For the first time in the 54-year history of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), attendees will not gather in person to start the calendar year with technological spectacles and innovations. While this means that tech, media, marketing, and advertising industry professionals will not need to travel to Vegas after the vacation, it doesn’t mean it is of no value to attendees – especially given the unusual circumstances we’re in enter the year 2021.
It will of course look and feel very different. To begin with, almost 2,000 exhibitors will take part in the annual fair – less than half of the 4,400 exhibitors who traveled to Vegas for the event last year. Like so many other events and conferences during the pandemic, the Consumer Technology Association, which hosts CES, had to rethink the conference for the Covid era.
Hans Vestberg, CEO of Verizon, will open the event with an inaugural address on 5G – which is expected to be a main theme of the conference as a whole in 2021 – and the opportunities it provides for access to healthcare and education.
During the four-day program, top executives, brands and technology companies in the industry will present their latest technological achievements and discuss how innovations such as AI can best be integrated and how changes in data protection will affect advertisers in more than 200 sessions.
Here are some sessions marketers should look out for.
How tech giants and platforms want to build consumer confidence in 2021
Brands like Apple, Google, Facebook, and Amazon face more than just legal battles as the FTC is scrutinized by the FTC for privacy practices and the Department of Justice for antitrust violations. They are also struggling to keep or regain the trust of their billions of users. On the third day of CES 2021, January 13th, at 8:20 a.m. (CET), Google and Twitter’s data protection officers and Amazon’s director of Amazon Trust will discuss how they want to build consumer confidence this year .
Marketing trends that accelerated during the pandemic
While our daily lives have been very different over the past year, many of the marketing trends that exploded during the Covid-19 pandemic didn’t come out of nowhere. Rather than completely turning trends on their head, the year of quarantine and social distancing simply put a lot of existing trends into overdrive. On January 12th at 10:10 am (CET), John Gerzema, CEO of Harris Poll, will use his company’s Consumer Insight surveys to discuss these trends with marketers from brands like Mastercard, Uber Eats, Bank of America and Anchor TikTok. (Speaking of TikTok, platform superstar Addison Rae will also be at CES on Tuesday to speak with the brand’s global marketing director, Nick Tran, about “democratizing” entertainment.)
How new technologies can build better marketing and reach new audiences
While the craze for artificial intelligence and augmented reality isn’t exactly new, marketers are constantly looking for new and innovative ways to leverage these new technologies and reach consumers in new ways. During a panel on January 13th at 11:40 a.m. (CET) moderated by Megan Greenwell from Wired, top marketers from Delta and CVS will join IBM’s SVP for cognitive applications, blockchain and ecosystems to discuss how these immersive technologies are can help to create ads not only more effective, but also more socially conscious and individual.
In a related panel on Jan. 13 at 10:15 am ET, CMOs from Snap and budget wireless operator Visible will be participating in a Medialink-sponsored conversation about how they are using new technology to reach younger generations of consumers.