Winging our way across the Atlantic, en route to San Diego, I realise that it's been a year since Airsource started trading. It's not been easy, giving up great jobs and great people in order to go it alone, but we've made it to a year and are managing to stretch the company marketing budget far enough to get to BREW 2007.
It's my fourth BREW conference, and I look forward to it every year. For us, it presents a unique opportunity to find out what has been happening in all of the major BREW markets around the world - South Korea, Japan, South America and of course the USA. The technical talks have been improving every year and Ben in particular is looking forward to getting some insight into BREW 4, the latest incarnation of Qualcomm's mobile application platform.
QUALCOMM do their best to show everyone a great time by putting on fantastic evening entertainment and great talks. I'm particularly looking forward to what the keynote has to offer this year, to see if somehow Paul Jacobs is going to improve on his abseiling (rapelling for US readers) that bought him onstage a few years back! There will be loud music, cool lighting and, inevitably, a bunch of models or actors walking around with phones. It will be the marketing machine at its best, and everyone needs a bit of cheese every now and then!
One of our experiments this year is to discover whether or not a stand is really worth it for the little guy. We thought long and hard about the money we had to spend on a stand and decided to go for it, if for nothing other than to find out if the additional presence helps grow our business. Having seen 3GSM up close on the cheap, I'm definitely glad we didn't spend anything on a stand for that - far too big a stage for the new starter and frankly I think it's now well past its prime. It's time to start thinking about a replacement for 3GSM, but that's for another article.
Unlike 3GSM (or Mobile World Congress as it's now known), the BREW conference offers a stage that's just right for us. Being BREW specialists, we can rely on reaching exactly the people we need to and we won't find ourselves in endless conversations only to discover that the folks we're talking to make antennas and base stations and haven't the slightest interest in our skills. Of course, the final proof will be in the aftermath and the analysis which I'm determined we will do after every significant spend on our marketing - what has the money we've laid out actually bought us in terms of business? If the answer is (as I fear it will be for many organisations who spend big on events) "not much", then we'll turn a much more critical eye to this next year.
Another experiment we're running is in what we give to people when they come to our stand. I was so impressed when I visited the conference last year and spent some time talking with PunchCut (a bunch of people who I have a lot of time for) and getting some nifty logo badges from them - they made the most of their limited marketing budget through creativity. They didn't bother with stupid pens, breath mints and USB sticks. They put some thought into it. It spoke volumes about their capacity to innovate and for a company focussed on creativity such as they are this was inspirational. So we've done our best to raise the bar this year. Come to our stand and check out what we've managed to do and you might just walk away with something cool. That is, if we haven't run out. Which we might. I never order enough...
So come and visit us if you're at BREW 2007 - we're on Stand 80. If you can't make it, we'll be posting updates every day from the show to give you our take on the latest and greatest developments in BREW. Oh, and there will be a few surprises from us in the next few days as we lift the curtain on one or two of our clients and some of the work we've done for them. There's cool stuff on the way!