Navigating CES as an Exhibitor – 10 Must Know Tips from PR Pros at The Silver Telegram

Updated January 2024 – It’s that special time of year where we start thinking of the consumer technology’s industry’s big show. CES. That may strike fear into the hearts of some. To be honest, just thinking about it makes me tired, but it is one of the most exciting ways to kick off a new year. There is no shortage of overstimulation and news at CES. As you’re preparing your show presence, don’t overlook your brand’s PR (public relations) strategy. You’d be surprised that a majority of the companies take a “let them come to me approach”. The best way to navigate PR is to be ready and on the media prowl. Here are some critical tips we’ve learned over the years for navigating CES as an exhibitor and making your CES venture a success.

Get the media list

If you’re an exhibitor at the show the press list is typically release the first week of December. Keep an eye on your emails and make sure you register your PR person or the person in charge of marketing as a key contact in your exhibitor portal.

Create and/or update your press kit

Make sure you have an updated press kit that includes useful and detailed information about your company, your product, and any other information that will help your customers or media cover you. You can have this digitally and send it to any media that leaves a card with you.

Create a realistic booth schedule + staff up

Make sure you know who is staffing your booth. Depending on its size, you’ll want at least 2 people at the booth at all times. When it gets busy it gets REALLY busy and when its dead, well then they can go walk around. Make sure to schedule breaks and lunch breaks because standing up for 6-12 hours can take a big toll on your body. Don’t forget to determine your company spokesperson and train them up on key messages.

Forget the holidays and get to booking meetings

While most people are settling in for family fun, The Silver Telegram is booking meetings. That’s right we use December to get ahead of the crowds and take advantage of the quiet times to schedule media interviews starting as soon as the media list goes out. If you are talking to media prior to that, you can even schedule earlier. Get that scheduling packed up, you’ll be glad you did. Only 80% of meetings usually show up anyway.

Plan your pre- and post-marketing strategy

Make sure you know what you want to take away from the big show. What is your marketing strategy? What products are you pushing and what do you want to say about your company that will resonate with customers and the media? Planning these objectives is important to get the most out of the show. Don’t just show up and wing it, well you can…but you won’t get the most bang for your buck!

Laser in on badges at the show

Every badge type is a different color. However, many media outlets have gotten savvy to the detective approach from PR people. Once you identify which badge is media you can make sure to keep an eye out so that you don’t miss any walk-by opportunities.

Secure reservations early

Don’t know all your meetings yet? Well let me tell you, if you wait you likely won’t ever be able to eat. It’s probably wise to set reservations for customer and team meetings around the show at restaurants you want to visit in Vegas. It’s likely that the week of the show, you won’t have many options or you’ll be eating at midnight.

RSVP to all the events

Start checking out CES events, many networking and after show events are free. RSVP now so you don’t get blocked out of tickets. Some are free for only a short period and then cost money later. You don’t want to miss these awesome networking opportunities.

Organize as you go

As a PR pro we are trained to follow up EACH night after the show. The best way to stay organized with the people you meet is to set aside at least 1 hour at the end of the day to organize your meetings and follow up as well as prep for the next day. Preparation is key!

Follow-up, Follow-up, Follow-up

I can never say this enough. It goes for business development, sales, marketing and PR alike. Don’t forget the importance of following up. The sooner the better in my experience. We like to follow up no later than the next Tuesday, so plan ahead and have your messaging sequences ready. That’s less work to do when you’re dead tired recovering from a week of CES madness.

Need more help navigating CES as an exhibitor?

Most of us have a love/hate relationship with CES, but no one can argue that we work hard and play hard during this very important week of the year. Don’t worry, if you need help we are here to help you navigate the show in the best way possible. You can book a meeting to discuss CES strategy, need on-site or booth support, please contact us and we’ll build a custom strategy that will get you the best show results possible. We’ll also reveal some juicy tidbits that not everyone knows about. ;).

Make sure you don’t fall behind and download The Silver Telegram’s free Ultimate CES Checklist, which has you starting prep work in November, so let’s get to work.

See you next January!