Four Tips From CES 2012

Lessons Learned at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show

Las Vegas January 13, 2012

I spent the last week in Las Vegas, promoting the announcement of AboutOne’s latest release at the Consumer Electronics Association’s (CEA) 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES). We chose to attend CES for our announcement because it’s the world’s largest consumer technology tradeshow and attracts the “who’s who” of the technology industry. This conference provided us with myriad opportunities to connect with traditional and new media, potential partners, and prospective customers. As I wait for my red-eye flight home, I want to share my lessons learned about being an exhibitor at this amazing event.

Lesson 1 – Establish clear objectives for the event: We had two objectives for our time at CES: to connect with media and to identify and connect with potential partners. As careful stewards of our startup’s limited resources, being clear about these objectives allowed us to focus our efforts where they’d have maximum impact.

Lesson 2 – Look for Alternatives to the Standard Event Booth and Plan Ahead: Attending and exhibiting at conferences and trades shows is expensive, and CES is no exception. The type of CES exhibitor package we needed to meet our conference objectives was prohibitively expensive when reserving directly through CES, so we sought alternative solutions. We discovered Living in Digital Times (LIDT) a CEA partner program offering conferences and events that focus on the intersection of lifestyle and technology. LIDT sponsors several “tech zones” within CES, including the Digital Health Summit, Silvers Summit, Sports and Fitness Tech Summit, MommyTech Summit, Kids@Play Summit, and HigherEdTECH Summit, all at rates that compare very favorably with the standard CES rates.

Joanne Lang CESWe chose a small turnkey booth in the Cool Products for Moms exhibit in the MommyTech zone, a focused lifestyle exhibition and conference embedded within CES and focusing exclusively on the newest technology innovations and trends aimed at the $90 billion dollar mom market. Our package also included a presence at CES Unveiled (a pre-CES New York press preview in November), a “speed-dating” press event on the first day of CES, and invaluable support from the CES staff throughout the week to help send media representatives our way. We also made arrangement for me to speak on the Moms as CEOs of the Household panel about empowering moms with technology that helps them juggle priorities, stay connected with their families, and balance work and life. This panel was well-attended by both press and potential partners who reached out to us afterwards to express their interest.

In addition to making arrangements for your exhibit space, it’s also important to book transportation and hotel reservations in advance. CES partners with a long list of Las Vegas hotels to offer special rates, but these discounted offers sell out fast.

Joanne Lang CESLesson 3 – Make Contact Before, During, and After the Event: We requested the CES press list from LIDT so we could send targeted emails before the conference to appropriate media outlets for our customer demographic. In addition, we used Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ to connect with conference attendees before, during, and after the event.

Lesson 4 – Attend Panels and Keynotes: This is where we were able to pick up on the latest trends that impact our company’s direction. Of particular interest to us this year were Elisa Camahort Page’s presentation of BlogHer’s 2012 Consumer Electronics Study that identified all-in-one consumer electronic devices as most indispensable to women, and the overall focus on consumers’ desire for anytime, anywhere access to their digital information via PCs, smartphones, TVs, cars, and appliances that are smart and connected.

Read more about Joanne Lang.

Joanne Lang

One of Forbes Top 10 Female Entrepreneurs to Watch and the mom of four boys, AboutOne.com Founder and CEO Joanne Lang writes and speaks regularly on topics including entrepreneurship, fundraising, business development, networking, and leveraging technology to simplify life and prepare for the future. She is a former SAP cloud technology specialist.
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One of Forbes Top 10 Female Entrepreneurs to Watch and the mom of four boys, AboutOne.com Founder and CEO Joanne Lang writes and speaks regularly on topics including entrepreneurship, fundraising, business development, networking, and leveraging technology to simplify life and prepare for the future. She is a former SAP cloud technology specialist.

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