Seven Steps to MWC Success: Step 4 — You can never over-plan

Mobile World Congress Logo 2011

It’s time for the fourth post in our ‘Seven Steps to MWC Success’ series. Zoe of communications consultancy Buzz Method is back once again to make it clear that you can never over-plan.

In case you missed the other parts of the series, here they are:

Step One – Announcements

– Step Two – Always be relevant

Step Three – Tailor your approach

Ok, let’s begin — over to Zoe!

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4. You can never over-plan

This is one event that requires a huge amount of planning and ensuring you have a stand in place, is only the beginning. Many companies never stop planning for MWC and start making arrangements for the following year during the event itself.

Even for a city like Barcelona, MWC is so massive that restaurants, hotels and even flights are fully booked well in advance. Make sure you have a solid timeline of what needs to be done when and make contingency plans where possible. Book extra hotel rooms NOW if you think you might need them – you can always cancel them closer to the time – make tentative dinner reservations and put the plans in place for any corporate hospitality.

Let’s hear from Rupert Baines, VP Marketing, picoChip:

“We know we are always going to be at MWC, so we put our plans in place as early as possible to secure the best venues. Before we arrive in Barcelona in February 2011, we’ll have a good idea of what we want to do in 2012 and it’s a good time to firm these plans up – even a year in advance.”

“MWC is so busy, that whether you are entertaining partners, customers or media, you need to throw an event that is worthwhile attending and truly memorable. It has to be exciting, exceptionally executed and deliver on the objective of strengthening your relationships. In previous years we have had events in a castle and an artist’s studio out of town and we are planning something even bigger for 2011. We book our accommodation in March for the following February – and even 11 months in advance isn’t far enough ahead to secure some venues.”

You need to decide early on what level of involvement you want at the event. The GSMA issues calls for speakers in early summer and starts confirming speakers in the autumn. If your company has a speaker slot, start planning the content in good time. Consider what announcements you may be able to make and how to make them relevant to the conference themes.  If you have decided that a speaker’s slot isn’t right for you this time, there are many other ways in which you can have an impact. Talk to your colleagues and establish the objectives for the event early on. When you are all in agreement with what you want from the show, you can begin to execute to ensure success.

Be very realistic about what you can achieve and think long and hard about timings. It’s probably not a good idea to hold a party the same night as the GSMA’s Global Mobile Awards, unless of course, you are targeting a completely different audience. Given that when the show floor closes, all other events start, consider the best way to get your executives to speak to the people they need to – whether it’s customers, business partners, journalists or analysts. Consider hosting an informal breakfast, lunch, or cocktail party for people to drop in to – schedules are every bit as busy during the evening, so it may be difficult to get people to commit to coming to a sit-down meal.

Companies have been known to schedule press conferences for Sunday evening, before the start of the conference, but you are really only going to pull in a crowd for this if you are one of the biggest names in mobile. Your top customers may value some time away from the hubbub of the event.

If you travel a short way out of Barcelona, you can be in a beautiful mountaintop or beachside restaurant where the pace feels very different to that of the show floor. Barcelona’s Penedès wine region is the home to Cava, as well as some great red wines, and many vineyards will organise an exclusive tasting with fabulous foods to match.

If you do decide to take people out of Barcelona, make sure that the transport arrangements are flawless and that you get them back into town in time to either get a good night’s sleep, or to go on to the next party.

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Another excellent post Zoe. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head with your points about timings — especially about big sit-down meals that sound a super idea four weeks before the show but, on the day, actually end up taking up too much valuable ‘show’ time. Plan, plan, plan!

In case you haven’t come across Zoe and the team at Buzz Method, here’s a quick overview:

Buzz Method is a boutique communications consultancy based in Barcelona and London. Its consultants have decades of experience in advising ICT companies of all sizes and from all regions on how best to identify and engage with different stakeholders. Moreover, Buzz Method partners with the world’s best PR agencies to deliver award-winning international communications programmes for their mutual clients.

Meanwhile if you’ve got an opinion or perspective, do drop me a note: ewan@mobileindustryreview.com.

And if you’re looking around for MWC options, do check out the Mobile Industry Review MWC Sponsorship packages.

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