Sunday, February 17, 2008

Mind the Gap at Trade Shows

Strategic Communications Group (Strategic) has a long-standing relationship with Karen Miller (*51_false_*2_1854). First as a client and now as a colleague who works with Strategic providing counsel and tactical PR execution on behalf of several of our clients.

Karen recently attended the Mobile World Congress and I asked her to share some thoughts and perspective upon her return. Here's what she wrote:

What’s the buzz? What’s hot? Those are questions you’re likely to hear at a trade show.

At the recent Mobile World Congress 08 held February 11-14 in Barcelona, the phrase thrown around by keynote speakers, vendors, reporters and analysts was LTE, or Long Term Evolution. It’s the move toward fourth generation, all-IP networks that provide 100 mb to the mobile device*.

But, a comment from a UK-based financial analyst who asked to remain anonymous provides some insight into how much emphasis a vendor should put on future-looking concepts when promoting their products and services at trade shows.

“I’m frustrated by the number of delusional vendors talking about LTE when they haven’t proven to me that they have solutions that meet the needs of 2008,” the analyst said.

By nature, technology reporters and analysts are interested in where the industry is headed. It’s a great ongoing story and a demonstration of thought leadership. Yet, the real opportunity lies in providing insights for interviewers (and ultimately their readers) about how to traverse the gap between now and buzz topic du jour.

By realistically evaluating the pros and cons of the what’s hot at the trade show – versus tying messaging to it – a vendor can better position how their product or service fits in the evolution of the industry. It can also serve as a bridge back to discussing the main messaging points a vendor wants to cover about its business.

*Endorsed by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (, LTE is a progression of GSM's UMTS platform. The CDMA Development Group offers a competing UMB standard.

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