Our blog

TMW and MWC: Same Industry, Different Experience

For many, MWC remains an excellent (and fun, but that’s honestly not why we go…) experience and it’s still possible to capture attention there – but you have to work awfully hard to do so. The needles can be found, but it takes a lot of effort.

If you are a small company, it’s a great opportunity to meet with existing customers and partners who will almost certainly be attending too. However, it’s increasingly difficult to meet new prospects unless you execute extremely targeted campaigns beforehand to schedule such meetings. Indeed, unless you start planning for it in Q4 of the previous year, it may be hard to capture attention and to secure the required return on investment. In our opinion, if meeting new prospects is your goal, it’s getting harder and harder to find them at MWC.

For some, it’s not a hunting ground at all – but rather a place to consolidate relationships, meet existing customers and partners and plan for the coming year. It can represent a kind of general catch-up, facilitated by the fact that so many people are gathered in one place: the ROI is the ability to hold 20 or so meetings in one place without the additional expense of travelling separately to 20 countries. Of course, the system of country pavilions can be a great help – our experience of the Norwegian, Irish and Spanish pavilions has been one of consistent excellence, assistance and support but if you are a small or emerging company with a large marketing budget, it can be hard to ensure that you obtain the right ROI.

Together with a number of our customers, we will be there again in 2014 - but we also think that companies shouldn’t underestimate the effort involved in making the most of the show. Unless you can build a strong set of pre-booked meetings, it may not be the right choice for some, even if your focus is exclusively on mobile networks. At least one of our customers is rethinking their whole approach to the event and considering other ways to make an impact.

On the other hand, TMW is more how MWC used to be in the days when it was the plain old GSM and held in Cannes. The location is similar too. And that makes a difference. It’s large enough to have a good representation of companies and delegates, but small enough that you can meet everyone during the event.

Of course, the major difference is that TMW is dedicated to a much smaller niche, albeit a very important one. Its ecosystem is smaller – but more focused. Some vendors go to both events, like us. Others opt only for TMW. There are other events that offer a similar focus – Broadband World Forum, for one – and of course hundreds of smaller conferences and seminars each year. There’s a balance to be found in going to an event with the right focus and the right size. For some, MWC is just too large these days, too dominated by the leading industry players. For others, this is what they want – to be seen at the heart of the ecosystem alongside the biggest.

But for others still, events like the TMW, BBWF and so on can be more effective. They can generate the right level of exposure for an appropriate level of investment and yield more possibilities to meet new prospects. In the end, it's a question of balance. MWC can be the safe option and represent low perceived risk. But, that needs to be considered against opportunities that maybe found elsewhere. Every company has a limited budget. When planning for next year, maybe it’s time to consider other opportunities for increasing your exposure?