It’s time for the third post in our ‘Seven Steps to MWC Success’ series. This time Zoe of communications consultancy Buzz Method takes the helm to explore the importance of a tailored approach to the event.
In case you missed the other parts of the series, here they are:
Ok. Over to Zoe!
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3. Tailor your approach
Exposure to media and industry analysts is a major driver for companies to participate at MWC. Given the high cost involved in both money and time, it’s surprising, then, that many firms don’t give much thought to the different things they want from the event and how best to engage with them. While every journalist, blogger and analyst is an individual who has his or her personal preferences, it is possible to consider each group separately and tailor your approach accordingly.
– A journalist at MWC wants a scoop – something that will make readers want to buy their publication instead of its rivals, all of which are carrying hot news of their own. They’re after breaking news, so make sure you have something to make it worth their while turning up.
– Have a long, hard think about your planned announcements – just because it’s news to your company, does that really mean that other people will pay money to read/watch a video about it? If not, don’t pitch it.
– Editorial teams are getting smaller, so they have to work a lot harder. What’s more, they will need to generate a lot of content – many publications will have to produce a special edition around MWC, so journalists will be working round the clock for several weeks creating content ahead of the event. Much of the content will already be written by the time MWC kicks off, so why not do them (and yourself) a favour and feed them stories during this period?
– Can you brief them beforehand under NDA? That way you will be that little bit less stressed at the event and you increase the chances of publication.
– If meeting journalists is necessary (fair enough, there are several reasons why it is) do try to limit meetings to one-on-one briefings, only hold a press conference if you have something truly amazing to announce or you have a very big partner who will let you piggyback.
Let’s hear from journalist Dan Ilett:
“We’re looking at smart technology, so a bit of research beforehand shows me there are quite a few companies out that work in this area, but very few with something to show off or say. I think it’s important for companies to not only be there, but think about what it is they really want from this event. They need a strategy to make the most of the money they are paying to be there.
“When you look at the actual amount of business that goes down at MWC, much of it isn’t targeted but lots of it is about getting to the evening drinks. And when a journalist comes around asking to know more about the company, it’s daft to try and get rid of them – your staff need to be ready to communicate and tell the world what you’re up to.
“It’s not rocket science, but you’d be amazed how many people think things will just happen by being there.”
– Dan Ilett, CEO, founder and research director at Greenbang, a smart technology research firm. Dan has also worked as a journalist, writing for the Financial Times, the Economist Group, the Daily Telegraph and a range of business trade magazines – CNET, silicon.com, zdnet, SC Magazine.
– These guys and gals are content-thirsty. If they track your sector and (preferably) your company, they will be keen to learn what’s happening and very likely to cover it. For one thing, they need to justify the trip, even if they are being hosted by a vendor.
– Make it easy for them however: he or she will be running around Barcelona like a blue-arsed fly, so let them kill two birds with one stone – buy them lunch or dinner, at the very least offer coffee and cake. They won’t have much time to grab food and, depending on the business model of their blog, they may appreciate not having to shell out if you can save them some cash. You must respect their editorial independence, but every little helps!
– When you do meet up, help bloggers to get good content – show demos that they can film and supply them with digital images.
“I’m always surprised when I take the camera on to a random stand that’s caught my attention and the idiots manning it refuse to be interviewed. It’s not unusual to come across individuals from global companies who simply aren’t briefed at all or who ‘chicken out’ of answering anything because I’m wearing a press badge. I’ve got limited time at the event — so being responsive to me when I need it definitely helps in terms of enabling me to deliver coverage. Please make sure folk on the stand are briefed. Saying that your Director of PR is ‘somewhere around’ combined with lots of wandering around the stand does not help. I’ve often got a time window of sub-three minutes when I’m visiting stands as there’s so much to do.”
“I’m about 500% more likely to give attention to companies (and people) that I already know. So do take the time to get to know the key bloggers before the event. There’s lots of real-time priority decisions being made by many bloggers because of the pressure they’re under — if they know you already, chances are you’ll get a positive response when it comes to the crunch.”
“Dinners, lunch, food, a can of coke or something like that can be a very useful resource for a blogger under pressure. In some cases, I don’t have time to read a release or write up a story so if a friendly PR tweets me relevant link (to a release), I’ll often re-tweet.”
– Ewan MacLeod, Mobile Industy Review
– Key mobile analysts will be booked up several weeks in advance. Fact. If you haven’t already managed to squeeze onto their schedules at least a fortnight before MWC opens its doors, you’ll have to do something pretty spectacular to persuade them to move an appointment. Our recommendation is “don’t even bother” most of the time. You know the analysts who matter to you, so if you’ve got something to tell them at MWC check that they’re attending and arrange to meet them. Do bear in mind, however, that unlike bloggers and traditional journalists, analysts aren’t in the business of breaking news (not that the occasional scoop goes amiss, but that’s a subject for another time).
-Analysts’ clients want them to be up to speed on the latest industry developments in their area of expertise. So do the journalists who ask them for independent third party expert comment when they’re writing articles. So why not brief specific analysts in advance of your product launch? You can do this under NDA in most cases – just check that their company policy allows it. Your PR agency should be able to tell you those analysts that particular journalists tend to quote (no, this is not the same as Analyst Relations, it’s just a question of checking articles), which will give you a steer on who to speak to.
“My inner geek likes the tech on show, but I only really want to know one thing: Where’s the money? Solutioneering pitches will catch my attention. That’s about demonstrating how to apply technology to enable new revenue streams. And I believe a profitable future lies is verticalized not generic solutions.”
“I also want my MWC conversations to be about commercial dimensions – for instance whether telcos and vendors should adopt sell to, sell with or sell through models into vertical markets.”
– Camille Mendler, Head of Enterprise Verticals at Informa Telecoms & Media
Whoever you are hoping to speak to, it comes back to the same old principles of making sure you have something timely and relevant to tell media, bloggers and analysts.
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Thank you very much Zoe! 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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
And if you’re looking around for MWC options, do check out the Mobile Industry Review MWC Sponsorship packages.