Tuesday, December 18, 2007

2008 International CES Fast Approaching; E-Mail Pitches Arrive in Droves

The 2008 International CES is fast approaching, and anyone in the consumer electronics industry knows that it's a must-attend event, serving as the launchpad for some of the biggest technologies of the year.

Occupying an impressive 1.8 million square feet of exhibit space in Las Vegas, NV, it's no wonder that manufacturers have a difficult time rounding up members of the media and potential retailers to come see their wares. Weeding through my e-mail inbox over the past few weeks, I've noticed some interesting ways that companies and PR reps go about trying to get our attention, and thought I'd share some of them with you.

Most will get straight to the point with a subject line that reads: "meeting request at CES" or "CES briefing" or "can we set up an appointment?". Clear, concise, makes sense. Sometimes I'll get an e-mail that says "You're Invited": now who wouldn't open an e-mail that was clearly extending an invitation? Upon opening, it simply says you're invited to "come see our booth." OK, so it's not really some sort of cool, exclusive invite. But it did pique my interest (and likely the interest of other recipients), so congrats to them.

Others, however, use more creative methods to get a reader's attention. My favourite e-mail of the lot carried the subject line: "Attack of the CES PR People, Run For Your Life". The body of the e-mail simply went on to discuss the major announcements and booth locations of each of the PR firm's clients. But hey, at least they got my attention, right? Another one succinctly stated "CES Invitation: 7 Companies, 1 E-mail". In the matter of a subject line, this sender was able to convince me that there was a justifiable reason for looking at his message: I would get information on not only one company, but seven companies for the price of one! Kudos to these guys for thinking outside of the box.

I don't sympathize with exhibitors at this time of year. It can't be easy to try to convince people to come to your booth out of a choice of 2,699 others. To be honest, I really don't know that there is a tried and true method to get someone's attention with an e-mail pitch; especially when they're being flooded with hundreds of e-mail, phone call, and even snail mail pitches. My best advice to anyone attending, either in the media, investor, retail community, or otherwise, is 1)divide and conquer. You can cover more ground by splitting your resources among key areas. 2) take note of a few "must-see" booths based on what you know is coming down the pike and pitches you received ahead of time; 3) make time to walk the floor freely so you can search for some hidden gems; and finally, 4) wear comfortable shoes!

I look forward to checking out the latest and greatest in technology at next year's event. And for those in the consumer electronics industry, don't forget to attend Canada Night 2008 in the Roman Ballroom in Caesar's Palace on Tuesday, January 8 starting at 6 p.m. We hope to see you there!

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