It’s that time of year again. When all thoughts turn to the biggest global mobile technology and applications showcase in the world, Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress (MWC). Held each year by the GSMA, the show unveils some key yearly indicators that any attending exhibitor, press member, or aspiring Steve Jobs-acolyte should know about mobile.
According to a recent IIAR webcast I listened into with industry analysts Keith Humphreys of euroLAN and Catherine Haslam of Ovum, as well as members of the IIAR membership committee, estimates say that you’ll be one of nearly 1,500 exhibitors, and more than 67,000 attending members of the public. And if MWC 2012 estimates from the GSMA hold up this year, there could be many more who are interested in demonstrating or learning about your mobile wares.
How can you possibly hope to get maximum value out of Analysts who are attending MWC 2013?
Well the GSMA has published what they call their ‘MWC First Time Attendee Guide’ but we think it’s by adhering to what the IIAR webinar collectively referred to as the “MWC Rules of Engagement” – with some of my own two cents, thrown in!
1. Establish your KPIs and plan your attendance – well in advance
This may seems like an obvious starting-point. But it’s not. Prudent thinking would suggest that if you are booked into a one-hour media demonstration or analyst briefing you should plan for cutting it short to about 30-45 minutes as it’s possible that travelling between sessions which are at various points in the cavernous conference hall may take up to 15 minutes to traverse.
This will also do much to ingratiate your with your analyst or journalist who will appreciate that you’ve taken the time to assist them navigate the frankly chocka- timelines of a four-day conference.
2. Know Your Audience, as well as the competition
At an event of this stature, only the most arrogant would assume that they are the only supplier of services who plan to announce something during MWC 2013.
If you are a major vendor, it helps to know who you are pitting yourself against. Establish some competitive metrics several months in advance where you look at your competitors, their current market offering, and establish not only what you are planning to announce at the show, but how Well it might go down with the assembled audience.
If you’re not entirely sure that your product announcement has been stress tested enough to withstand the rigours of a major event like this, it may be worth waiting to announce after the show has passed, difficult to justify to your executives’ but perhaps the right move to avoid drowning in the competitive noise.
3. Feed Me – I’m Hungry!
We’ve heard it said that MWC is a killer for your feet, but apparently it can also be a killer on your… will to live.
Often the queues in the various cafes and canteens are as long, if not longer than the queues to get into the most popular speaker tracks.
You’d be well advised to provide your assembled analysts at the very least with some light snacks, which will do much to ensure that they can be briefed by you over the full time allotted, rather than dashing off to get into an over-long lunch queue at the canteen!
4. Prepare Your Announcement Schedule
This goes without saying, but if you have a channel announcement, an MSP announcement, an iOS update, and an Android integration update to announce during MWC, you would be well advised to space them out.
You will gain the most traction and the most eyeballs from your press announcements, if you are also clear with your embargo periods. It is well advised to bring several of your key analysts and journalists into the fold early and stress-test some of your messaging well in advance of the show.
5. Adopt a Best Practices Strategy
If something didn’t work for you when you exhibited in 2011, and then again in 2012, it might be prudent not to repeat it?
Work out with your on-the-floor team who will manage what in terms of your assembled bloggers, prospects, and analysts and associated hangers-on. Ovum’s Catherine Haslam put out a great post this week about what her firm’s analysts expect to get out of MWC.
MWC is a highly public event and of course you want to avoid any screw ups. By all means have a senior Comms person available who can handle crisis management, should one of your key executives fall ill, should the sky fall in Barcelona, etc.
7. Finally plan your MWC plans for next year’s show… based on this year’s performance!
It might be wise to note down who you really enjoyed meeting during this year’s conference, and put them top of your list to keep tabs on during 2013, and follow up with them in three, or six nine months’ to see how their progress is going And what their thoughts are on your go-to-market strategy.
Some of what we’re interested to see this year is whether the rumoured enterprise App Stores finally make their presence felt during the congress, or whether this so-called Internet of Things is finally to achieve critical mass and make its presence felt (so says Gartner).
The world will be watching, and we know we will.
By: Suzannah Archibald, Senior Marketing Executive, Loudhouse Marketing Consultancy