In 2015, Mobile World Congress attracted more than 94,000 attendees and 2,199 exhibitors. That’s a lot of tapas and a lot of industry noise concentrated in Barcelona for one exciting week of mobile madness.
The 2016 show is quickly approaching and February 22 will be here before you know it, so how can a company cut through all the noise? And for those of you who have procrastinated or added the conference to your agenda late in the game, what can possibly be done in these final weeks to maximize exposure in a short amount of time?
Unless your marketing department is growing a money tree, you are Father Time or you’ve developed the next breakthrough technology of the coming decade, don’t even think of releasing any news at the show thinking that will be your big ticket to visibility at the event. The reality around Mobile World Congress is that the big brands tend to dominate media coverage. Data from one of our nifty tools (ITDatabase) shows that Samsung topped the top 10 list in terms of volume last year followed by Apple, HTC, Qualcomm, Google, LG, Microsoft, Sony, Huawei and AT&T.
But that doesn’t mean Mobile World Congress can’t be a huge success for your company from a sales, marketing or PR perspective. Even if you’re a smaller IoT player, have no news or you’re not exhibiting in the Internet of Things Pavillion (or at all), there is one strategy that can pay off at this type of event.
Network like a champ.
Here are a few strategies for doing just that:
- Do Your Upfront Research: To network with the right influencers, you need to know who they are - well before you head to the show. Aside from getting your hands on the official show list, do your research to know how to determine who to engage and how to prioritize your contacts (are IoT influencers like Stacey Higginbotham on your list?). This doesn’t just go for driving outreach around Mobile World Congress, but for your overall marketing/PR strategy. Use tools such as Little Bird, Keyhole, Kred, Twellow, Follower Wonk, Traackr, BrandWatch and others (we here at Merritt Group love platforms like Buzzsumo and Tracx) to find the right influencers, rank who’s authoring the most viral content or share how you can connect with the right people onsite.
- Party like it’s 1999: I’m not going to reinvent the wheel here, so I’ll share that Barcinno has put out their annual “The 2016 Mobile World Congress Parties and Events Guide,” which provides a nice round-up of places to network and “be seen.” For example, while IoT Stars is a startup pitching event, it can also be a good place to mingle with C-level industry leaders, entrepreneurs, designers, developers, investors, press and media working in the IoT ecosystem.
- Smell the Roses in the Networking Gardens: Aside from the VIP Networking Lounge, Mobile World Congress organizers have set up 11 Networking Gardens at Fira Gran Via. These spaces are ideal for when things get too hectic on the show floor or you just want to find a relaxed spot to hold a more personal one-on-one conversation.
- Never Dine Alone: Breaking bread together is a great way to grow a budding relationship - whether it’s landing a sale with a key customer, securing funding from a VC or sharing what’s on your mind with a reporter or analyst. Looking for a few ideas on where to grub? Check out TripAdvisor’s top restaurants and bars in Barcelona. You also never know who you’ll run into while you’re there, so keep your eyes open for other contacts that might be on your hot list.
- Draft off Partners and Other Friendlies: If you don’t have all the connections yourself, find someone who does. Business partners can offer great opportunities to network in-booth or at events that you might not necessarily have had the budget or resources to invest in yourself. Just don’t forget to pay the favor back down the road.
- Let people know where to find you: This sounds like a no-brainer, but help people find you. Use the power of social media to connect directly with your influencers and share with others where they can find your team of experts at the show. Don’t forget to use the official event hashtag #MWC16.
Looking to keep the momentum going post-Mobile World Congress? Check out our eBook “7 Marketing Strategies for Cutting Through the IoT Noise.”