Planning to attend the upcoming Mobile World Congress in Barcelona? It’s the world’s biggest industry event in mobile, wireless and IoT, and more than 2,200 companies will be showing off their wares, vying to attract the attention of more than 3,600 media and analysts and 100,000 attendees crowding the halls.
An event of this size deserves a prime spot on your marketing calendar, for sure. But keep in mind that while MWC might be a high point of your marketing plan, it shouldn’t be your entire focus for the year. Kick-start your year with a Q1 bang at MWC, but don’t overload your annual marketing circuit with only MWC, or you may not get the results you need for the year.
Of course you plan—a lot!—for MWC, but instead of focusing on any one event (no matter how much potential buzz you could receive), view it as a part of your overall annual strategy. Ask yourself: How does MWC fit into this year’s marketing plan? If it is not as good as expected this year for whatever reason, what other activities do I have planned that will also help drive the results I need?
Here are a few of our recommendations for incorporating MWC into your annual plan:
- Determine what setting MWC should serve. How many of your target customers do you expect to attend? What should your role be (exhibitor, speaker, attendee)? For many companies, it’s important to recognize that, although you don’t have the budget to be a headliner, having a presence at MWC is important for recognition within your market. Some companies simply have a presence so they can talk with their partners. Others absolutely need to drive leads from passing attendees. Make sure your strategy and approaches sets you up for your desired outcome.
- Have something newsworthy to talk about. Any new products or significant upgrades in the pipeline? Any customer or partnership announcements? Or, will your company have a presence and demonstrate to your market that you’re active, building awareness and meeting with customers and prospects? While you do not have to have something earth-shattering to announce, the media and analysts covering the event are going to want to hear what’s “new” with your company. Your PR firm should be able to help you with a “no news” strategy if your announcements fall flat.
- Consider announcements before the show. Plan to do a pre-show announcement to get coverage in the "what to expect at MWC"-type articles. If you have big news to share, broadcast it before you arrive in Barcelona! Post to your blog and send out your press release. Share links to your news with your connections via social media (with hashtags) and your e-newsletter to spark interest in connecting further at the conference. By announcing before the event, you’ll drive more traffic at the show.
- Put your best face forward at the show. It’s the face-to-face interactions with media and analysts, current customers, and potential new customers that go the furthest in building trust. Plan to have executives take some time away from closed-door meetings and get them out talking to media, analysts and even customers and partners. A little face time goes a long way!
- After the show, continue the momentum. Make sure to follow up via email after the show with any materials promised and to say thank you to all of your visitors. Continue the conversation and have a few announcements planned in the weeks and months that follow the show to capitalize on the attention you’ve already received. Some analysts like quarterly or twice-yearly briefings, especially in fast-moving industries, so reach out where appropriate.
- Plan bumps throughout the year. Out of sight is out of mind. Look holistically across your business for an entire year, and leverage other appropriate events. What can you be looking at for another bump of activity in early summer, fall and end of year to get attention? It could be something as simple as a webinar, cool infographic or white paper, or even a combination of all three. Be creative by repurposing assets you already have into something new, and your budget will thank you!
Clients who question the value of annual marketing plans argue that activities are just going to change, so why bother creating a 12-month plan? Our argument back: Yes, of course plans must be adjusted in response to market shifts. But an event like Mobile World Congress is best taken in context of an overall plan – don’t miss the beauty of the entire forest because you spent all your time staring at the biggest, prettiest tree. What are your company’s business goals for the year? Next three years? Next five years? An annual plan ensures that all of the marketing strategies you invest in—including MWC—map directly to overall business goals. An annual plan ensures that you’re setting up your company so that results match the potential. Activities may change, but any new ones that come on board must map back to that broader strategy.
Stuck on getting your annual plan off the ground? If you need some help getting started, Calysto has a series of annual planning resources, including an annual plan checklist and annual planning white paper.
For more ideas on how to build your annual marketing plan, contact Calysto.