More than 3,000 companies exhibit at CES every year, and thousands more participate in other ways. But how do you rise above the noise and take advantage of all CES offers regardless of your investment level? CES requires a thoughtful approach rooted in research, storytelling, and planning. As your company thinks about a CES presence — in 2024 and beyond — here are four key things to consider.
1. What headline do you want?
CES is an ideal platform for companies with strong innovation and tech stories. It’s as much a B2B as it is a B2C event. CES is the early-year opportunity to show how technology is revolutionizing your industry and that you are a category leader.
But before this happens, you need to do some creative thinking. If you could write the ideal post-CES headline for your company, what would it be? This simple question helps companies consider the goals they want from the show, who they want to reach, and how to prioritize their messaging and storytelling.
2. Plan who you want to reach
Before designing your booth or creating a campaign, consider which media and analysts are important for your company to connect with. While an entire universe of media and analysts attend the show, you want to zero in on those with whom your story will resonate. Timing news to occur during the show can help you stand out to media, analysts, government representatives, regulators, and investors.
The average CES exhibitor holds 29 meetings at the show—that’s a lot of meetings, messaging, and managing. It helps to work with an integrated communications agency with extensive CES experience. An agency can help you pre-book meetings with media and analysts and handle any follow-up. CES is one part of a long-term commitment to storytelling.
Remember that CES is a global show. One-third of attendees and exhibitors come from outside the U.S. This means you can meet even more potential customers and global innovators.
3. Consider the show theme
CES now centers on a theme. In 2023, CES partnered with a campaign called “Human Security for All.” The campaign is a joint initiative between the UN Human Security Fund and the World Academy of Art and Sciences. Exhibitors considered how they help solve global challenges and privileged those stories.
The theme remains the same for 2024 as CES focuses on the technology of the future to solve our problems today. Of course, the show features cool new technology and gadgets that many of us want for our everyday lives, but it also serves as the preeminent platform for future-forward technology. That’s why you must consider your company’s technology transformation story, who needs to hear it, and the winning headline you’d like to see.
4. Play the long game
While CES 2024 is approaching quickly, you should already be thinking about CES 2025. Before you panic, remember that CES planning is a marathon, not a sprint. Use this year’s show to evolve your story and think about how you want to participate in the future.
Consider joining the Consumer Technology Association (CTA—the show’s sponsor). Membership gives your company exhibit discounts and access to CTA staff. And knowledge always leads to more opportunities. Also, take the time to build relationships with CTA and CES representatives. Educate them on your story and what makes you unique, including plans for a big product launch or your connection with CES theme. You can set up on-site meetings with CES staff and explore what it would take for your company to present a keynote in 2025.
Set yourself up for success
If you’re exhibiting or speaking at CES 2024, there’s still time to implement many of these tactics and set up your team to succeed. If you plan on debuting in 2025, consider visiting CES this year. Attend keynotes and conferences, visit all parts of the show, and read the news coming out of CES to see what received coverage.
Finally, take advantage of a webinar replay co-sponsored by Racepoint Global and Kara Dickerson, founder, Content With Impact and former CTA/CES executive. You’ll receive even more tips and a checklist to help you say yes to CES.