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January 27, 2017
CES, the conference formerly known as “the Consumer Electronics Show”, has been the playground of technology
enthusiasts for 50+ years. Calling it a “really big show” is an understatement. It is the BIGGEST consumer
electronics show in the world, attracting thousands of international companies to launch their newest and coolest
products– attracting ~180,000 people to Las Vegas, all within a four-day period.pvtplusces
Our experience at CES was extremely positive. We’ve scribed a few things that went very well for us and hope that
other startups will benefit from our knowledge.
EyeQue began planning our participation at CES 2017 about 8 months prior. After receiving the innovations award, we
were more motivated than ever to make our debut a remarkable experience, for both visitors and staff. From booth
design to free goodies, we had many ideas, big and small: How big should our booth be? What giveaways will be more
meaningful to our visitors? What should our backdrop look like and what messages should we convey? One giant flat
screen or two? The possibilities were endless. Stick with your budget! We even built a cardboard mock up of the
booth to scale to better visualize the décor and experience.
We decided early on to create a relaxing experience for visitors who walk long miles and are probably tired of seeing
rows upon rows of ultra-modern shiny gadgets. After months of discussion and plenty of imagination, we were
extremely pleased to see our completed booth– a beautiful outdoor theme with blue sky, sunshine and a field of
poppies, the opposite of what visitors were experiencing. We invested in triple-padded cushy Astroturf flooring, and
pure white furniture, all cues pointing to a Zen-like experience in a hall of chaos.
The goodies we handed out were hand-picked for their association to our brand and what we do, but also kept in mind
what a visitor would enjoy. Eye candy, aka mints with our EyeQue logo printed on the wrapper, were a big hit.
CES-giveaways.jpgPeople wanted to grab them by the handful to get them through the day. Our eyeglass lens clothes,
(cleans your lenses, for those who do not wear glasses), was another very popular item at the show. Visitors were
absolutely delighted, noting that they “could always use one” on hand. As we try to standout in a sea of free
giveaways, the most expensive ones may not always be the one people appreciate the most and keep the longest.
In the middle of our 10×20 exhibit space was a large demo table, adorned with shiny Android, iPhones, and EyeQue
miniscopes. Armed with smiles and enthusiasm, our staff at the event greeted each visitor and assisted as they took
demo vision tests, right in our booth. Each demo took about 5 minutes to administer and each visitor had the VIP
treatment, with a personal EyeQue staff instructor to answer questions. With clear and straightforward directions,
nearly everyone received estimates of their eyesight, despite the hustling bustling show floor environment. People
were audibly impressed by the accuracy and left in awe with how far technology has come.
This one is a no-brainer, but probably the most important thing to keep in mind. Since the hours are long and
exhausting, minding the details will help keep your booth staff in their best shape possible. We made sure that we
had ample bottles of water at the booth and frequently reminded each other to stay hydrated. We brought lunch to the
booth so no one had to wait in line while they took their break. We had early dinners to make sure the team had
enough time to enjoy themselves and get enough sleep. This all comes down to better booth performance and more
engaged people. When your staff is happy and rested, they are smiling, talkative, and will make the best connections
with those visitors and potential business partners.
Bonus: We splurged for the CTA membership and were pleased to find this perk. CTA hosted a a private members-only
lounge close to our booth that was stocked with coffee, snacks, and fruit. It provided a perfect morning meeting
spot and quiet break area. There were also private meeting rooms for important on-the-spot conversations, which we
took advantage of for some pre-scheduled meetings that outgrew our booth space.
We began planning nearly a year in advance and the holidays were merely blips between the accelerated CES pre-show
prep schedule. We attended the CES Unveiled event two days prior to the official show opening to pre-view our
product and celebrate our Best of Innovations award among the press and media. We set up our booth and gathered
supplies for the week and then headed into the whirlwind of show floor hours and pre-scheduled and ad-hoc business
meetings. We packed up, shipped out and flew home, but CES did not end there.
We have hundreds of leads to follow up on. From press and media, buyers and distributors, manufacturing reps,
investors and fellow innovators, we’ve had to quickly shift into card sorting and follow up strategy, while nursing
the eminent CES colds. The flow of traffic to our website and post-CES media coverage has been steady and reminds
us, for anyone justifying their tradeshow budget, CES is an investment that stretches far beyond the tradeshow