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6 reasons why nobody wants to meet you at MWC

Posted by Darren Willsher on 15th January 2014

With CES out of the way, the attention of the tech industry and press can move onto the next big show; MWC.

For those who have never had the pleasure, Mobile World Congress is the biggest show in the telecom industry and will see all of the big names in mobile (minus Apple, obviously) arrive in Barcelona to show off and launch their latest products. Although it’s technically a B2B show, expect to see lots of new devices being launched and, if last year was anything to go by, companies from outside the mobile space making announcements as well. Keeping tabs on this will be thousands of press visitors from around the world.

Not surprisingly, there will therefore be tens of thousands of exhibitors all after their five minutes of fame and all who think that their products and stories deserve media attention. Most of them will be very, very wrong about this. Here’s why;

1) The story or product really isn’t that impressive

Yes the developers or engineers may have been sweating blood and tears for the last 12 months to get this to market, and yes it might be the biggest product for the company to date – but why does it matter in the grand scheme of things? You’re competing for noise alongside massive operators, device manufacturers and a whole lot more besides, so you need to find the bigger picture story before the product becomes interesting. What impact will it have for the average mobile user? Or what new applications might it enable?

2) You’re saying the same as everyone else

Do some research and find a unique angle, or at least one that isn’t on every other stand at the show. For a show about mobile innovation, it’s surprising just how similar a lot of the big key messages seem to be. Your story needs to really stand out so make it clear – talking about solutions doesn’t mean anything, so what’s the benefit to operators or customers?

3) The CEO is not ‘kind of a big deal’

While it might be rare for the CEO to make time for PR, at a show filled with senior execs it’s just not that exciting for the media to get an invite to meet the CEO. Instead, what can they tell the press? What insight can they give or what trends are they seeing? A job title doesn’t necessarily make an invite appealing, it’s what that person can offer.

4) Nothing on the stand looks good on video

With back to back meetings every day, it would be impossible for the media to write something up for every single meeting they go to – so instead many are now filming short interviews or pieces to camera as a way of maximising their time and bringing the show to life for readers. This of course requires both confident spokespeople and demos that look good on camera. If the stand is full of boxes and detailed technical brochures then why would anyone film that?

Your stand at MWC

5) Trying to punch well above your weight

MWC attracts a massive range of media and analyst types, from electronics experts to gadget media and financial press. So get clever with the invite list. Do you really have a story for the FT? Really? MWC is a great opportunity to meet people who you might not normally get chance to – so personalise your invites – the new product might have some genuinely excellent new potential applications that would get the gadget media interested – so don’t send them the same invite as the specialist electronics media who want to know exactly how it works.

6) The show is just too busy

Even if you’ve got a half-decent story, so have hundreds of other companies. If you’re competing for time then you need to wheel out something special – the sort of offer that might result in a meeting on any other day of the year isn’t going to cut it at MWC.

We’ve learnt a lot through helping plenty of companies through MWC over the years and, as the show has grown, it’s got harder to stand out. If your pitch or story can’t justify itself against these six points then is it really going to secure you a packed schedule of meetings?

While some of these might seem a little negative, if you’ve got the right story with a well crafted and well targeted invite, MWC can be one of the most successful events of the year – keep an eye out for our next blog which will look at what makes a good pitch and invite.

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Darren Willsher

Darren has been with Wildfire for six years and is one of the driving forces behind the agency’s telecoms and networking portfolio, with experience working on a range of international, multi-channel accounts including CSR, Picochip (now Mindspeed), Real Wireless, The Small Cell Forum, Samsung and Allied Telesis.