I'm in London for one more day and then I'm off to Barcelona for Mobile World Congress.
I'm going with mixed emotions as the reaction I've been getting and receiveing from Analysts, Bloggers and Press is that the turnout will be very light as they simply can't travel that far from the USA.
What does that mean and what should be done?
1. Companies exhibiting will have more time to sell to the potential customer base.
2. The importance of services like quality broadband on site to hold virtual conference calls via services like Calliflower and High Def Conferencing becomes paramount to get the story out. Companies with announcements should use those services to provide first party Q&A to those who didn't make the trip. Of the two here are the differences:
Calliflower provides a richer, more "being there" approach with file sharing, moderation, chat board.
HighDef provides a higher quality audio experience and is Skype accessible.
3. Media not attending should not take the position "we need to know when it's announced there too." Let's face it, those that traveled paid the price (or their publications did) so it's time to remember that the guys and gals in the press room, who attend the press conference should get the news first, not someone who sat home just waiting.
Remember, they are "news reporters" and news happens someplace live. For the publications that want the story who aren't in Barcelona, find a stringer, track down a blogger whose at the event, get someone to "cover" for you. I'm encouraging my clients to use the technology that's available to not leave anyone out, while still making the in person media person, blogger and analyst feel more special.
4. CTIA has become important again. Companies who don't find any North American carriers to talk to, especially the regional ones, will find they have to spend money again to reach them in the USA and for the USA based regional carriers and media, this means going to CTIA has just become more important.
5. Events like Mobile Sunday, Showstoppers and PepCom's Mobile Focus are important to attend. Those are the events where the "what's new" and who needs to be found can be seen. Each pof those events rovides their niche of followers.
Mobile Sunday will be more social networking and more early round companies.
Showstoppers and Mobile Focus slug it out for the bigger more established brands, with Mobile Focus usually seeing more of the handset brands that are household names, while ShowStoppers gets more of the apps, accessories and services (or has where they've gone head to head before). All have their pluses, but with a down sized group of media, those in town should find a way to attend all three.
6. Rooms can still be found in Barcelona. While many of the top hotels seem to be booked up, my guess is if you arrive Monday after 6 PM you'll find many cancellations but Tuesday will be the day the bargains start to fly. Suggestion. Arrive Tuesday (attend client Truphone's Press Conference) and take advantage of what should be better room rates.
7. Trade shows and conferences are far from dead.
What I saw at CES and IT Expo, as well as Mac World were companies doing business. Sure the arm-charms and bag carriers weren't in tow like at events from days gone bye, but the people who did attend, and whom did cover the events were getting more business done, with more real customers who didn't have to wait in line behind the "tire kickers."
What Jeff Pulver reported about his Social Communications confab support this theory. People who want to keep being a part of things will be at the events. But, all of that said, we need to also be cognizant that everyone can't be everywhere and still remember to take care of those not at the events.