We sat down with Unruly’s SVP of Agency & Client Development Jeff Minsky last week to learn how to make the most of your time at CES. Jeff gave insight into why he loves attending the show and how a consumer electronics show has become relevant to the advertising industry.
This week we share the second half of our conversation with Jeff, where he shares his tips for making the most of CES 2017.
What do you recommend to clients when thinking about CES?
What I recommend to clients first and foremost is they have a plan. But I also recommend enough time to walk the floor. Go to the CES website, which has a guide to the entire expo, as well as the Aria, which opened an advertising and marketing section. If you don’t have time, we can help and set it up for you – but be sure to customize what you want to get out of it. Do you want to see the connected home area? Are you more interested in fitness tech? Are you looking to see what’s going on globally?
I think you also want to prioritize things that mean something for your business, beyond just what your personal interests are. So, yes, if you have time and want to look at things that you’re curious about, do that. But there might be things that will be much more applicable to your business and you need to get that out of the way first.
If you have a chance to sit in on one of the keynotes, they’re free to anyone who has an Expo Floor Pass. They are generally big productions, certainly the opening night keynote. Those are key and set the tone. You need to get in line at least two hours beforehand to guarantee a seat, but it’s worth it.
One other thing I tell clients is to wear comfortable shoes. Everyone laughs when I say it, but I’m not joking. It’s hard concrete that you’re walking on.
What do you tell them to avoid?
Avoid the $100 craps tables.
Don’t leave the convention center floor at 4:30pm. You’ll be in a two-hour line for a taxi. I’m anticipating this year will be a strong year, so there will be a lot of attendees.
I always tell marketers and clients to bring snacks with them because if you’re on the convention center floor, the line to get a slice of pizza is an hour and a half – almost as long as it takes to get a pair of Snapchat Spectacles.
Other than that, it’s Vegas, so don’t underestimate the time it takes to get from point A to point B. Just walking through the hotel is about 20 minutes, so keep that in mind when you’re going to different places.
What’s your big prediction for CES 2017?
2017 CES is going to be really interesting. I don’t anticipate anything revolutionary being announced, although we apparently will see a prototype for the car from Faraday Labs – an automated car that is supposedly a competitor to Tesla.
I think we will see the evolution of the smart home and the Internet of Things. The big question mark is will we see the current generation of AI – such as Siri, Cortana, Alexa, or OK Google – built into television sets, fridges, or anything that could anthropomorphise devices that you never thought would have a personality. That will be intriguing to me. If we don’t see it this year, I think we’ll see it the following year.
I also think we will see some interesting things with virtual reality. CES has not typically been a VR show, but as VR is making its way more into the mainstream, I anticipate we’ll see more than we’ve ever seen.
Can you give some examples some big CES launches that were huge successes and some that were major flops?
What’s very interesting about CES in the past is that there were a number of over-hyped products. And everyone came out saying it was going to be the next big thing. For example, there was a Palm phone that never came out. Then there was an HP phone that was able to dock into a laptop. The phone would be the brains of the laptop. That got a lot of hype, but that went nowhere. There’s always one or two things that is expected to be the gadget of the future. There was a ring that allowed you to control things by wearing it that got a lot of attention, but it went nowhere.
That’s the hype. Don’t get caught up in the hype of CES. Look at what’s building and what’s shrinking. What are the elements that are meaningful to your business that can scale? Or what are things that you can use? What’s beautiful about walking through the halls of CES is that you can walk and find something at a small booth that no one has discovered yet and realize it could be something big in a few years.
The point of CES is to be inspired. The point of CES is to see all the innovation that is going on and to see that there are more people that are taking the technologies that have progressed to a certain point and building even further on them. And coming up with great new ideas that benefit us hopefully in a strong way and allow us to market more efficiently. Or certainly produce better data.
It seems as though there is now an app for everything from smart luggage to smart homes. How do you think all this data collected will affect tech in the future?
I think in addition to having all this data, we are now getting to a point where we have AI to help us sort through it all. I love data but you always need to remember that data is constantly evolving. Just like every stock prospectus says, past performance is not always indicative of the future. It’s important to be data informed but not data-centric.
The insights from the data are the real nuggets that will help marketers make smart decisions. It’s great we have this data, but without a human element that asks how this applies to strategy, what is the true insight this data is telling me? Not the tree, but the forest… that’s where that data becomes incredibly useful.
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Take a spin through the Las Vegas Convention Hall with Unruly’s tech expert. See what your ad delivery devices will look like so you can make an impact in 2017! Book a tour here.