The Do’s and Don’ts of CES
The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is oftentimes where buzz in the consumer tech industry is born. Over the last 50 years, CES has grown to become the largest consumer tech show in the world, attracting executives, manufacturers, retailers, industry analysts and numerous members of the media to its show floor. Set to take place Jan. 5-8, 2017, in Las Vegas, this year’s show is likely to attract upwards of 150,000 attendees.
With so many important people in tech at the show, CES is a one-of-a-kind event and can be overwhelming and intimidating to first-time attendees. To help alleviate some of that stress, here are some do’s and don’ts to optimize your experience and help you succeed at CES.
Do: Start Early
Last year, more than 7,500 members of the media attended CES — that’s about 1,700 more than the 2016 Rio Olympics were able to attract. The preregistered media list was made available on Dec. 1 and it is a good idea to begin reaching out early on in order to land meetings, create interest in your brand and turn potential business leads into sales. Identify the media you want to meet with and begin outreach at least one month before the show. Schedule meetings earlier in the day and early in the week. Meetings toward the end of the day are more likely to get canceled, rescheduled or delayed because of holdups throughout the day. By scheduling a meeting earlier in the day, you can reduce the chances that your spokesperson or member of the media is going to be delayed. Additionally, as the week goes on, people — including media members — grow weary and the discussion surrounding your brand or product can evaporate.
Do: Use CES Resources
Get in touch with CES staff before you arrive on site. The CES staff wants you to do well and are there to assist you in doing so. Ask them questions about anything that could help you during your time at CES — staffing, booth capabilities and setup, what popular promotional items companies give away — they are happy to help.
Don’t: Be Plain Jane
Media members attending CES want something they can share with followers, tweet out or blog about. Make sure your booth stands out from the competition and isn’t boring. Put some thought into the layout and design of your booth and highlight what you have to offer in a visually appealing way. Make sure your booth’s offering will make attendees want to stop and take a photo as well as garnering the attention of passers by.
A busy booth will entice more attendees and force media to ask “what makes this booth so attractive?”
Do: Perfect Your Pitch
Unfortunately, the CES media list is not available only to you. As a result, editors and reporters are inundated with pitches both leading up to and at CES. This means your pitch needs to stand out from the rest. Don’t beat around the bush in your pitch, be straightforward, showcase the new or unique aspects of your brand or product and mention any other important or relevant facts. Keep your pitch short and sweet. As Shakespeare once penned, “brevity is the soul of wit,” so keep your pitch concise and leave enough time to answer questions afterwards. Know what your audience is looking for and tailor your pitch accordingly.
Don’t: Forget About Social Media
Social media can not be neglected and is a vital part of any CES strategy. By engaging in the social buzz surrounding CES you can increase your visibility and gain more followers while positioning yourself as a thought-leader in the tech industry. Take a lot of photos and contribute to the discussion surrounding hot products and trending topics surrounding the show.
Be prepared to post dynamic and interesting content to your various social channels and engage with the media from the show floor. CES exposure that can elevate a brand is no longer just securing articles — it’s tweets, videos, posts and photos now, as well.
Do: Be Comfortable
Though it is printed in CES programs and should be apparent, wearing comfortable shoes that you can walk around in is crucial. You’ll be walking from booth to booth and from venue to venue, so maintaining comfortability is of utmost importance. Stay hydrated and well nourished during the event, as well. Bring snacks to eat. Las Vegas is an arid climate, so staying hydrated and well nourished is vital. The show floor can get cold or be rather warm, so wear layers and be prepared to shed them as necessary. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a break and wander around as necessary, but don’t stroll too far from your booth. You’ll want to be comfortable during your time on the show floor, so prepare accordingly.
Don’t: Get Stuck in Taxi Line
This year’s event will mark the second straight year that Uber and Lyft will be providing transportation services to CES attendees — use them. Last year, there were only about 3,000 cabs in Clark County, home to Las Vegas, and with more than 150,000 expected attendees, the taxi line at the airport and at the show floor can be a, well, let’s just call it a horrorshow. CES also provides shuttle services and Las Vegas has a monorail that connects various CES venues along the Strip, so don’t wait in the seemingly never-ending taxi line at McCarran International Airport or CES. Figure out what kind of travel makes sense for you and your trip, and choose a hotel accordingly.
Do: Bring Your “A” Game
You will be attending the world’s largest consumer tech show, so bring your A game. Despite the fact that CES is in Sin City the week after the holidays, you’ll need to be prepared to contribute as a valuable member of the team. Be comfortable, hydrated and well nourished in order to help yourself stay at the peak of mental fitness. Show passion and energy surrounding your brand or product. Let your positive personality shine through and be engaging. No one is going to want to stick around and talk to you for long if you’re low-energy, not exciting and lacking passion. You want your brand or product to be noticed, so staying on top of your game is vital to CES success.
Don’t: Be Inflexible
Finally, you will need to be flexible during your time at CES. With a show as large as CES, delays will be inevitable and unavoidable. As a result, you will need to be able to adjust on the fly. Shuttles run behind schedule, meetings extend beyond the time they were supposed to end and this will happen every year. Be prepared to follow up or reschedule with media members and industry experts, be friendly and be welcoming!
In the end, there are numerous ways to succeed at CES and this list of do’s and don’ts — though it isn’t comprehensive — offers tips that will help you secure important meetings, generate valuable interest in your brand and convert potential leads into sales. If you heed this advice you will be well on your way to a successful stint at CES.