Deeper @ CES: Lessons Learned From Our 3rd Trip to Las Vegas
CES is the biggest consumer electronics show in the US. And it’s only when you’re there that you realise just how big it is. The numbers themselves are staggering: over 100,000 attendees, more than 65,000 people working on exhibitions, 7,500 journalists and media staff, over 1,000 speakers. All in four (very intense) days. And when you’re in the middle of it all, speaking to attendees and the media, giving product presentations, making films and connecting with your followers on social media, that’s when you realise just how big it is, say Deeper, the Vilnius-based makers of smart electronics devices.
Those four days are the culmination of months of planning. And planning for CES is an absolute must. For this year’s event, we started preparing more than 6 months in advance. Good placement is extremely important, so we spent time analysing the floor plan and choosing a suitable spot from the options CES offered us. Then there was the booth design. With a new product launching, we had a lot to prepare. Our booth was double-sided, with one half devoted to our smart sonars and the other to Deeper Lock, our new product.
We have been to lots of trade shows with our smart sonars, and the booth has been gradually perfected as we have learned what works best. For the Deeper Lock display we had to create everything from scratch, which was a challenge. We had some designs to work from, for the print for example, but for most of the objects we included (bikes, tables, etc.) we had to think carefully about whether they fitted with our brand positioning and voice. In the end the booth was a success. We received lots of positive feedback and had good levels of interest.
So, if participating in CES means months of preparation followed by four crazy days, why do it? For us, there were two main reasons why we participated in this year’s event. Firstly, the US remains the biggest market for our smart sonar range. We had had huge success at the two previous CES events we had attended, and we wanted to build on that success this year. Secondly, we are launching a new product – Deeper Lock – this year, and CES offers an ideal opportunity to spread the word and start building traction.
So what does being at CES give you? One huge value you get is the fact that it provides a kind of exposure you can’t get anywhere else. Firstly, there is association and prestige. This year, our new product Deeper Lock was an Honoree in the Wireless Handset Accessories category. Plus it featured in the CES Innovation Showcase, which brings together the most exciting new products from all the innovation award categories.
Being at CES also means being alongside the very biggest consumer technology companies on the planet. In 2016, our Deeper Smart Fishfinder won the best Innovation Award in the Wireless Handset Accessories category, which meant even more exposure. Other winners that year included Samsung, LG, Bang & Olufsen, and Ricoh. So, thanks to our participation in CES, the Deeper brand has been associated with some of the very best electronics firms in the world.
Next, there is the exposure you get thanks to the event’s incredible media network. All exhibitors receive an exclusive media list, giving you direct access to top tech journalists. Prior to the event we had prepared new video material and a new website, which gave us lots to talk about in our press releases. We also took advantage of the opportunity CES offers to book spaces for presentations. As we were releasing a new product, we booked a space on the first day and invited the media to the presentation, which meant added traction.
Then there are the attendees. This element of the event is a two way channel. In one direction, you get to pitch your products to prospective customers face to face, showing off your latest creations with all their amazing features. The people who attend CES are ahead of the curve, and this demographic often has a strong influence over other consumers. So, connecting directly with them is great for word-of-mouth exposure.
In the other direction, these tech enthusiasts give you direct feedback. From the comments and questions you receive you can get a clearer idea of how your products are perceived. What do people like about them, what are they unsure about, which features don’t they understand, what could you add to make them even better? Post-CES you’re in a great position to refine and improve the products you offer, and also how you explain and present them.
CES is a unique event, offering unique opportunities. If you’re interested in boosting your global profile and improving brand awareness, attending CES is certainly something to consider. And if the US market is a key part of your growth plans, being at CES is a must. It has given us lots, from awards to media presence to great feedback from prospective customers.
Our 7 top tips for attending CES:
- Start planning as early as you can, and do things step by step. We have already booked our booth for 2018, and we are beginning to think about what we will do next year.
- Learn while you are there. We made lots of notes during and just after the event, so we can be even better prepared next time. Although you will be tired, make sure you do this soon after the event, while you still have everything in your head.
- Have lots of new marketing material ready, and keep sharing it with the media via the CES media list; we had a new video and a new website launched just before CES.
- Enter the CES innovation awards. If you believe in your product, the traction you get is well worth the time you put into preparing the application.
- Be active in your interactions with the media; send lots of press releases before, during and after the event, and respond personally to any inquiries.
- Make your booth amazing. The way your booth looks will make a big difference as to how much interest you’ll get. And don’t forget your booth might be next to the likes of fitbit or intel, so it had better look the business.
- Have a great product and know how to pitch it. Just having a beautiful booth isn’t enough: your product, and the way you talk about it, need to catch people’s imagination.