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Small Vendor, Big Voice - How can niche players increase their visibility at Mobile World Congress 2012?

Mobile World Congress (MWC) is a one of the largest events in the telecoms industry calendar, attended by more than 60,000 people from around the...

Mobile World Congress (MWC) is a one of the largest events in the telecoms industry calendar, attended by more than 60,000 people from around the world. This year, the show aims to examine the current state of mobile and offer a glimpse into where the market has the potential to go next.
With over 1,400 exhibitors, like any show of this magnitude, much of the event is dominated by global players in the industry.  However, with such an influential audience to address, it’s vital to ensure companies attending make the most of every marketing opportunity. With this in mind, here are our top five tips for both small and larger vendors, looking to make sure they stand out from the crowd and use their marketing resources most effectively.

1. Be selective, take a targeted approach

It’s vital to cherry pick the right opportunity and then set clear goals around which you can judge your own success.

If you’re exhibiting, pick your area carefully. MWC boasts over 63,000 square metres of exhibition space across eight exhibition halls. For example, Hall 1 serves as one of the major stopping points and thoroughfares for attendees touring the exhibition. Therefore, if you simple want to drive maximum exposure over the four days, book a slot there. Conversely, if you are in the fast-moving apps business, Hall 7 is a unique area focusing on the latest technology in this space, with more than 200 app-specific exhibitors.

On the media side, generating noise around a specific announcement requires some careful planning ahead of the show. Media briefings can be arranged for smaller vendors but don't try and compete with hundreds of companies on the same day. Look to see if major announcements can be made prior to show, which will also help attract people to your stand. A pre-show media tour one or two weeks prior to the event, with news under embargo can be most effective.

Also, content marketing is a vital part of engaging with your customer base at and beyond the show. Think about creating and sharing richer content, such as a microsite, podcast or video series, to drive further engagement with you audience.

2. Be digital, social media is a must

Using traditional media channels alone no longer cuts the mustard so breaking through the noise on social media is critical at these types of shows. Think about using all the channels available to raise awareness of your story – be it Twitter, Facebook or a company blog.

Remember, it is vital not to become fixated about your announcement. For example only using Twitter to spread product information across the week. To make the most out of microblogging applications, pay attention to what is going on and react to other news as it breaks on the floor. It may well be that a bigger player has an announcement that grabs the attention of all show participants, including crucial audiences media and potential customers. If this likely scenario occurs, aim to provide a viewpoint on the news via twitter and engage on the topic being discussed.

3. Be real , power to your people

Following the furore at the Consumer Electronics Show where a number of companies hired scantily-clad "booth babes" to promote their stalls, think beyond using promotional staff. These days, a great demonstration, together with enthusiastic sales pitch from people within your business will do more to attract the attendees. 

Try and create exciting demos that people haven't seen before. Also, get your colleagues to think of your elevator pitch and try to create a picture in the delegates mind in a more colourful way. People connect with stories, so telling them a story about the product will always be more interesting than reading a sales pitch directly from a script.

4. Be bold, say something different

Just because your messages will be targeted to a relevant audience, it doesn’t mean they will respond to what is being said, particularly with so many other technology companies saying the same thing. To maximise response rates, it is vital that smaller vendors include a solution to a relevant problem that their product solve, not just go with the flow.

For example, a mobile advertising vendor could be trying to convince an operator that this is the year that mobile advertising takes off. With so many barriers such as limited ad space due to hardware restriction and intrusion on the users browsing experience, many vendors in this space could be forgiven for altering the message that they wish to communicate. Fortunately, for the mobile ad players, it is no longer all about the restricted screen size of the phone, the rise of tablet devices provide a much greater opportunity for mobile advertising vendors to display their technology. As well as bring to life the messages that they wish to convey. For a mobile advertising vendor, displaying their product over tablets at this year’s show could be the way forward.

5.  Be focused, don’t get distracted away from sales opportunities

Whilst it is important to accommodate as many of your target influencers as possible during MWC, it is also a great opportunity to generate new business leads and cultivate existing customer relationships. Be proactive and go and see prospects - don't just rely on the build it and they will come approach as there is so much going on at the show.

When it comes to setting up meetings, PR and analyst briefings are important but don’t let them be prioritised over direct sales opportunities as this may be a once in year experience! The best approach is for spokespeople to dedicate a few specific chunks of time for any PR activity and then, given the media and analysts have fluid and often unpredictable schedules at MWC anyway, the PR contact can arrange briefings around these specific times. This avoids any last minute opportunities that can interrupt that critical customer meeting.