Over the past 50 years, CES has morphed dramatically. The annual trade show was once a launchpad for consumer gadgets such as the VCR, which was first announced at the show in 1970. Now, it's much bigger than a gadget show; it's the world’s largest showcase for emerging technologies, next-gen transportation and innovations that span several industries.
With more than a thousand exhibitors and a greater emphasis on automotive technology in recent years, it’s not just about consumer technology anymore. If your company is focused on B2C products, you may be asking yourself if you’ll see a significant return on your investment by exhibiting at CES.
The short answer is yes: CES is absolutely worth attending. If you start now and have smart strategies in place, CES can lead to opportunities that will continue throughout the year. Consumer products in particular benefit from momentum built at the show and awareness from tech publications is just part of the puzzle. Those tech reporters you meet with at CES will influence lifestyle reporters and other coverage opportunities for the rest of the year. If you’re still on the fence about attending, here are three debunked myths about the show:
Myth #1 - CES is too focused on automotive
From self-driving cars to advanced driver-assistance systems to connected vehicles, there are many cool advancements happening in the automotive world at the moment. CES may be becoming more about these innovations, but that doesn’t mean it’s turning into just another auto show. According to the 2017 CES exhibitor list, automotive and vehicle-technology exhibitors made up five percent of total exhibitors. That’s the same number of wearables and lifestyle exhibitors. Smart home, wireless devices and accessories had an even bigger presence. Consumer products are still the focus of the event. In fact, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), which sponsors and produces each year’s CES, forecasts consumer electronics spending in the US will hit $292 billion this year. That represents 10 percent of the US GDP. And what’s one of the best ways to get a piece of that $292 billion? Building awareness among reporters and stakeholders at CES.
Myth #2 - CES isn't relevant anymore
It’s no accident that CES takes place at the beginning of January. From next-gen gadgets to innovations on current trends, products launched at CES shape the trends for the rest of the year. Those influencers you want to expose to your new product? They’ll be there. As a trade-only event, CES is attended by thousands of reporters and industry leaders each year, including venture capitalists, corporate buyers and retailers. If you want your products in the hands of consumers, these are the people you should be networking with, and they’re all conveniently gathered in one location. With a smart execution, CES will help build your credibility among the right crowd and lead to increased attention throughout the year. If that’s not convincing enough, the CTA estimates that attending the show also saves 3.4 million miles in business travel a year.
Myth #3 – CES is too crowded
Yes, it's crowded, but that’s partially because every reporter you want to talk to is there. When you have big news, attending pre-events such as CES Unveiled and PepCom Digital Experience is important for generating coverage. These events are a great time to connect with media and share your story. Booking time with reporters at these events also allows other meetings, such as sales discussions, to be the focus of your show-floor efforts. While you’re at the show, be strategic about managing your time and targeting the right people at the right moments.
The focus of CES changes from year to year, but it’s always a consumer event at its core. As such, it’s an invaluable asset for consumer-focused companies, providing one-on-one access to the most influential people in the tech industry. CES generates buzz that leads to more coverage opportunities down the road, so the benefits of attending outweigh what you’d miss by skipping it.
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