How to Maximize Your Time at MWC ‘23
by Peggy Tierney Galvin, Force4 Technology Communications
Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2023 is officially two weeks out. It’s the world’s largest gathering of everyone and everything related to connectivity. This year, 80,000 people are expected to attend the trade show in Barcelona and 2,000 companies will exhibit. Some of the key MWC 2023 topics mentioned by multiple companies, as reported by industry magazine Light Reading, are sustainability and energy savings, private networks, automation and cloud.
Whether you’re a first-time attendee or a tradeshow veteran, it’s important to keep ROI in mind for any event you attend. Here’s how to maximize your time and opportunities at MWC ’23.
ROI is more important than ever. With tech investors, boards and executive leadership reining in spending, marketing expenditures like MWC attendance are receiving closer scrutiny.
For marketing leaders, you must prepare to show how MWC attendance is tied to measurable lead generation results. To deliver successful ROI, work out what you want to accomplish in advance of the event and have a game plan for execution.
The show is massive – one of the biggest in the world. Due to its size and the diverse, diffuse nature of the show, MWC is not a “scan badges at the booth” event for the sales team as a “top of the sales funnel” prospecting effort. It is, however, an excellent event for high-touch, relationship-building meetings for customers, partners and prospects that are in a more mature position in the funnel, and with press and analysts onsite. That means you have to lock in meeting availability with your VIPs early.
While at the show
Ask lots of questions of anyone you connect with at the show, including foot traffic at the booth. It’s tempting to launch right into your pitch but look at the conversation as an opportunity to learn about their needs, what they’re seeing at the show, what is standing out to them in the hustle and bustle. These anecdotes will help you understand the “care abouts” of those in your ecosystem. They can be used for planning, prospecting, content development and competitive differentiation, or even for letting you tailor what parts of your solution might be most impactful to them in your conversation.
Then, ask for their business card and use it to write down some keywords to help you remember the conversation and what was interesting or important to them. For your part, bring more business cards than you think you need!
Also bring snacks and water for the long days and long walks through the sizeable venue. My tried-and-trues are Trader Joe’s “Just a Handful of Raw Almonds” and Emergen-C packets in a big, reusable water bottle.
Force4’s CEO, Cara Sloman, is a veteran trade show attendee, and she shared some additional insight:
- Remember to do a quick self-check before interacting with others. How you look has a decisive influence on visitors.
- Tailor the message. Find your customer’s or prospect’s pain point. Be specific to their needs; figuring this out rather than speaking in generalities is one of the quickest ways to make a positive and lasting impression.
- Be specific. When talking about your company, use specific information with examples and anecdotes that will create more interest and leave the right impression – one that will stick.
Interacting with media and analysts
Meetings at a show like MWC are all about relationship building. Share your top talking points, a good quote, and email them the deck and the press release afterwards. It’s probably not the best time for a super in-depth demo of the solution, given the noise of the show and the fact that you will probably only have 15 or 20 minutes with them.
Offer to schedule a deep dive on a video call later if they want further details. Share your observations and impressions of the show and ask them the same thing – what’s stood out the most to them. Remember that they, like you, are there to enjoy the show and learn something new. Use this common factor to your advantage to expand your in-person relationship.
This is a great tip from an analyst friend: if you’re meeting onsite with an analyst or a journalist, bring them a sandwich. Oftentimes they’re stashed in a little out-of-the-way meeting room in back-to-back briefings and haven’t had time to get lunch. They will be eternally grateful!
Interacting with partners/prospects/customers
No surprise here – these interactions are also about relationship building. Find common areas of interest and remember them. People like to do business with people they like, and if you remember their children’s names or their favorite hobby, that gives you the opportunity of relating to them as the whole person.
Try to meet offsite if possible – a lunch or dinner at a nice restaurant or a whisper suite at a hotel (that your team prudently booked several months ago for this exact reason). Write down any additional specifics they share with you to address and follow up on later – folks can be more forthcoming in person than they are over email or Zoom, and you want to honor that.
ROI is top of mind for you and everyone at your company, so stick to your plan. Every meeting should be about moving the ball down the field of play with that individual. Look at your plan before, during and after the show so you can report on your results and next steps to your manager/CEO and to the board. Be fastidious in follow-up. Tie each step back to the plan and your effort at the show to demonstrate why the show was instrumental in being able to move forward with each meeting you had.