Thousands of brands compete for buzz at CES. Is your brand ready to make its mark?
Photo by Helena Lopes from Pexels
Launching a new product is far from the only reason to attend CES 2020.
Whether or not you’ve got something brand-new to unveil, CES is an opportunity for your brand to make a huge impact on your market—as long as you market it well.
Here are a few pointers.
Get the basics in place.
You may have an immersive, theatrical experience set up to market your product—Netflix and Foreo certainly did at CES 2018—but if you don’t have a way to capture visitors’ emails, physical takeaways for media, or basic info sheets about your product, all that drama may end up doing very little for your brand in the long-term.
No matter what your overall marketing concept is, you’ve got to ensure you have all the basics covered.
That means having:
- A tablet where people can sign up for your email list
- Business cards (bring double the number you think you’ll need)
- Your social media handles on display, whether on the tablet or on your signage
- An online media kit that can be emailed directly to media who request it
- Hard copy media kits for those who prefer paper
- A product/brand info sheet, both hard copy and digital
Streamline your product demo.
At CES, you’ve got to convince every passerby to spend time with YOUR booth, as opposed to the hundreds of others surrounding you.
So if you’re demoing a product, that demo better be attention-grabbing, short, and easy-to-follow.
If you can, you’ll want to focus on the experience of your product, rather than the product itself. Just like you learned in Marketing 101: people want to know about the benefits of your product, not the features.
Focus on experiential marketing to stand out from the crowd.
Netflix created a fictional protest of a fictional tech company to market one of its new original TV shows at CES 2018. In 2019, Google built a theme park ride to promote Google Assistant.
Your marketing may not rise to quite this level. But incorporating an experiential element, or partnering with an agency that can develop and deploy an experiential element, can be a solid tactic for standing out from the CES crowd.
You can also take your booth in a slightly different direction and attract passersby another way—by offering a service. That’s the strategy my agency, Zen Media, developed for a client that needed to design a booth for one of the largest trade shows in their industry.
Instead of trying to push the product they were selling, we designed and built a booth that included lockers that attendees could use to store their bags securely while they were attending the show.
Go into CES with a strong, cohesive media and PR strategy.
In today’s landscape, marketing and digital PR have become more entwined than ever.
If you’re an exhibitor, you’ll have access to CES’s media list—a list of all the registered media who will be in attendance. Use this list to identify specific reporters and outlets that you want to pitch, and start developing those relationships now.
It’s also important to make a plan for which press and networking events you or someone else from your company will be attending. Prioritize which events are can’t-miss and which are just nice-to-attend—because there are 11 different locations for CES 2020, chances are you won’t be able to stick precisely to your schedule.
And remember, your CES media strategy shouldn’t conclude with the end of the show. Afterward, continue reaching out to the media you contacted pre-show, as well as those you met during the show, to encourage follow-up stories and ongoing coverage.
Video continues to be one of the most effective ways to connect with an audience. According to OptInMonster, marketers who use video get 66 percent more qualified leads than those who don’t.
Of course, you’ll need to adapt your video to the environment at CES. It’s unlikely you’ll have many people who want to sit down in a quiet booth and watch a seven-minute video on your company history. Instead, try creating a “sizzle reel” or short narrative film to capture viewers’ interest quickly.
And the great thing about video is that you can use it again and again. Post it on your social feeds during and after CES, send it to media, post it on your website—once the show’s over, your video can continue bringing in leads indefinitely.
Marketing your product at CES involves a whole lot of planning and strategy, but if you put in that time up front, you’ll greatly increase your chances of making a big impression on the floor. See you in Las Vegas!