OPINION: Over the last eight years or so, CES has become a time to re-engage with people in the media landscape and to shake off the cobwebs from holiday breaks.
I wanted to take a second to recognise the hard work done last week by the illustrious folks engaged in the battle for good PR, facing enormous challenges as they try to engineer marketers’ big ‘coming out’ week.
During CES, as well as for most of the year, much of the press focuses on the big companies and what they’re doing: creating bigger, brighter TVs and cooler, more integrated operating systems that transform your car or your refrigerator or your watch into the ‘next big, connected thing’.
There’s also about a thousand smaller companies trying to launch new products and get some modicum of attention paid to them, and CES week is their one big chance to make a name for themselves. It’s not easy.
PR can be the magic bullet that enables these new products to get coverage, but PR has become the ‘white whale’ for any good marketer. It’s your Moby Dick. You know you need it and you know it will help, but you don’t know how to find it. The tides have to deliver it to you — and even though you can plot a course and hopefully meet it when it appears, it may never come to fruition. You could have a series of near-hits and mostly misses for years upon years.
Comes down to relationships
PR requires a lot from a marketer. You will see morning TV shows and online bloggers alike all converge on Las Vegas in an attempt to cover new devices. They create endless billions of impressions but mostly will be covering the same 15-20 products. On the other end, you have marketers trying to engage with these people and convince them that their product is worthy of coverage.
These marketers will lay out detailed influencer marketing strategies, and they will schedule one-on-ones, and they will do all sorts of targeted marketing.
It all comes down to relationships and whether they can get someone to pay attention for 30 seconds. It might come down to an introduction or an offhand cocktail meeting at the lobby bar. Maybe a shared connection who says, “check this out”; maybe a meeting that gets cancelled at the last minute and leaves someone walking around with five minutes to spare.
PR has always been an art form, but these days — and specifically at CES — it has become legend. It is like a classical symphony that was created a hundred years ago, but never written down so subsequent generations are stuck trying to determine exactly how the piece is played.
I hope you marketers with a device or a gadget to be pushed last week had the best of luck getting in front of the people you want to meet. I hope it went well and you were successful.
Me? I was at home, doing what I need to do to pretty much create the same outcome, but without braving the hordes and pretending to play the game among 150 000 of our closest friends. I will simply read the top ten lists that get published all week and see what cool gadgets I will want by year’s end.
Cory Treffiletti is chief marketing officer at Voicera. He has been a thought leader, executive and business driver in the digital media landscape since 1994. In addition to authoring a weekly column on digital media, advertising and marketing since 2000 for Mediapost‘s Online Spin, Treffiletti has been a successful executive, media expert and/or founding team member for a number of companies and published a book, Internet Ad Pioneers, in 2012.