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Seven Steps to MWC Success: Step 7 — At the show

Mobile World Congress Logo 2011

It’s time for the final part of the Seven Steps to MWC Success series.

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
– Step Four – You can never over-plan
Step Five – Scheduling Meetings
Step Six – Final Preparations

So tickets and hotels are all booked, meetings arranged, bags are packed and are shoes polished. But there are still things to bear in mind. For this final post in the series, Dominic and Zoë from communications consultancy Buzz Method have put their heads together and come up with some crucial tips for the show floor.

Take it away, Buzz…

– – – – –

7. At the show

Congratulations, you’ve made it to the start of MWC. You’ve planned extensively and thoroughly, expectations have been correctly set, meetings and dinners lined up and the end is in sight.

Woohoo!

The hard work is just about to begin.

We asked Noam Green, Associate Vice President of Corporate Marketing at Mobixell what he focuses on:

“The show is always hard work, but (nearly always) good fun as well. The trick is to focus on what your priority for being at the show is – to meet the media, make new business contacts or catch up with existing customers – and then to make sure you achieve that. It can be easy to be pulled in multiple directions, but if you stay focussed then you will achieve your goals and probably be able to tick off some of the other elements as well.”

“I’m looking forward to the show, it will great to catch up with old contacts and see what is happening in the wider industry – I can’t wait.”

Here are some tips to consider:

Be prepared for anything
Things will not go to plan. That’s guaranteed. So, you need to be as prepared as possible for every eventuality – we recommend carrying painkillers and mouth freshener – but more importantly, you should think about what you will do if your demo kit fails, or you have to pull your news at the last minute.

Know who is saying what
Keep a keen eye on what everyone else is saying and ensure that you can give your executives a concise brief on relevant news that is emerging from the show. This will not only help them in meetings with journalists, bloggers and analysts, but also in their business meetings.

Let’s hear from Catherine Ogilvie, Vice President, Global Corporate Communications, Dolby:

“Once the team have arrived, set up time for a thorough stand briefing and walk through so everyone is fully engaged and understands the products and story we are trying to convey on the stand.  We pay particular attention to understanding our partner relationships and being able to explain the part Dolby plays in the technology we are showing. Partners this year include Acer, HTC and Nokia.”

“Remind your key contacts – be they are media, influencers or partners – that you are at the show, and make your booth really stand out. A well-designed and interesting booth is a must with plenty of product demonstrations, engaging graphics and areas for informal meetings or just a place to sit for a few moments to check mail or rest weary feet.”

“A short pre-show brief, personalised to them where possible with the latest news and details of any key meetings, is always helpful to anyone planning a show visit.”

“Matching the right spokespeople and the interests of visitors is a must, establishing what the key areas of interest are for example, is a more technical spokesperson more appropriate than say someone who has a more general interest in audio or our role in content creation and delivery.”

“Test, test and test again to ensure all the demos are working perfectly, for Dolby it’s especially important the the sound is flawless. Not always easy in a busy trade show environment. Another must-have is spare devices and particularly for MWC, additional handsets and headphones available for visitors to get the immersive experience we deliver.”

“Feedback for booth staff and those not attending is critical, how are we doing, who came to visit, what’s the hit of the show, social media helps drive daily updates to everyone involved so they feel connected to the show wherever they are.”

There’s more to think about too:

Look for ad hoc opportunities

There will be plenty of media and analysts walking around. Become adept at reading name badges from a distance and you will be able to create opportunities during the event itself.

Don’t forget the Show Dailies
The Show Daily is the highest circulation publication at the event itself. If you can, you should pre-pitch your news to the Show Daily well in advance of the event. With so much to cover, a lot of the content is written long before the week in Barcelona begins. However, the journalists who write this magazine will always include breaking news. Speak to them beforehand about the best way to work with them during the show.

Ensure your logistics are all in place
Make sure you know where to print, have the numbers for local taxi companies and if all else fails, a handful of metro passes to give to flustered execs who need to get elsewhere in a hurry. If you don’t have wireless internet access on your stand (and you really, really should) make sure you are in town early enough to buy mobile internet ‘dongles’ from high street providers (you will need your passport in order to make a purchase).

Make contacts
If your potential to schedule briefings is limited, whether due to lack of news or availability, still use the event as an opportunity to meet journalists, analysts and bloggers. Even if it is a quick hello in the press centre, it will give you an excuse to get in touch after the event. Just don’t pitch non-news.

Mona Popilian-Yona, Director of Marketing, InfoGin told us:

“The announcements we want to make are clearly the most important for us in Barcelona, yet Congress also offers a great chance to take the pulse of the industry. From a media perspective, it is important to know about the big stories, as journalists can often want to hear your perspective on them. If you can, attend the conference, but if not read the Show Daily and listen to the buzz on the floor. You can pick up the big news that way. “

“Then you have to work out what it means for you and your story and weave it into your message. It can be tricky to do, but it reaps rewards.”

So, to our final two tips:

Do what you say you will

It should go without saying, but if you offer to send additional information through following a briefing, make sure that you do. All of the hard work to create an opportunity will be undermined if you don’t follow through.

Have fun
It’s a lot of hard work, but it is also one of the most exciting and dynamic times in the mobile industry’s calendar. If you don’t come away from MWC enthused about being a mobile player, you may want to consider working in another industry! Use the event to meet new people, reconnect with those you already know and boost your knowledge about the industry. Go to parties, stay up later than you planned, but always get to the show floor in time the next day – you can sleep when it’s all over!

– – – – –

Absolutely fantastic. Thank you Dominic and Zoe. You’ve made some brilliant points. I should add one tip too, if you’re demonstrating anything on a mobile phone, make absolutely sure you’ve got 2-3 spare batteries to hand for across the day. Even though you think your Samsung Galaxy or iPhone will last the whole day, it’s poor transmitter will no doubt we working overtime trying to keep an open connection because of the huge network congestion around the show. That 8 hours of battery you thought you might have could be reduced to 2 hours or less. Especially when you’re continually demonstrating apps and services. Spare batteries, spare devices, chargers, you name it, have a rack of them to hand. Because when the guy from CNN comes by during a live broadcast and asks to see your app, that’s when you’ll go flat, right? 😉

That’s the end of our Seven Steps to MWC Success. I hope you’ve found the series useful. As a reminder, here are the other posts:

– Step One – Announcements
– Step Two – Always be relevant
– Step Three – Tailor your approach
– Step Four – You can never over-plan
– Step Five – Scheduling Meetings
– Step Six – Final Preparations

I’ve asked Dominic if he could do one more supplementary piece — that’s coming shortly. In case you haven’t come across Dominic 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.

Buzz Method’s senior consultants will be onsite in Barcelona in the run-up to Mobile World Congress and are available to help you in your final preparations for the show. They can give you feedback on your presentation content and delivery, coach senior spokespeople in working with the media, or run ‘media handling’ sessions for your stand staff. It’s well worth bringing in someone external to ensure that what you are planning to say really is compelling and relevant.

Meanwhile if you’ve got an opinion or perspective on MWC, 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.

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

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