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CatalystAug 2, 2023 1:03:29 PM10 min read

How to Drive the Greatest ROI at CES



The global stage for innovation

CES® is a highly influential and internationally recognized tech event that serves as a platform for showcasing breakthrough technologies and connecting innovators and industry leaders. Organized by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)®, CES encompasses all facets of the technology sector, making it a prime destination for building brand awareness, launching new products, and conducting impactful business collaborations and presentations.


This show is the global stage for innovation, and exhibitors that want to drive the greatest ROI in this environment need to employ 5 key booth development strategies:

1. Know your audience
2. Create a space people want to share
3. Focus on the future
4. Prioritize information design
5. Establish measurable objectives


The Reach of CES

Get in front of more Than

74,000 decision-makers and


Leverage unparalleled

exposure and media coverage

118k total attendance 4,815 total media attendance — 42% representing international news outlets
151 countries, territories and regions represented 221k + stories developed
63% of attendees with a significant buying influence for their organization 13B global reach on Twitter, with 2.35B exhibitors and CES reach on Twitter®
58% of of registered attendees are senior-level* 309M global CES content shown on TikTok®





Narrow the scope of engagement

CES has a reputation for its remarkable chaos, to the extent that traffic lanes have been implemented in the aisles. With an impressive attendance of 118,000, it surpasses most other trade shows, and the primary cause of this chaos stems from the vast array of rapidly-evolving sectors represented at CES. Initially focused on consumer electronics, CES has witnessed significant shifts with the inclusion of automotive, medical, self-driving cars, autonomous AI, drones, and more. Consequently, knowing your audience is a fundamental part of the booth development process. 

To optimize your booth experience, it is essential to design it with your desired audience in mind, considering both the number and type of people you want to connect with. For a specific target group, your booth should be tailored to filter out other attendees. Conversely, if your objective is to generate general awareness while limiting engagement, strategically positioning products facing outward can capture the attention of passersby.




Creating an exclusive interior environment allows you to focus on conducting business with the individuals you genuinely want to engage with, rather than being inundated by the 100,000-plus general consumers present.

It's important to note that, despite not explicitly stated, approximately half of the attendees are likely to be consumers seeking the latest trends. While such individuals are valuable for businesses aiming to raise general awareness, they may not be pertinent if you are looking to sell products to a specific target audience. Your approach should align with your goals and the audience you wish to reach. Emphasizing engagement with the press and media present at the event is often a more effective strategy to reach a larger audience than focusing solely on individual consumers.

Given the diverse sectors and attendees, including consumers, businesspeople, and members of the press, it is crucial to identify your target audience. In our opinion, CES, similar to the late E3, is evolving into a significant press event. Therefore, engaging with the press should be a key part of your strategy.


What Sectors Will Be at CES 2024?

5G, Accessibility, Artificial intelligence, Augmented reality and virtual reality, Cryptocurrency and NFTs, Design, sourcing, and packaging, Digital health, Entertainment, home entertainment, and content, Family, lifestyle, fitness, and wearables, Food technology, Esports and gaming, Marketing and advertising, Robotics and drones, Smart homes and cities, Space technology, Sports technology, Startups, Sustainability, Travel and tourism, Vehicle technology, Web3 and metaverse


Who  Will Be at CES 2024?

Investors and financial community members
C-Level and senior executives
Government officials and policy decision-makers
Industry influencers



CES 2-1


Everything must be shareable

Unlike traditional trade shows, CES lacks specific press days, resulting in approximately 5,000 members of the press attending the event. This includes influencers, bloggers like Gizmo, and individuals from small press organizations. Additionally, social media platforms should be considered within the press category. When engaging with the press, it is essential to create easily shareable content, which could involve catchy phrases, slogans, captivating visuals, and interactive experiences. By ensuring that your content is Instagram-worthy and easily shareable, you can maximize your reach and generate substantial traction.

At CES it is crucial to consider everyone on the show floor as part of the press, regardless of their affiliation with specific publications. While it is important to provide more formal treatment to established media outlets, it is equally essential to recognize the potential of every attendee to share your message. In turn, maximizing the shareability of your content should be a key objective.

 CES Emojis


To ensure your presence at CES is shareable, focus on creating engaging experiences and
compelling content that resonate with a wide audience. By catering to the ever-present smartphone culture, you can leverage the propensity of individuals to share exciting moments on platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and others, thereby amplifying your brand's reach.

While maintaining a level of formality with established media outlets is important, remember that the democratization of content creation has empowered all attendees to become influencers and brand ambassadors. Embrace the notion that everyone has the potential to share your message and make your content compelling enough to ride that momentum.





Tell attendees where the industry’s headed

One of the primary reasons why attendees would want to engage with your brand at CES is because you are focused on discussing the future, rather than the present. Your theme and messaging should revolve around the future of your industry, your product, and your company. This is a significant departure from the past approach at CES, where companies would simply showcase their existing product line and hope for interest from big box stores or potential buyers. Now, it's about capturing the attention of the press and having them talk about your brand in the context of the future, as the future is evolving rapidly and iterating at a much quicker pace.

