It’s that time of year again. The time when anyone who’s anyone in the world of mobile (and a fair few who aren’t) come together in Barcelona for the annual tech bun fight that is Mobile World Congress.
This year, nearly 95,000 delegates and 4,000 international journalists and industry analysts will pour into Barcelona’s Fira Gran Via and Fira Montjuic to see what the 2,000 exhibitors have to offer and listen to what the 140 inspiring speakers have to say.
Previous years have seen the likes of Samsung, Huawei and HTC unveil flagship devices, and Microsoft and Firefox make major mobile OS announcements. It is also the place where a plethora of technology trends such as the Internet of Things (IoT), mobile payments, network virtualisation and wearables have gathered pace.
And this year is shaping up to be no different. Not surprisingly, and as is the usual pattern for Mobile World Congress, the media coverage for this year’s show has already been dominated by consumer announcements – new device launches and new services. The big players have taken their place as the media coverage leaders with Samsung, arguably the biggest of these, tipped to launch its Galaxy S7 range – but other names include LG, Nokia and Ericsson.
So, its no wonder MWC is a focal point on the calendar for the tech industry. But with all this noise, how can canny smaller B2B players break through and get their voice heard? And what can you do, even now, to make the most of being there?
1. Get your objectives straight
We all know success at any trade show takes months of preparation. From the booth design and location to which of your employees will attend and what products or services you will have on display (if any). But it’s just as important to have a clear understanding of your objectives and motives for being at the show. Are you looking to make new contacts? Cement existing ones? Is it all about sales? Or is it more of a visibility exercise?
If you are still unsure on you reason for being at Mobile World Congress, now is the time to get this clear. There is no wrong objective to being at a show, but knowing your objective allows you to measure your success.
2. Develop a timely, relevant story
There’s an old adage in the PR world that says ‘it is not the responsibility of the media to write about companies, but rather the issues that effect its readers’. Product stories are all well and good, but unless you are one of the tech giants, you are likely to be overlooked at a show like MWC in favour of these. Developing a narrative that focuses on an issue in the industry is likely to garner far more success with the media.
As with all story telling, yours must be relevant to your chosen audience and offer something new for them to get excited about. It’s important to get an opinion, and why not make it disruptive and bold. Only then will your audience be more likely to listen.
Here are four key topics that we think are going to be bigger than ever at this year’s show.
- IoT: Ever since a university Coke machine was modified to report its inventory status via the Internet, IoT has been a hot topic. And it is set to gather even more momentum at Mobile World Congress this year. As millions of ‘things’ are becoming smart, this innovation is creating new business models, improving business processes and reducing costs.
- Security: Never far away from the headlines, mobile security is big news. Not just for those in the security space, but for anyone with a foot in the mobile world. The introduction of more and more devices and an increasingly mobile workforce has resulted in an explosion of data either stored on or transferred across mobile devices. More data means a higher risk of breaches and cyber attacks.
- Enterprise Mobility: This one seems like a given, but it goes far deeper than simply being able to access applications on the move. Customers are demanding a mobile user experience that is no different from what they get in the office…and in some instances, even better.
- Cloud: The cloud has enabled any company, no matter what size, to compete effectively. Cloud is allowing organisations to become mobile first and mobile only players – disrupting the established view of what a company should look like. It eliminates the need for fixed physical offices and infrastructure and providing an ‘any time, any place, any device’ ethos.
3. Book those last-minute meetings
Once you know your reason for being there and have your story in place, it’s time to focus your efforts on engaging of your target audience.
It might be too late to carry out an all singing, all dancing targeted email-marketing campaign, but thanks to the world of LinkedIn, Twitter and the show’s own My MWC Event App you have a direct path to target those attending.
Take some time to register and start e-networking with other attendees, both before and during the event. With just a few clicks and swipes, the app will even make suggestions about potential attendees you should network with. And sometimes less is more. In the B2B world, focusing on a small number of highly targeted individuals in order to secure high impact meetings is often the most effective strategy.
4. Get involved in the conversation
Make the most of your time at the show. Network with other exhibitors, visit the pavilions and show your face at speaking sessions. Thinking about the story themes we mentioned earlier, here are a few of the highlights:
- Hear from one of the foremost cyber security experts in the world, Carlos Valderrama, co-founder of HackCradle, at the Lavazza stage as he discusses Cyber Security Innovation.
- If enterprise mobility is your thing, there is a not to be missed Enterprise Mobility CIO roundtable where panellists from Shell, CaxiaBank, TUI Group and TVH Group will be sharing their views on the topic.
- At the Mobile Cloud pavilion you can explore the growing number of cloud solutions and capabilities, and see how mobile technology can benefit from integrating smart cloud solutions.
- Don’t forget to visit the new IoT pavilion at this year’s show where you can see how this market is quickly evolving.
Of course, it’s not always possible to leave your stand – after all, this may be the main reason you are there. But there is still plenty of opportunity to get involved at Mobile World Congress.
Use social media to become part of the show conversations. Twitter is great for this and you can use the show hashtag (#MWC16) to follow what is being talked about and interact with attendees, media and other exhibitors.
Ask questions, provide insight and participate in any polls or surveys taking place. This will not only raise your visibility at the show, but will allow you to prove your expertise in the areas that matter to you…and to your customers and prospects.
5. Don’t forget to follow up
Your MWC marketing activity shouldn’t stop when the show doors close. The follow up is just as important as the show itself. Keep close to those new and existing contacts you’ve met at the show – but think beyond sales calls alone.
You’ve started the dialogue with these people so it’s important to nurture this relationship. Provide them with valuable content and insight, share stories with them on social media and make sure you remain seen in the publications they read.
And that’s it for now. So get out there, build some relationships and most importantly, enjoy the show!