Six years ago, when I went to my first CTIA Wireless show, the competition for attention was so fierce that those of us introducing products and services needed to decide whether to pre-announce or to spend freely at the event.
At that conference in 2006, when I was with InfoSpace, we lured media and other CTIA attendees to our booth with performances by skateboard legend Tony Hawk. And, even then, we fought hard to get noticed.
By contrast, in the vibrant city of New Orleans, this week’s CTIA show was notable because of the silence.
So, what changed?
For one thing, the race to get mobile offerings into the marketplace is not run on CTIA’s timeline.
The wireless association moved back its spring show about a month to get distance from the Consumer Electronics Show in January – which has more of a mobile focus every year – as well as the global GSMA conference in Barcelona in February. That strategy did not lead to high-profile product launches in New Orleans. Frankly, there were not many – or even any – low-profile launches worth mentioning.
Plus, some of the key players in mobile do not launch hardware or software at the mass conferences – Apple, for one, has its own events and never exhibits with the rest of the ecosystem.
Some of the largest companies did not bring their booths to New Orleans – Samsung, Microsoft and Research In Motion were among those absent, undoubtedly because they are between launch cycles.
What did get done at the Ernest S. Morial Convention Center?
Lots of business development conversations were conducted. Surely, M&A talks were held as well given the increased interest in mobile, especially at scale. There certainly is value there and CTIA should be commended for bringing the people to one place to talk.
I did not meet one brand marketer. Honestly, there was little to see and hear when it came to case studies and real-world lessons.
I am often asked by marketers to identify the top shows to attend.
Mobile Marketer and its sister publication, Mobile Commerce Daily, frequently conduct events – Mobile FirstLook in January, Mcommerce Summit in May: State of Mobile Commerce and Mobile Marketing Summit: Holiday Focus in September – that feature rich case studies and top-notch marketers. Mostly brands, retailers, agencies, financial institutions and publishers attend.
Next month, the Mobile Marketing Association holds its Mobile Marketing Forum in New York. About 1,000 are expected with the group mostly made up of brands, agencies and mobile service providers. There are other worthwhile shows for marketers coming up in the summer and fall.
In New Orleans, there was talk of spectrum, security and the connected home, among other subjects. The topics were not new and neither were the comments.
“Wireless service is part of the social fabric of nearly everyone in the country,” is what we heard from the CEO of a major carrier.
Got it. That made neither noise nor news.
(post first appeared on Mobile Marketer)