CES latecomers: You still have a shot at media coverage with these 4 steps
The pumpkin and harvest displays are about to be replaced with wrapping paper, holiday lights, and Christmas carols. Which means you should already have your sights set on January and be thinking about CES.
Kicking off just a week into the new year, CES can set the tone of your PR campaign for the following 12 months. Not to mention that a strong, positive response from media can boost sales and generate interest in your products long after you leave Las Vegas.
And while many companies have been planning for CES for months, others have just decided to go. If you’re a CES newbie and among those jumping in at the last minute, we literally wrote the book about how to make the most of the show. Get a free copy before you head to Vegas, but since it’s already the last minute, don’t wait until you finish reading to start planning. Here are four things you need to do immediately to up your chances of media coverage at CES 2018:
Stake out your spot
Get a booth now if you still can. But if you don’t have the budget or there’s nothing available, you still have hope for media coverage – just skip to the next three steps.
If you’re aiming for a booth, contact a CES sales rep as soon as possible to see what’s available. If possible, try to surround yourself with similar companies to maximize your chances of being seen by your target media. CES makes this easy by establishing “marketplaces” on the show floor — clusters of companies developing robotics, AI, VR, self-driving car tech, and more.
Choose Tech East if you’re among the heavy hitters of the CE world – car manufacturers, TV and audio manufacturers, gaming exhibitors. Tech West is home to some large established companies as well (Fitbit has had a big display there in recent years), but it’s also the best spot for tech up-and-comers, including smart home tech, digital payments and fintech, sports tech, wearables, and more.
Startups will also want to look into Eureka Park, where young companies and entrepreneurs can network with investors, distributors, and developers for opportunities to further grow their business.
Sign up for pre-show media events
More than 180,000 people walked the floors of CES in 2017. Identifying reporters in a crowd that large — let alone capturing their attention — is challenging to say the least. Improve your odds by registering for one (or more) of the smaller, media-only events scheduled for the nights leading up to CES.
Held on Jan. 7, CES Unveiled is the first opportunity for media to see what’s new and hot. On Jan. 8, Pepcom hosts its annual media show, Digital Experience! And on the first day of the show, Jan. 9, after the exhibit floor closes, you can demo your products at ShowStoppers.
These events come with additional fees, but they promise exclusive media access that you won’t get once the main event begins. Most of the media coverage, particularly in the early days of CES, results from these events.
If you do land a booth, simply having your product on display isn’t enough. Let reporters and attendees pick it up, try it out, and play with it. We’ve seen companies giving away samples of 3D-printed food and home brewed beer, offering in-booth teeth whitening, and projecting holograms above their booth. These stunts drew crowds that you couldn’t help but notice.
If you’re attending without a home base on the show floor, you’ll have to be even more inventive to catch the media’s eye. Last year, we landed our client’s product on the NBA Tipoff show on TNT. Their product was brought on set within the first several minutes of the program and remained on the hosts’ desk, or on Ernie Johnson’s head, for the remainder of the program. We couldn’t have made this happen had we sat in our booth the whole time. With some ingenuity and a guerrilla presence on the ground, you can make your presence known to the media.
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) January 6, 2017
If you don’t have a creative way to present your products and grab the media’s attention, start thinking. Finalize these details as soon as possible to make sure you have the space and on-site resources needed to support your promotion.
Book a hotel suite as a last resort
If booths are booked solid, you have one last ace up your sleeve. Book a hotel suite for one-on-one meetings with investors, customers, and more. CES can be about more than media coverage, and sometimes you have to create your own stage.
January might seem far away, but the holiday season will keep both you and the media out of the office in the weeks leading up to CES. That means now is the best time to finalize your plans. Get moving and we’ll see you there!
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