Last week I received a friendly email from CTA reminding me to book my hotel for CES 2018.  If you are anything like me, this email was met with a blend of anxiety, excitement and exhaustion. It’s June. Isn’t it really too soon to start prepping for an event that’s seven months away?  I’m afraid not folks.

There are in fact things you should be doing now in order to ensure you can enjoy your winter holidays and breeze into Las Vegas relaxed and prepared in the New Year (okay, well at least you’ll be prepared).

First and foremost, if you don’t already have a strategy, now is the time to get to work. Looking ahead to your 2018 marketing communications plan, what role will CES 2018 play? What will be your key marketing objectives at the show? Is there a news announcement or new product announcement that you could move up or push back to align with the event timing? What industry trends or perspectives do you anticipate will have an impact on the narrative in January? How does your company’s technology fit into the marketplaces?  Start asking these questions of your teams and ensure these conversations are happening now to avoid an early fall scramble.

New for 2018 will be a spotlight on Smart Cities. This will include a full conference program and dedicated smart city exhibit area. If you’re working in the fields of artificial intelligence systems, sensors, data analytics, transportation, network infrastructures, and other devices and services to enable a smart city– this is the place for you.

Once you have your objectives and strategic direction outlined, here are a few tactical actions to get a head start on:

1.      Submit a speaker – The 2018 call for speakers is now open. Get familiar with the process, take a look at the themes and begin collecting the information necessary.  You can also sign up to be alerted when the call for speakers is open.

2.      Innovation Awards – You have a bit more time on this, but be sure your product teams are on track. The call for entries opens August 7, 2017, but don’t wait until then. Start reviewing the entry qualifications and get up to speed on with the selection process now!

3.      Ancillary events – CES is more than just the conference and exhibit. There’s a NY Unveiled preview event, CES unveiled in Las Vegas, and of course Pepcom, Showstoppers and more. Now is also the time to start planning and scoping locations for your own press or customer events. Dinners, cocktail hours, and parties are great ways to ensure you get that all-important quality time with your most important stakeholders away from the craziness of the show floor.

Finally, maybe most importantly, start shopping for comfortable shoes and ensure you’ve budgeted for the super-deluxe, extra foam padded carpet in your booth.

Want to learn more about how to make your consumer product stand out at CES? Call us.