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3 Key PR & Marketing Lessons from the 2020 CES

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Every year the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) displays dazzling, futuristic gadgets.

The gigantic trade show offers up-close views and insights on the latest technology gizmos. PR and marketing professionals, in addition to technology aficionados, can find some helpful takeaways from the 2020 CES. Here’s what communications experts are saying about the trade show that just concluded in Las Vegas.

Hottest Product: Privacy

Personalized sex toys and automated bathrooms with robots that deliver toilet paper gained the most media attention. But privacy is the vital emerging product. Google, Facebook, Ring, the home security and video doorbell company owned by Amazon, were among the companies that announced privacy enhancements to products, CNN reports. Tech companies want to show they take privacy seriously to avoid the ire of customers and lawmakers. Likewise, it’s now critical for PR to understand data privacy issues to prevent PR crises involving privacy and safeguard corporate reputations.

In order avoid data overload problems, it’s important for PR and marketing to collect and compile data that complies with privacy regulations and that really matters to their goals and analytics, writes Beki Winchel at PR Daily.

Avoid collecting data that has little marketing value and can raise concerns about privacy. Best to avoid the aroused privacy sensitivity of consumers.

“There is so much to measure—and measuring everything can quickly drown you in data instead of helping you evaluate which campaigns and strategies are working along with what are not,” Winchel advises. “Instead of being data-driven, aim to be data-informed.”

Seek Useful Products

Some observers saw a shift from the flamboyant to the practical, despite media attention to over-the-top products with little added value. More PR and marketing professionals and others are asking “What’s the point?” when evaluating new products. They’re showing more appreciation for products and services that add significant value rather than flash.

“Half of the stuff is in your face and it’s screaming at you,” Michael Miraflor, senior vice president at MediaLin, told Forbes. “But the more interesting booths were the ones where you had to take it a step further than what was displayed.”

The best new internet-connected products stress practical value and add some flash.

Get Ready for 5G

The next generation in cell phone network technology, 5G, will become a reality this year. AT&T and Verizon say their 5G networks will become accessible nationwide this year, and 5G-compatible smartphones will become more prevalent. Mobile phone download times, especially for video, will be remarkably faster. Most all electrical things in the home, office and factory will be connected to the internet and controlled remotely. Most every business will introduce new or enhanced products and services that rely on 5G,

Those products are already well along in development, as seen at CES, though probably not market ready. CMOs must now work even more closely with product development to understand the features and benefits of the connected products – and to convey to product developers the features that will engage consumers.

CMOs should task their teams with understanding the data implications of 5G, notes Laura Schierberl, director of content marketing and communications at Invoca, in Adweek. They don’t want to be behind competitors in nine or 18 months from now.

PR professionals must be prepared to communicate the advantages of the connected products and distinguish their brand’s products from competitors. With the introduction of myriad 5G products in the coming 24 months and the diminishing number of news sources, the competition for media space for product announcements will become even fiercer than usual. PR may have to place greater emphasis on social media, YouTube, and other non-traditional media outlets to promote the new products. Events and consumer experiences may become the new PR staples.

It’s especially important for marketers to understand how 5G will impact advertising creative before the holiday shopping season, says Schierberl. The faster speeds will open new avenues for video and interactive marketing.

Bottom Line: Besides learning about the latest tech gadgets, PR and marketing pros can takeaway lessons about communications and larger technology trends from the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show.