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There are several tell-tale signs that it's September in Michigan. The air is getting cooler and sharper, Halloween decorations are starting to appear in stores, and inside our agency walls, things are bustling as we enter the thick of planning for CES in January.

In fact, we've been planning for CES since the start of summer. That's when our clients need to begin laying the groundwork for a show that happens in the dead of winter. Crucial actions need to be made early, such as securing a spot in the convention center and deciding whether your company should participate in supplemental events off the show floor.

If you’re considering going to CES -- or you're already going but want your brand to get the biggest bang for its buck -- here are a few things to consider. If you're exhibiting a new product, you shouldn't just think about the main event; there are several attention-grabbing events surrounding it. And if you don't have anything to announce, the show can still be a wonderful opportunity for networking, lively discussion, trend-watching and education.

  • CES Unveiled: CES Unveiled Las Vegas is the most important pre-CES media event, period. Occurring the day before the show floor officially opens, Unveiled hosts hundreds of journalists in a single location to reveal new technologies that will be announced the next day. How do you know if you should invest in Unveiled? That’s easy. Do you have a new product? If yes, then invest in Unveiled. You will never have the opportunity to have so many journalists in one place, ready to eat up whatever you have to show them.
  • Speaking Events: CES has a wide variety of speaking panels off the show floor, and they're a great way to stimulate your brain and network with like-minded attendees. Topics range from smarthome innovations to emerging technologies, and the panels are entertaining and enlightening discussions between industry execs and thought leaders. These events can also give you an idea of how to further your brand's reach in future events. Each year's speaking submissions are due by mid-July, so it's time to start thinking about 2019 if you're interested in participating in a panel.
  • Eureka Park: Big splashes sometimes come in small packages. If you're on the fence about renting booth space on the show floor, where you'll be competing with tech giants who make everything from 8K TVs to drones you can fly around in, consider exhibiting at Eureka Park. It's a more intimate, more startup-friendly showcase, with plenty of journalists (and venture capitalists) in attendance. Once reporters burn out from a few days on the main floor, they often spend a day at Eureka Park looking for the next clever idea in tech.
  • C Space: Looking to connect with like-minded marketers? Curious on how companies big and small are extending their brands at CES and beyond? Consider participating in (or at least visiting) C Space. With the industry’s major marketing and creative influencers in attendance, this supplemental space has its own exhibit opportunities, keynotes and partnerships to ensure your brand is seen and heard.

Whether you make your presence known on the main floor or supplemental events for influencers and reporters, it is paramount to plan your company’s time at CES well before snow hits the ground. Your company’s presence isn’t enough. Being at the right place at CES is essential, and choosing the right partner to boost your visibility and voice will help win the media-attention war. If you’re interested in building a CES plan that will get your company heard, give us a shout.