The press is no longer interested in what you were doing yesterday or your past achievements. Instead, they are looking for companies that are pushing the boundaries of innovation, solving the challenges of tomorrow, and shaping the future of the industry. Your presence at CES should emphasize that you are a forward-thinking company and a reliable partner for the future. It's about showcasing the products and ideas you are currently working on and demonstrating how they fit into the larger vision of the industry.

An excellent example of this future-forward approach can be seen in the automotive hall, where autonomous driving, connected vehicles, electric mobility, and even futuristic concepts like hovering or flying vehicles are showcased. The same holds true for sectors like home office technology and simulation software. The health sector is also gaining prominence at CES, and it is expected to experience significant growth. However, it's important to note that the show hall organization is not always ideal, especially with respect to new or niche industries. You may find health clients positioned next to unrelated exhibitors like phone accessories or mattress companies. Therefore, it becomes crucial to navigate this environment and be mindful of your surroundings to ensure your message aligns with your desired audience.







Prioritize information design

At other trade shows, attendees focus on specific halls or areas of interest, but CES presents a unique experience where attendees explore every hall as a comprehensive two or three-day excursion. Moving from one hall to another, sometimes even using underground transportation like the Tesla taxi way, attendees absorb a wide range of exhibits and industries. It's important to note that your exhibit may not be positioned next to relevant or related industries, such as medical, automotive, or mattress companies.

In such a dynamic and crowded environment, your exhibit must be designed to start a conversation within seconds. With limited time and attention from attendees, you need to convey who you are, what you do, and your expertise within just a few steps. Given the congested aisles, most of the essential information should be displayed overhead. This presents a challenge since people tend to focus straight ahead and may not naturally look up. However, your exhibit must capture their interest at a glance and communicate whether they are interested in what you have to offer. Attendees are constantly on the move, and there might not always be others around who are in the same industry or field as you.

CES Crowd

The communication of your exhibit must be incredibly concise, especially if your brand is lesser known. It needs to be catchy and attention-grabbing, compelling attendees to pause, look, and potentially engage with your booth. However, if you prefer to limit interactions with the general public, avoid creating something that will attract them and make them want to take pictures. It's important to manage the traffic flow effectively while ensuring that attendees understand what your brand offers within seconds. The visual communication and graphic design of your exhibit will play a significant role, and digital elements can be impactful as well.

Regarding digital components, be cautious and purposeful in their use. Simply throwing up a video or using digital displays without a clear purpose will make your booth appear insignificant. Use digital elements to effectively communicate information and engage with attendees, but be aware that going big on digital requires careful planning. Ideally, preparation for digital elements should begin at least six months before the show to ensure relevant and compelling content. While a barcode or simple digital features can serve the purpose, they should align with your goal of communicating your brand identity, expertise, and quality. If digital elements can effectively serve this purpose, they can be a valuable addition to your exhibit. However, if they do not contribute to these goals, it may be best to
focus on other communication strategies.





Establish measurable objectives during booth development

CES provides an excellent opportunity to set up meetings and engage with key accounts. Sales representatives can leverage the show to schedule meetings with important clients and invite high-level executives to the booth, offering them a unique experience tailored to their interests and needs. It's important to differentiate the executive experience from that of the general audience.

The key to success at CES is knowing who you want to talk to, understanding their areas of interest, and determining what they want to accomplish. Amidst the chaos and excitement of the show, it's crucial to maintain a focus on conducting legitimate and serious business. Startups can seek investors, while Fortune 500 companies can connect with analysts. CES remains a business show at its core.

Measuring success at CES can be challenging, and it is essential to define clear metrics. Success can be measured by actual product sales, securing future meetings, or making a lasting brand impression. Some companies gauge success based on the amount of press coverage they receive. By aggregating data from multiple platforms and publications, you can track and measure press impact in real-time. Digital components can be leveraged to aggregate social media posts with relevant hashtags, displaying the excitement and allowing for tracking of press engagement. ROI can be elusive at trade shows, mainly because the desired


CES Meeting


Working with an exhibit company can help achieve these goals if they are well-defined. Simply focusing on aesthetics or digital components without aligning them with specific objectives will not lead to favorable outcomes. Further, standing out at CES can be expensive, so it is vital to have a clear understanding of what you aim to accomplish. Whether it's generating awareness, attracting analysts, launching products, or seeking investors, ensure your business goals are at the forefront. In the realm of business at CES, it's essential to have a clear focus.


Partner with an exhibit company that can help you navigate the unique challenges and opportunities at every show.

CES 2024, as the world's leading tech event, is set to have a profound impact on the business landscape, and it is a must-attend trade show for any organization in the consumer electronics space CES keynoters have consistently witnessed significant stock price increases after making announcements, as well as a bump in international business connections and opportunities. Those results, however, were largely a result of working with an exhibit partner that knew how to optimize its marketing space in alignment with the brand narrative and goals.

CES 2024 is anticipated to shape the future of the consumer electronics industry and provide valuable insights, collaborative opportunities, and a glimpse into the dynamic industries it represents. Catalyst Exhibits has the resources and expertise it takes to get noticed at CES, and it has driven ROI for its consumer electronics customers year after year.