MWC: The Time is Now
Roisin Murphy has likely never heard of Mobile World Congress, but if she had, I’m sure she’d agree that her hit with Moloko, The Time is Now, would provide an apt soundtrack for our current position in the industry calendar. MWC may be four months away, but MWC PR strategies need to be drawn up now. Give yourself a head-start, ensure messaging and positioning for the show is in place before the end of the year, so you can hit the ground running in January.
To get the most out of the show, exhibitors should put together an effective plan of action and focus on content development, followed by outreach activity. The run-up to the show is the time to make your voice heard, before it’s inevitably drowned out when the masses descend on Barcelona in February. Yes, we have Christmas and New Year to think about first, but Murphy’s lyric: ‘You’re the first thing/And the last thing on my mind’ should be applied to MWC and heeded as advice for anyone wanting maximum visibility around the event.
We’ve been busy at Babel this month, discussing MWC strategies with our clients to work out what their priorities are, and planning accordingly for the show. MWC may run over four days, but many vendors will find it challenging to get media attention at the show. That is unless your company is a partner in a major announcement with a tier one brand. Unfortunately, the press pack will be preoccupied with the big brands, lured to press conferences with the promise of seeing a shiny new device or to get an audience with a billionaire CEO flown in from Silicon Valley. Many trade publications will spend the first couple of days fulfilling paid-for obligations to satisfy their publishers. They may not get onto the trade floor to conduct their own reporting until the Wednesday or the final day on Thursday, when most vendors are packing up to leave.
Faced with these challenges, the best course of action is to mount your MWC visibility campaign before the show. January and February provides vendors with a golden opportunity to steal mindshare, make important announcements and get some real traction in the media. Then, with all the hard work done before the show, companies can concentrate on their business objectives of meeting with customers, and driving sales at MWC. Don’t rule out meeting press and analysts at the show, it’s still valuable, particularly if you have the opportunity to meet influencers key to your sector, those that you don’t usually get the chance to meet. Here at Babel we ensure our clients make the most of face-to-face opportunities that may only come around once a year.
So what does MWC prep look like, what can you do to make the most of the time from now….?
If an MWC plan is not ‘the first thing/And the last thing’ on your mind right now, fear not; use November to kick-start the process and work with an agency to formulate a plan. We’ve been keeping an eye on developments in the industry and trying to predict what the major themes and trends of MWC 2017 will be. These themes serve as strands for aligning your company’s messaging, and providing points of reference for content creation. IoT will once again dominate the show, as will 5G and NFV, but VR and AR will also be prevalent themes. We saw evidence of VR creeping into this year’s event but expect it to really take hold next year.
More of the same! Use this time to streamline your focus on content development, thought leadership, and creativity, to ensure your brand becomes synonymous with a specific technology, sector or market trend. December can also be used to for preliminary outreach activity, contacting key influencers such as analysts.
Create a runway into MWC to drive awareness and build momentum. Focus on getting all announcements, coverage and media traction in the weeks before the show, because when you’re in Barcelona the focus will shift, and remain, on major brands. Have conversations with press before the show – you’ll miss out if you wait until MWC, and you’ll also miss out on valuable opportunities to meet with current and potential customers; appointments which should comprise your MWC diary.
Three final actions: Coordinate a big hit early in the month, targeting tier one, business, consumer or trade press. Drive thought leadership and awareness and channel announcements around the imminent MWC trends. Finalise your diary.
Working closely with our clients, we’re already planning for MWC 2017. While months away, we’re at a critical point to shape strategy and make sure our clients secure the most visibility and are able to make the most noise both in the run-up to and during, the show. Don’t forget the importance of pre-planning: as Roisin Murphy probably never sang in relation to MWC: ‘Give yourself unto the moment/The time is now’.
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