Mobile World Congress

CCgroup’s Congress Crunch: How to pitch for an MWC speaking opportunity

With over 100,000 attendees, MWC Barcelona is one of the most sought after thought leadership speaker platforms in the mobile industry.

It is a fiercely competitive process. The GSMA receives more than two thousand submissions each year and approximately one in fifteen are successful. With these odds, the pressure is on to attract the attention of the GSMA content team.

With the closing date for the official call for papers fast approaching – September 27th  to be exact – where should you be in the speaker submission process? And how can you ensure you hit the right note and resonate with their thinking behind the agenda for the show?

By now you should have taken the time to get to know the GSMA content team by taking advantage of its invitation to apply for a research briefing. Via conference call or in person, companies can meet with the team and pitch their initial themes and ideas to them. These meetings are extremely worthwhile and can provide some invaluable feedback for your final submission.

If this has passed you by, don’t fret there’s still plenty you can do to ensure you make the most of your speaker submissions. You can start by reading this blog from Alejandro Piñero, research manager at the GSMA. He offers some rather useful advice on what should/shouldn’t be included in your submission, plus some examples of those that have been successful.

Despite the steep competition, CCgroup has a proud track record of success in getting its clients selected to speak. At MWC17, ten clients were represented on the conference agenda. So, here are a few tips from the Mobile and Telecoms team:

  1. Be mindful of the GSMA’s agenda – don’t just push your own: Again, every year the GSMA works hard to let companies know the topics they’d like to cover. When submitting your paper, give careful thought to where it might fit with the conference agenda. The formation of the final agenda is very much a fluid process and changes week by week. The initial topics are therefore deliberately vague and all ideas that can be related to them will be considered.


  1. Try not to focus on just one topic: The final sessions are built once the call for papers process closes (on September 27th). It is not uncommon for some topics listed at the start of the process not to be included on the final agenda. Try and make yourself relevant to a variety of topics – it spreads the risk should your core topic not make the cut.


  1. It’s about insight, opinion and access – not a sales soapbox: Try to remember that at its core, Mobile World Congress is a commercial enterprise. Think about the type of insight you might be able to offer, that the GSMA simply won’t get anywhere else. Bespoke research? Access to operators? A heads up on key industry transformation? Successful entries have these considerations at their core – not the future sales pipeline of a particular product or service.


  1. Credibility comes from case studies: It is notoriously difficult to get mobile operator customers to stand beside you and present a recent project you have delivered. But that certainly shouldn’t stop you from asking! The GSMA loves a good case study, especially if they demonstrate clear innovation or illustrate how a vendor is helping an operator transform its working practices. And it doesn’t stop there. Think beyond the operator to projects that have included charities, smart cities or other companies that may be of interest.


  1. If you can’t deliver, don’t offer: While having a case study and/or partner spokesperson present is a major coup for any vendor, make sure you have the explicit permission before offering them to the GSMA. Letting the content team down at the last minute will do you no favours!


  1. Less is always more: 2017 marks the first year that the GSMA has cut the speaker submissions to a mere 200 words. It’s therefore vital that, as well as being concise, you need to get straight to the point and focus on what makes your story interesting. The GSMA won’t thank you for unnecessary reams of irrelevant information. Remember the quantity of submissions they’ll receive – try and make it easy for them to pick your submission.


  1. Don’t leave the admin to the last minute: There are no extensions for getting your submissions in – September 27th is the last day. With many a PR and marketing team working to get final approved versions, there’s often a rush at the last minute to get the online forms completed. We’d recommend getting this done at least the day before (if possible!)

Have fun and get creative! And best of luck with your submissions.

Our next blog will cover how to get on the shortlist for the Global Mobile Awards. Sign up to the series to ensure you don’t miss it by emailing our Head of Telecoms:  [email protected]

Written by Paul Nolan


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