I often get asked, “how do you think the event has gone?” and I always give the same answer; “it’s not what I think that’s important, it’s what the attendees think that matters”. I don’t give this answer to be clever or overly modest, but I truly believe that any trade event is only as good as the people who take part. Now, with 25 years’ experience [of running World Telemedia] and, in the wake of a global pandemic, I’d add that, perhaps even more vital is their “approach” and “attitude” – because that is what creates the all-important business networking “buzz”. This year in Marbella, the energy levels and focus were set to the maximum, right from the start, and the incredibly positive atmosphere never really seemed to diminish.
In recent years, we’ve naturally focussed more resource on our own social media presence, with a view to keeping the telemedia community connected and informed between “in person” shows. World Telemedia 2021 was the first that significantly benefitted, with unprecedented levels of pre-show “we’re going to..” posts, followed by an even more overwhelming number of posts from the show itself and in the aftermath. Without exception these have been unbelievably positive, so perhaps now the best answer to “how do you think the event has gone?” would simply be “don’t take my word for it, just look at LinkedIn or Facebook”.
As an example, my current favourite is:
“I’m absolutely sure #worldtelemedia is one of the most current conferences on the market anywhere in the world!”
You can’t ask for better than that! However, this also highlights several important aspects of our strategy going forward. The first, to extend our reach far beyond our traditional European base and better serve the “world” as represented in our brand name. This also reflects our continued belief in the traditions of “cross boarder” trading and the huge potential for deploying telemedia solutions across the globe, particularly in emerging markets such as MENA, Africa and LATAM.
The testimonial also illustrates where “telemedia” is in terms of the m-Commerce ecosystem. World Telemedia has always been about adding value and creating tangible revenues across a value chain that starts with; a consumer and some content, following through to a payment gateway and network partner (MNO). In this respect telemedia has always represented something of a “sweet spot”. The question is now, has the industry ever been better positioned to monetise and deliver on the post-pandemic demands for high quality digital content, services and applications?
With the pandemic, social distancing, and the decimation of “the usual” trade show calendar [particularly since MWC 2020], for most, this was first genuine “business as usual” / “face to face” event. Clearly the time spent in relative isolation, existing only in a virtual world of zoom, Teams, webinars and LinkedIn, gave everyone a chance to reflect on the true value of “face to face” meetings, something that, perhaps we had all been taking for granted – pre Covid.
To ensure that delegates could make the most from their time at the show, during lockdown we created a unique “hybrid event” platform; www.telemedia8point1.com. This now enables our 400+ “in person” attendees and 800+ “virtual” attendees to search, research and connect with one another 24/7/365. As a result, we were delighted to see that the majority of pre-registered delegates used 8.1 to set up their meetings in advance. Perhaps the beginnings of a new trend away from solely relying on the random “magic” of just happening upon the next big customer in the bar?
With all this in mind, we can now look forward to a very bright future and start making plans for World Telemedia 2022. This was our first event at the Don Pepe – the flagship property in the Gran Melia portfolio – and, given the upward trajectory of the industry, the time seemed right to give everyone a 5-star upgrade. With its wide-open meeting spaces, uniquely bright and airy networking rooms, well ventilated verandas, and stunning gardens – the feedback we’ve received so far has been unanimously positive and I expect the Melia to be our preferred venue for many more years to come.
Positive feedback is perhaps even more important for those that decided not to travel to Marbella. Many have urged us to focus on attracting more mobile operators and this will continue to be part of our 2022 strategy. It’s also vital to bring more messaging providers to the event along with stronger representation from bigger brand and the digital marketing sector in general. Nothing will help our expansion plans more than “word getting out” across our attendee’s business networks – so clearly World Telemedia 2021 has already gone a long way to supporting our aspirations to expand the show in all areas.
As a footnote to this review, I’d like to come back to the original point that, it’s the attendees that make the event and not the organisers. However, to be more specific, it’s vital to recognise the importance of having a strong line-up of sponsors and exhibitors. Without their advanced pledges of financial support, it’s virtually impossible to organise an event on this scale, so we owe each and every one a huge debt of gratitude. We should also not forget the panellists, hosts and speakers who were so generous in sharing their knowledge and vast experience at the show. They understand that sharing information is the secret to developing future commercial opportunities for wide scale growth across the entire sector. This will also continue to be our philosophy in 2022.
Till we meet again, I look forward to seeing you at www.telemedia8point1.com.
World Telemedia Ltd