Its February 10 and CES officially ended a month ago. Those consumer electronics and high tech companies that exhibited at the event have assembled the media coverage, tracked the metrics, and analyzed the impact, so, now what?
Rather than seeing CES as a complete event in and of itself, I like to think of it as merely a kick off point for the year’s marketing and PR programming. CES is a very important event, certainly, and a great place to engage with media and launch products, however- it’s what you do AFTER CES that will have the most impact for your brand.
Image by Ian Mutoo https://www.flickr.com/photos/imuttoo/ under CC license.
At CES, successful PR management and media relations work typically leads to some nice pieces of coverage, but, generally, coverage will be more of a product overview or quick look. This is OK- it’s good, really, but savvy marketers know that it’s in-depth editorial pieces and technical reviews that drive conversion and sales—and, these types of features are not typical of CES. Another reality of CES coverage is that in some cases, messages won’t be completely accurate, or a product’s full capability and differentiating factors won’t be properly highlighted. This is because CES interviews are usually quick and casual, and reporters often don’t do the fact checking or research required to write a fully baked piece.
The benefit of CES media is the immediate buzz and spike in awareness among the collective consumer electronics-interested demographic. Consider this.. over the course of the show, PAN’s client Fuel3D saw 50 pieces of media coverage, like this one from NextWeb and a 167% increase in visits to its site. Our ONvocal client saw 73 pieces of coverage, including a USA Today “Tech in 60 Seconds” video that reached over 11 million people and was syndicated in a dozen other outlets. And our LoopPay client saw more than 80 pieces of coverage and earned over 2.1 million impressions on Twitter that week. Truly impressive results and all in one week of intense media relations work.
A spike in coverage means that those searching for you online (investors, potential partners) will see this activity and know you’re a “player”. Bursts of media coverage are hugely positive from an external credibility perspective.
But, again, CES is just the beginning. Let’s say your prototype broke during an interview. Let’s say an influential publication totally misunderstood what your product was all about and wrote a scathing piece. It’s OK! The beauty of CES is that media influencers know that its often your first “at bat”. You’ll be welcome to pitch, and re-pitch, and that initial flub might end up being the perfect ice breaker when you’re ready to engage regarding a more formal interview.
We’ve collected a few tips on what to do following CES to continue momentum for your brand:
- Conduct a post CES messaging reboot. Did your messages register? Did you feel adequately prepared discussing the key attributes and competitive differentiators of your product? Now’s the time to tweak, or re-do entirely.
- Do you have all of the messaging materials you need? Did you notice that you needed more information about technical specs, or, “reason to be”? If not, create them now. CES is a media focus group. What matters? What do they want to know? You have the opportunity to address, and update now.
- Get social! “Follow” media you met, put out interesting tweets and other types of content. Draft blog posts.
- Get searchable! Make sure your SEO is updated
- Did you notice any interesting competitors? Compare yourself to them and be prepared to address differentiating questions.
- Did you make any media friends? Or, did you meet any media who seemed to be skeptical? Note reactions in your media list and use them when you re-pitch. A skeptic can become an advocate with the right information
- Once your messaging is updated, it’s time to re-engage. Develop your top tier media list and pitch, pitch pitch. Offer in person meetings, review samples, interviews with top engineers or the CEO. This is the bigtime, so make sure you are fully prepared and offering the best of your assets
- Do not rush! Media influencers will be ready to listen when you are ready to put your best product in front of them. Trying to get a quick follow up hit after CES is never a good idea. Make sure the second time you engage with a top tier editor, he or she will walk away knowing that their time has been well spent.
- And, of course, before you know it, it will be time to start considering next year’s show. What does 2.0. look like? How will you make noise next year? What events might you want to participate in? Will you host a press conference? If so, will you need video? All of these considerations take time, and planning early saves stress and maximizes efficiency.
What are some takeaways you have from this year’s show? What are your post-CES plans?