How Agency Marketers Can Get The Most Out Of CES

There were 4,000 vendors at and around CES. How did Convergent Media Group CEO Rob Anderson find the right ones to check out?

Even for agency marketing veteran CES-goers like Convergent Media Group CEO Rob Anderson still finds the annual tech event a bit overwhelming.

Even for larger marketing agencies, navigating among the 177,393 attendees across 2.47 million net square feet of exhibit space containing 3,887 exhibitors would take a small army to cover, even if one does manage to narrow their interests to certain verticals.

Anderson turned to CEO of Consumers in Motion Group ( Dan Hodges who created Custom Curated Experiences to help busy executive navigate industry events.

“It started with Dan asking me well before the show: what do you want to accomplish at CES? What are your areas of interest? What are your plans for 2017, 2018, 2019 that we might be able to plant the seeds here to see if something is viable for you and as an agency,” Anderson told GeoMarketing during a CES guided tour that touched on LG’s “smart closet” (a personal dry cleaner that fits in the home or would be ideal for a hotel room), connected cars by non-automakers like Panasonic, and connected “smart fridges” by Samsung.

CES Tour in progress: Convergent’s Rob Anderson, GeoMarketing’s David Kaplan, and a rep for LG discuss the “smart closet.” Photo credit: Dan Hodges

Once the questions about goals are decided, Hodges curates the entire event for CMG based on his business objectives identifying exhibitors that he has looked into and established relationships to begin a discussion. In that sense, it’s “vetting-plus” by establishing a clear point of discussion beyond an intro.

For Anderson, the idea is not to come away merely interested in the theoretical possibilities of a CES-presented technology. It’s about coming away with something tangible and meaningful immediately after.

“We have a client that could produce a joint marketing effort right now with the connected closet,” Anderson said. “As an agency, we could do a deal today.”

Convergent does more than run advertising. It helps produce apps, software, and in some cases, it develops firmware for its clients to connect all aspects of a tech function together.

“We’re at CES because we need to know what companies in the space, whether potential partners or competitors, are doing so that we can help navigate our client through their next campaign and beyond,” Anderson said. “After talking with Dan and reviewing the meetings, it allows me to compress a lot of homework and meetings into a few short days. I accomplished four months of business development in three days working with Dan and his team.

“I have a lot of things on my plate — I have three companies to run, four offices, 22 clients operating 72 counties, and with all the multitude of distractions,” Anderson added. “So this helps me sift through the clutter.”

Hodges described his routine as “a four-step process.” First, his company helps identify goals and objectives of a client. Then we interview each company and provide clear goals and objective from both parties in advance of the meeting. They use an existing database that has an evaluation and rundown of all the CES companies exhibiting. The engagements run from half days for four days depending on the clients agenda. After the tour is over, they do an analysis and review and next actions of what was seen.

The big takeaway from CES 17 for Anderson was voice activation.

“The integration of audio is so important,” Anderson said “If you’re one of Convergent’s clients, Samsung’s smart fridge represents an important platform. With the Mastercard integration that was struck last year, you can order right from the fridge by voice or touch, such as detailing a shopping list to Fresh Direct for home delivery. If you’re a packaged goods marketer, you have a presence inside the refrigerator that can be leveraged for marketing purposes as well. There’s a lot we can do to connect our clients’ marketing efforts to right now. And that’s key for us.”