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Should MVNOs Attend Trade Shows?

Should MVNOS Attend Trade Shows?
Should MVNOS Attend Trade Shows?

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It’s that time of year again.  Looking at the calendar, it’s almost Trade Show season.  Trade Shows come along at this time every year like taxes and the Academy Awards (but without any slapping).  Sorry…….. too soon?

Everyone in our business has most likely been to a trade show for our wireless industry.  I know that I’ve spent many years working a booth at CES, the old CTIA, and many other industry-specific shows, standing on quarter-inch-thick carpeting over concrete, waiting for the union guys to deliver our booth contents, and eating $6.00 hotdogs during a 10-minute break.  To be honest, it’s a lot more fun walking the show, seeing old and new acquaintances, and speaking to the folks on the other side of the tables.

That being said, should you, our MVNOs, attend these shows?  

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Just What is a Trade Show?

Let’s start at the beginning. A trade show is a kind of exhibition where different companies from the same industry display and demonstrate their products and services. These are organized for the members of companies, professional related to that particular field, and press people. Usually, the general public is not allowed to enter into the trade show. (www.marketbusinessnews.com)  

Whether it’s in Las Vegas, Orlando, Miami, New York or dozens of other cities, Trade Shows give the members of an industry the opportunity to hear their business leaders give keynote speeches and speak on panels.  To see and touch new products and services and to meet with other company employees and vendors.  The big shows also usually offer top-notch entertainment and when in Las Vegas (oh yeah, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas!).

But with most dealers and MVNOs paying for airfare and the three to four days of hotels and meals out of their own pocket, many question the value of attending.  Small shop operators find it difficult to leave their business for more than a day or two.  However, sometimes the best keys to your success are found at these type of shows where networking is in full throttle mode.  Looking for a new career or consulting gig, meeting the senior management of one of your vendors and speaking with leaders from the carriers are all things that take place here.  Is it worth the monetary outlay to have one of these connections face to face?

What Are the Experts Saying?

I reached out to some old friends that are putting on some of these events for the wireless industry.  A link to their upcoming shows is at the end of this article for more information or to register (Atrium Unlimited Consulting and BestMVNO are not compensated for mentioning any of these events).

Brian Ahern, one of the Directors of the Repairs First Association (RFA), tells me they are promoting the Gadget Repair Expo at the College Football Hall of Fame in Georgia from April 5-7.  Brian states that “anyone who is currently doing repairs or thinking about getting into the repair side of the house should definitely attend a conference like ours.  We have programs structured for wireless dealers of all sizes as well as their master dealer or MVNO that will lead to additional revenue streams.  Those who are new to the repair space can get detailed training through the RFA’s affiliate partners and be certified to do repairs on most handsets and other products.”

“As an MVNO, your presence at trade shows is crucial to your business,” says Robin Tobias, President, All Wireless & Prepaid Expo.  “Exhibiting is truly the best way to maximize growth and brand awareness, as every attendee walking the floor is a potential new customer.  This rings particularly true when many of your competitors are on the floor with a booth.  However, if exhibiting is not within your budget, attending is the next best thing.  Aside from the obvious reason of finding new revenue streams, your attendance demonstrates support of the industry, and your customers.  Trade shows are the most effective way to not only find new clients, but also visit with your currents.  Face to face meetings exhibit goodwill and facilitate a sense of partnership, and a trade show is an economical alternative to traveling the country."  Robin’s show, The All Wireless and Prepaid Expo will take place August 17-18th this year in Las Vegas.

 

Bob Lafon, Chief Revenue Office at HCG Holdings told me that his brand new event, Mobile Disrupt is "the conference for the rest of us."It’s perfect for MVNOs and Dealers because unlike the others that cater primarily to the carriers, OEM'S and big insurance companies, we seek to serve the secondary phone market, MDM, TEM, EMM, WEM, Channel Partners, IoT for mobile, and those wishing to partner with such companies."  Look for this event May 25-26th at the Hotel Bellagio in Las Vegas.

Adam Wolf, President of the National Wireless Independent Dealer Association (NWIDA) states that “more MVNOs should attend industry trade shows and events, especially if they are looking to distribution for their products or services.  Nothing beats in-person meetings and networking.  In addition, it’s a great way for them to explain their differentiators to a captive audience.”

 

Finally, our good friend Harjot Saluja, CEO of Reach Mobile let me know that "with the right show, I do think it's important to stay updated on trends in CX. It’s all part of anticipating what MVNOs need to stay competitive. Plus, these conferences offer exposure to finding tech solutions with additional features, flexibility, and innovations outside of their current systems. MVNOs can leverage technology that’s as good or better than what the carriers use. These innovations can fuel more growth and differentiation in a very crowded market."  

If you can’t wait to get more of Harjot, he will b speaking at the next World Mobile Congress in Berlin on June 8-9th.

The Results Are In!

Yes, the results are in and the winner is…… YOU, if you put in the time and resources to attend any of the trade shows and events put on by our friends and partners.

Our experts are unanimous, Trade Shows have value for both Dealers and MVNOs alike.  

For these reasons and many more, I would strongly suggest that you find a way to attend these great events.  I do know that some of our MVNOs, Carriers and platform providers attended the recent Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, and will be at the upcoming event in Berlin, Germany.  This isn’t saying that all of you should be attending these international shows, I’m just letting you know what is out there.

For more information, please click on one of the links below.

Happy April and the beginning of the 2nd Quarter.  Hopefully, you achieved all of your 1st quarter goals.  If not, drop us a line at [email protected], and let’s see if we can help increase your business!

See You on The Convention Floor!

Good Selling,

Jon



Jon Horovitz has been in the wireless industry as a senior executive for 31+ years. He headed up sales and operations in leadership roles for McCaw Communications, AT&T Wireless, Nextel, Boost Mobile, and Sprint. He has owned an MVNO as well as assisted in the start-up of three others. His consulting company, Atrium Unlimited, LLC advises carriers, MVNOs, investment bankers, and venture capitalists interested in joining the wireless space. Jon would love to hear from you about any consultative needs you may have. Please visit https://AtriumUnlimited.com



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