Attack CES, or any large show, with military precision

By Douglas Weinstein
Published on: February 10, 2017

By Leslie Greve

The Consumer Electronics show is a wild and wonderful place that many only dream about attending.  It’s wall to wall people, filled with brands that you recognize. The top ideas and technology are debuted on TV.  The biggest, flattest TV you’ve ever seen?  Yes.  Robots?  Yes.  Robots that install that big, flat screen TV?  Maybe.

The challenge for attendees is to make the show relevant to you and worth the investment your company is making in sending you to the Consumer Electronics show.  It would be easy to walk every aisle of the show floor (in all 3 halls) and take copious notes. The challenge is that you will only see what’s on display, which has become a lot of ‘me too’ product.

I have found the most success in 3 ways:

  1. Complementary technology.  Instead of looking at my competitors and seeing the same kinds of products, materials and colors that I see all over the floor, I spent my time this year in the automotive area and with handset manufacturers.  I want to understand what kind of technology, materials and apps they’re launching.  I’m looking for cool new tech that could cross over to phone protection.  With apps, I want to know what the manufacturers who launch the coolest handsets have on their radar.  What is important to consumers that I need to incorporate into our products or messaging?
  1. Networking. I cannot over emphasize the importance of making connections. People that I’ve known throughout the industry are great resources for what’s going on in different segments of Consumer Electronics.  They share information I would never learn walking around the show floor.  They point me in new directions and we spend time answering problems together.  This time is perhaps the most valuable of the show.  I leave these conversations thinking differently.
  1. Media/ awards. I follow media, blogs and show re-caps for anything I might have missed.  I pick up the daily publications that are printed each day and I tear out the most relevant (or intriguing) new brands and products.  I share those with my team when I get back and we watch those brands.

Tackling the Consumer Electronics show, or any large show, requires military precision to be successful.  Come up with your mission, write down your objectives and leave victorious!

Douglas Weinstein

Doug is the Editor and co-founder of the Technology Insider Group and Technology Designer Magazine. Previously, he was the Executive Director and co-founder of the Elf Foundation, a non-profit organization that created Room of Magic entertainment theaters in children's hospitals across North America.

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