CES: Optimism Amidst the Chaos

Today's guest post is by Peppercommer Maggie O'Neill.

What do Justin Timberlake, Snooki and 140,000 people have in common this week? Ces-2012They all descended on the Consumer Electronics Show for four days of technology’s best and its predictions for 2012.  As this is my 15th year here- give or take a year or two- I have to report that while it’s chaotic and loud as ever, it does have a slightly different feel to it. 

First, it feels like the year of the entrepreneur.  While players like LG, Samsung and Panasonic bicker in their football field sized booths over whose flat screen is larger and more 3D, the tech entrepreneur is quietly– and not so quietly- showcasing true innovations from robots to flying cars to medical monitoring apps.  And the attendees were taking notice.  

The second observation, despite the onslaught of celebrities, was the show reverted back to its core benefit– building relationships.  The show– as chaotic as it is- reminded me of the power and value of the face-to-face meeting.  Gone are the days of avatar presenters and back are the small couches and intimate meeting spaces.  It seemed that exhibitors are making an effort to talk with, listen to and build something with their customers.

From the perspective of an event marketer, this is a welcome approach.  Yes, the bells and whistles of an exciting and over-the-top product launch are all still there.  I mean Justin Timberlake at a Panasonic event, come on.  But the rumors of the demise of the face-to-face event, the virtual tradeshow- only predictions and all meetings online, seem to be premature.

All good news for business and for marketers, now if only my black jack dealer could get on board with this optimism.

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