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You have heard auto industry gurus like John McElroy say “it’s the best auto show I have ever attended” and you’ve decided your company will have a presence at CES 2020 (taking place January 7-10, 2020).
So what do you need to do now to ensure the world’s largest business-to-business trade show is a success for your company?
Over the course of the next few months, our “Auto Supplier Success at CES” blog series will offer practical, insightful information from our team and expert marketing partners that will help automotive suppliers and mobility technology providers like you leverage your presence at CES to its fullest.
Here at the top five things you need to do right now to put the wheels in motion for success at CES 2020:
1. Debrief on CES 2019: If you participated in CES 2019, doing a debrief meeting, while everything is still fresh in your minds, can go a long way to making 2020 better. Gather your planning team together now and ask yourselves: what worked; what didn’t; what could be done better; what logistical problems did we have; what else can we do; what should we stop doing; etc.
2. Secure your spot: Although CES covers more than 2.9 million sq. ft. of exhibit space, it is possible to get locked out. Initial space selection has already taken place during CES 2019. If you have secured a spot for 2020, great. If not, contact the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) to get on the wait list. From indoor and outdoor exhibits to turnkey packages, the CTA staff will gladly work with you on a custom solution.
Additionally, you many want to talk now to the CTA about meeting space, sponsorship opportunities, speaker proposal submissions, and other special events you ought to attend during CES week.
CTA offers a variety of exhibit suites, hospitality suites and meeting rooms for private meetings, conversations, media interviews and demonstrations. These more intimate settings can allow your company to: construct a comfortable, welcoming home base; conduct scheduled meetings in a convenient and distraction-free location; and collaborate in a private oasis with industry leaders, international buyers and global media.
Booking these facilities through CTA is advised, as “outboarding” – trying to book space for unsanctioned events offsite during CES – can get you banished from future CES events.
As for existing media group events, there are three major events to choose from at CES: CES Unveiled; Pepcom Digital Experience; and Show Stoppers. Unveiled is held two days prior to CES, Pepcom runs the night before and Show Stoppers is conducted on the first night of CES.
These events are so popular with general press that many companies who are solely interested in media coverage often choose to participate in one of these events. Reporters are there to meet and greet, ask questions and try out products, while learning about your company in almost a speed-dating-like environment.
And it is never too early to think about booking your flights and hotel accommodations. Room reservations for CES 2020 will open in summer 2019.
3. Develop a plan and pick your partners: Now that you have secured your spot and determined some logistics, it is time to determine what your objectives for CES will be, as well as what your key messaging will be.
Ask yourself questions like: what is our news; what products and technologies will we launch or showcase; how will we stand out in the crowd and “WOW” our audience targets; and do we have enough news for a press conference or not?
Once you’ve answered these questions and your objectives and messaging have been defined, you can begin devising your PR, social media and ad strategies. This is a great time to align yourself with PR and marketing partners that have solid CES and trade show experience.
4. Meet with your exhibit house team: Meeting internally and defining your objectives and messaging will also better prepare you to meet with your exhibit house team, which, depending on booth size, should begin six or more months pre-show.
From initial concept to final installation on the show floor, your exhibit house can help you showcase your image, brand and products in the best possible way and help you stand out amongst the 4,500+ exhibiting companies at CES.
5. Clean up your prospect and account database list: A CES presence is a huge investment. A $1-million booth and the most creative CES invitation will fall flat, however, if your invitation does not get to the right people and drive them to your booth. Have your team start expanding and cleaning up your prospect and account email list now, so you are not scrambling come December.
Consider breaking the chore up into more manageable monthly targets. Have the people that are responsible check in regularly to ensure the momentum continues. You may even want to set October 1 as your target for a fully cleaned-up list. This way, your team can focus on promotion and execution during the last two months before the show.
And start planning a teaser email campaign that can help build awareness and excitement about your company’s CES presence.
Don’t leave your success at CES 2020 to chance. CES is too competitive of an environment for you to wait to start your planning. Odds are that your competitors have already started. What are you waiting for?
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