I recently returned from the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, and while there were plenty of toys competing for my attention, the most exciting was the amount of work being done on self-driving technology. Prior to the show, I assumed the idea was a bit of a gimmick; a science fiction concept without many practical applications. How wrong I was! It is not just Google and Tesla working out the kinks – all the major auto manufacturers are developing some form of autonomous technology, meaning driverless vehicles are not as distant as I originally thought.
The first versions of these vehicles won’t be truly driverless, but instead operating on more of an autopilot mode, with a human ready to take the reins whenever necessary. Working in the marketing automation industry, I was quick to appreciate the efficiencies of this system. As drivers, we are required to process an impressive amount of information on the road, and based on some of the things I often see during my commute, it’s amazing we reach our destinations as frequently as we do. However, accidents do happen, and it is usually the result of a driver not being able to process all the information required to make the proper decision.
The parallels to the world of marketing are uncanny, and CES 2016 was a perfect example. While driverless technology was distracting, my true goal at CES 2016 was to get a sense of how electronics manufacturers go to market, and what role trade shows play. Despite the title of the show, the majority of the business at CES is B2B, as most consumer electronics manufacturers rely on distributors to bring their products to market. With over 170,000 attendees the potential for new leads was huge – if managed properly.
Given the sheer volume of attendees, and the global spotlight focused on CES, it would be easy to assume that attending the show alone would be enough to launch a product into market. In reality, however, there are simply too many exhibitors, making it incredibly hard to get noticed (or even found). Instead, this trade show, as with any other trade show, is treated as a contact gathering feeding frenzy.
It was great to see that most companies were able to get a lot of contacts through badge scans and generate valuable leads as a result. What really impressed me, however, was the strong interest in marketing technology and automation. This made sense for a few reasons. A quick glance at the crowded event floor was enough for any manufacturer to realize the need to manage and track data. More importantly, though, electronics manufacturers are software experts, and they appreciate its’ powerful potential. As well, most successful electronics manufacturers are already using social media and email marketing effectively, so marketing technology fits nicely into their existing systems, while helping them meet their often aggressive time to market schedules.
This interest in marketing technology made for some great conversations over the course of the week. ActiveConversion has a lot of features and services that help companies maximize their trade show ROI, making an event like CES even more valuable. I was quick to direct people to our whitepaper on using marketing automation with tradeshows, which can be found here.
As busy events like CES illustrate, it is harder than ever for companies to be noticed today. The crowded roads of the marketplace can be difficult to navigate, and not having access to the proper information can be a costly mistake. The technology available today provides marketers in the driver’s seat with a road map to new markets and revenue growth, and helps to ensure they arrive at their destination.
About Fred Yee
Fred Yee is the founder and CEO of ActiveConversion, a company specializing in industrial online marketing, marketing automation, and demand generation. His work with ActiveConversion has helped hundreds of businesses succeed online and expand internationally. Fred was voted by the SLMA as one of the Top 50 Most Influential in Sales Lead Management for two consecutive years, and continues to gain recognition for his work in online marketing.