Hybrid trade fairs are far more than digital extensions of physical trade fairs. It is only important to digitize what offers participants real added value. Above all, these are knowledge, inspiration, and information offerings that can be converted into exclusive learning and conference modules.

Shift 2: Serialization
Why does a trade fair or event have to take place on a specific date and only once a year? Digitally, a trade fair brand or suitable components of it can easily be organized several times, with participants spread all over the world.

Shift 3: Future projection
This means breaking down and reinterpreting the qualities and building blocks of the entire organization. As a result, you broaden your business view here, moving away from a monolithic business model towards an ecosystem of new but flexibly combinable business models of the future.

Further projects

We are happy to receive project inquiries

Emke Hillrichs,

Business Partner Brand & Transformation Strategy

Porträtfoto von Emke Hillrichs.