5 CES 2024 Mistakes Mobility Tech & Automotive Suppliers Need to Avoid

With CES returning to full, in-person form in 2023 after emerging from its pandemic-impacted virtual and hybrid format, the show is on solid footing to dominate the news once again in 2024.

As the world’s most influential technology event, the potential for automotive and mobility tech suppliers to make an impact at CES 2024 is strong, with a high-level of attention and interest focused on the evolution of mobility, from EV adoption and infrastructure to Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) and always-evolving ADAS technology.

But like anyone participating at CES, success relies on planning smart – and early! – and avoiding pitfalls that could result in you being lost in the shuffle.

Being an automotive or mobility tech supplier at CES comes with a list of challenges along with opportunities. It can be thrilling to be a part of such a huge, impactful show and have the chance to interact with major media outlets and potential customers – for some scope, last year’s CES hosted 3,200+ exhibitors (including 1,000 new exhibitors) and 4,800+ media across nearly 2.2 million square feet of exhibits.

But with any show of this size, the competition for attention can be fierce. With more mobility-related companies investing in having a presence CES – all trying to catch the eye of top journalists covering the industry — it is essential to avoid missteps in your planning if you want to maximize your time – and maximize what surely is a considerable investment of company resources.

While there is no such thing as guaranteed success at CES, we can offer up our top five pitfalls that companies in the automotive and mobility space need to avoid for the best chance for a productive event.

We share these tips based on our experiences assisting multiple automotive clients prepare for CES in years past.

1. Not Realizing You’re Already Running Behind

We hate to tell you this, but chances are you might already be behind in your CES PR planning. “But we’re already registered! We have a booth booked!” Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but that’s not all you need to be doing.

Your company needs to be deciding, nay finalizing, what big announcements, product launches, unveilings, etc. it will be making at the show … yes, right now.

CES is not the place for the type of news you might normally just send out a typical press release. And it’s not like hosting your own technology showcase for media at your own venue.  This is the big stage for game-changing tech and industry-altering announcements, amidst a hyper-competitive environment.

Do yourself a favor by laying out plans for your CES announcements, including what the key messaging will be for your spokespeople – not to mention getting approval from management – WELL in advance.

Waiting to do this can harm your prospects significantly, especially if you end up with requests from the media for advanced information prior to the show. You need to be prepared, and the usual last-minute scrambling isn’t going to cut it.

2. Not Doing Investigative Legwork

While the sheer size and scope of CES can be intimidating, it can also be to your benefit.

Think of it this way: there is no shortage of media coverage, experiences and opinions about CES out there. The automotive / mobility sector presence at the event has been steadily growing for years and nearly everyone who has attended previously has a story, either of success … or of the opposite. These can all be learning experiences with great takeaways.

Try to network with your peers, with communications professionals and PR agency teams who have logged experience at CES to get some insight. Reach out to media and influencers with whom you already have good relationships. Ask their thoughts about their experiences at the show. What worked for them? What did they hate?

You can also take advantage of the planning resources from CES management itself and reach out early to learn your options as an exhibitor, attendee, or sponsor. CES offers a wide variety of options to help boost your presence, and the only way to find out the specifics is to ask.

3. Being Lazy with List Prep

Creating your target media list for CES pitching comes with more levels of pre-planning and research than creating lists for other news announcements does. Don’t sit back and rely on your everyday processes!

Identifying top targets in the automotive, mobility and technology sectors is something you’ve most likely already done for your ongoing news throughout the year … but CES requires you to cast a bigger net.

One tip is to monitor coverage and look back on what media and outlets covered vehicle tech news during previous years at CES. Then get a leg-up early by following those journalists and outlets throughout the year, to learn more about their interests and to build relationships with them via other opportunities first.

If a reporter already knows they can count on you for quality, relevant information and knows you deliver, you can become a great resource to them during the hectic schedule of CES. Help each other cut through the clutter!

4. Not Understanding the Media’s Toil

It is imperative for companies participating at CES to acknowledge the reality of the show for the reporters covering it. Journalists are bombarded with thousands of pitches, invites, interview offers and “exclusives” from exhibitors and attendees from the industry sectors they cover. A key component of your outreach approach should be, “how do we make things easier, more convenient and more productive for our key media targets?”

While buried in a deluge of pre-show CES pitches, a journalist’s response to you might not be immediate. And they might not be able to commit to visit your booth at a specific time during the show. You need to have flexibility and plan accordingly. Make sure your communication materials about what you will be highlighting at CES are straightforward, easy to digest and are in front of the media early.

Any pitching around one-on-one interviews, press conferences, product unveilings and tech demonstrations should be done as early as possible via personalized outreach to your top media targets, in the hopes of getting on their radar ahead of time.

But if that fails, having the ability to be flexible enough to arrange last-minute media interviews and visits during the show and getting reporters quick access to your spokespeople can be a major benefit.

5. Not Giving Yourself a Reality Check

Don’t set yourself up to fail before CES even arrives. Your company is investing a lot of time, money and resources to be there. With that kind of commitment, the last thing you want is to set expectations too high and commit yourself to unachievable goals.

It’s exciting to think about being featured on a tech segment on CNN or landing feature coverage in The Wall Street Journal, Wired or Automotive News. And maybe you will!

However, the reality is that CES is one of the, if not THE most, competitive events around. You’re not only competing with the biggest names in your own industry but also with huge-name consumer electronic product announcements, which often create the loudest buzz.

When laying out your goals for the show, the focus should be placed on quality rather than quantity. What are your competitive advantages? Who is your exact audience? Will your top experts have enough availability during the show?

Sometimes companies get their executives and subject matter experts to CES, but they don’t consider how many other obligations – such as customer and prosects meetings – they have which can severely limit their availability for media interviews.

You should carve out times for media accessibility for each key person to maximize your PR results. Think about what customers and prospects you’re hoping to reach the most at CES. Who are your top media targets, and do they reach those potential customers? If a journalist could take away one thing from your presence at CES, what would it be?

In a nutshell:  if you can avoid making these five mistakes, you could be well on your way to scoring CES 2024 PR gold. And, of course, if you need expert help from PR professionals who have supported automotive and mobility suppliers at CES for years, email us at

Author: Leslie Dagg

Leslie is an account supervisor at Bianchi PR with 23 years of B2B PR experience representing clients across multiple industries.

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