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Whereas in the past, the Mobile World Congress tradeshow was almost completely dominated by technologically advanced and exciting gadgets, the tides are turning. The most recent iteration thus featured a lot of new faces, from related industries, in addition to Samsung releasing its latest Galaxy devices. Their presence suggests five major trends that marketers cannot afford to ignore.

  1. Wireless carriers are becoming content and service providers. Deutsche Telecom will support an Airbnb app. The U.K.’s largest carrier Vodafone is about to start offering television services. AT&T is working on a plan to link connected homes to connected cars. And those are just the deals and plans that have been announced.
  2. Apple is always the absent elephant in the room. Although it did not attend the trade show (it rarely does, preferring to make announcements on its own), speculations about Apple’s next moves, including its Apple Watch and the expansion of Apple Pay, were common topics of conversation.NFC - Near field communication / mobile payment
  3. Speaking of Apple Pay, the drive to expand and extend the ways consumers can make purchases has entered high gear. In a cross-branding flurry, Visa’s booth at the tradeshow featured a Samsung technology–enabled BMW that could link to Pizza Hut and allow car owners to pull through the drive through for a slice while their car made the payment from their dashboard.
  4. The spread of consumers’ connectivity also goes beyond their vehicles. In addition to taking advantage of wireless charging devices, attendees at the Mobile World Congress were fascinated by smart toothbrushes that link to Disney-designed apps, such that they teach children how to brush their teeth properly and sufficiently.
  5. Advertisers are important too. Beyond the products and gadgets, representatives of advertising companies, especially those specializing in mobile advertising, took up a substantial proportion of the space in the convention center floor. Marketers need to know what innovations and mobile advances are coming, so they can be ready to exploit them. But they also see the conference as a golden opportunity to show what they can do already, with the technology and big data currently available.

Discussion Question:

Which kinds of environmental factors can marketers learn about at shows such as the Mobile World Congress?


Source: Mark Bergen, “Five Takeaways for Marketers from the Mobile World Congress ,” Advertising Age, March 7, 2015, http://adage.com