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If only I’d known! Lessons from my first MIPIM

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Firstly, MIPIM definitely isn’t a ‘jolly’. I was guilty of the odd ‘eye-roll’ when I heard other people say that in the past but now, I know it’s 100% true. The conference might be held in the South of France, but it certainly isn’t a holiday, it can involve a lot of long days and hard work, so power up on caffeine when you can.

One of the main things I learned though, is that MIPIM isn’t a one-week affair, to do it right, you need to be planning and coordinating targeted activity during the weeks and months before and after.

From the moment we booked our flights, we knew it was game on. Which clients will need our support? How do we spread the word that we’ll be out there? How do we best maximise our time when we’re in Cannes so that we’re hitting all the most interesting events? What marketing materials will we need to have ready prepared for sharing with the new contacts we make? That’s all before we’ve even taken one step on French soil.

Looking through the city agendas, you can feel a bit like a kid in a sweet shop, not knowing which events to pick and choose from. Last year, we hopped between Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds, interspersed with client events and UK-wide discussions, with the odd venture into Europe to see what Barcelona and the Netherlands were up to property-wise. Before we knew it, our diaries when full, from dawn ‘til dusk. But when we consciously left gaps in our calendars, some of this time was the most valuable of the week as we were able to have impromptu meetings with people we’d met along the way or contacts we hadn’t been able to catch-up with for a while. So as easy as it can be to fill-up your diaries, leave yourself a bit of free time too.

Then before you know it, you’re back and you need to follow up with those potential new business contacts and people you promised to ‘grab a coffee’ with. Having some informative, yet creative and visual case studies that you can share that are bespoke to the type of business / sector you’re targeting can be a great way to follow up in a purposeful way.

So, in short, if it’s your first time this year, I think my top three takeaways from MIPIM would be:

* Expect to be busy

* Populate your calendar wisely

* Follow up with meaningful content

And lastly, in Cannes, when it rains, it pours. Don’t make my mistake and always take waterproof shoes, I learned that the hard way…

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