Exhibition Organizer Best Practice Approach of Digital Media Integration – How CES Does It

By Karen Chupka, Senior Vice President of Events and Conferences, Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)

Ms. Karen Chupka’s guest blog post offers an excellent example of how to effectively use digital media in exhibition marketing in a way that enhances an event’s communications, makes participant onsite experiences fuller and extends the conversation with constituents year-round. To learn more about current trends in the use of digital media in exhibition marketing, pull down the Digital Playbook report.

International CES  is the world’s gathering place for all who thrive on the business of consumer technology. CES represents the entire tech ecosystem and draws more than 150,000 attendees. We place a high value on our digital strategy, and engagement is the cornerstone of that strategy. Engagement provides us crucial opportunities to connect with our core audiences– International CES attendees, exhibitors and members of Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), the association that produces the International CES.
The experience of attending a trade show like CES is all about interaction. We say that CES is an experience that engages all five senses. As a result we use digital media to extend this interaction at CES – from our website www.cesweb.org to our social media interactions to the experience the attendee has on the show floor. Each of these touch points gives us an opportunity to further engage with our audience and get to know them better.

This year more of our attendees were using smart phones and tablets to access our websites and social media sites.  As a result of this, we decided to adopt a mobile-first perspective. Our website is designed so that users can have the same navigational experience whether they access via their desktop or their smart phone.  To keep our attendees coming back to our website, we populate it with new content year round so that CES can continue their experience beyond the show floor.  Attendees can access streams of conference sessions, videos from the show floor as well as information about the upcoming events.

Another important digital tool for preplanning and onsite is our CES app. The app preloads information like maps, exhibitor listings, conference info and an event schedule so that attendees can access the information whether they have a signal on their device or not.

We have a robust social media plan that engages our fans and followers all year long.  This helps us build a sense of community and also gives us the opportunity to have a dialogue with our attendees. If someone tweets about an issue with registration or finding a hotel, we can immediately tweet back and help the customer. We engage our speakers in our social media efforts by asking them to tweet about our show, write a blog or host a Google hangout.

Onsite, social media takes center stage on the CES show floor through our Social Media Command Center (SMCC). CES attendees can walk right up to the SMCC and get a first-hand look at what brands, keynote speakers, locations or CES related items are trending in the social-sphere. At the 2014 CES, we saw our official hash tag (#CES2014) trend on Twitter making more than two billion impressions across the globe. This was due to us integrating our social media strategy into as many aspects of CES as possible. These feeds helped attendees find out in real time what was making news at CES.

Our social media programs opened up new sponsorship opportunities via special events like our Social Hour or the social vending machine, which garnered much attention at CES.

Digital is integrated into everything we do for the International CES. As a major global technology event, it is important that we leverage technology in ways that our attendees and exhibitors want us to. Meeting the needs of our attendees is what keeps pushing us each year to get more innovative. Digital media gives us many ways to stay engaged with our customers.  It is now at the core of our promotional and information strategy. I cannot wait to see what we come up with for the 2015 CES!

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