It’s summer, and while your marketing team may be working on autopilot, with nothing but beach vacations and plans of soaking up the sun on their minds, it’s time for a much-needed reality check. When it comes to preparing for a major trade show, the mistake many companies make is to wait until a month or two before the show to start formulating a plan. Unfortunately, by this time, it’s often too late to ensure that your organization can make a real impact. So, if you plan to attend Mobile World Congress Americas this Fall, put down the piña coladas and start thinking about these five things right now:
- What are your goals for MWCA? Before doing anything else, establish what needs to happen at the show for it to be considered a success. This may be different for every organization and can include number of demonstrations given, number of badges scanned at your booth, number of qualified leads, number of partner meetings, volume of media and analyst coverage, or even social media volume that’s buzzing about your announcements. You may decide to make an announcement before the show to schedule more demonstrations or meetings at the show itself. Decide what your goals are and then build your plan to achieve them. Social media should be a big part of your planning, and it’s actually the one piece of marketing that you can literally change on the fly to meet competitive threats (ask us how!).
- What is your big announcement? What will you announce at or before the show? You need to have a story to be part of the buzz. Examples include announcing a new:
- company strategy
- expansion into a new geographic region (preferably with a customer)
- leadership position in a specific market
- executive or board member
- Who will be attending? If your CEO will be at MWC Americas, you’ll likely have a different plan than if you’re sending product managers. Establish up front who will be the face of the company onsite and build your plan around those individuals. Also, be sure to book hotel rooms and make dinner reservations now—they can always be adjusted later. You don’t want to wait until all the hot spots are sold out and your team is left sleeping at 3-star motels and waiting two hours for a table.
- Will you have a booth at the show? If yes, now is the time to start planning your space. If not, it’s time to determine how you can get exposure without a booth. Think big, then scale as needed to meet your budget. Consider adding a video element to your booth while attendees wait for a salesperson to become available. It can also be used on your website after the show, maximizing your return on investment.
- What other opportunities will you have to be seen and heard? Exhibiting isn’t the only game in town – sponsorships, show daily advertising, giveaways, paid speaking opportunities and participating in association activities can all help boost your presence at the show. Now is the time to consider ads and sponsorships, and RSVP to attend special events. It’s a little early to request media and analyst briefings, but if you have calls with media and analysts scheduled for the summer, be sure to mention you’ll be at the show and will have news coming.
At Calysto, we started talking to our clients in April regarding what they want to announce in September. This ensures that they will be ready to go – from a marketing perspective – by the time Mobile World Congress Americas rolls around. With 30,000 people expected to take over MWCA and the city of San Francisco for this inaugural event, companies looking to rise above the noise will have to strategically prepare well in advance to make a splash.