The first in-person pro AV trade show in North America since 2019 recently wrapped up — but what was it like for marketers at that show, and what can they glean from interactions with integrators? Editors from our sister site CE Pro recently sat down to talk CEDIA 2021 highlights for tech marketers.
General impressions from the show
Jason Knott, Chief Content Officer, CE Pro: I think the companies that were at the show, just by the mere fact that they continue to attend the show, demonstrated how important they believe trade shows are to their marketing
This clearly was the easiest show ever for companies to say, ‘trade shows are not worth it,’ but the companies that were still there were there and they stuck to it.
One other thing I think is vital is just shows you how important the tradeshow is to new companies. So the innovation hubs still had, I believe, the majority of the companies who had signed up for it, there were several other companies that that I met with that were either new to the industry, or they had new management or new ownership. So they really felt it was important to get that that newness message out at the show.
Arlen Schweiger, executive editor, CE Pro: It really was a great show for kind of those smaller- to medium-sized companies and some of the startups. And some companies were telling me that they participated last year as virtual event, this as their first Expo, but this was actually their first in-person Expo, so they were really excited.
For them, it was important to be at the show, after integrators saw them online last year, but now here they were, able to see these products in person.
What marketers did differently this year
JK: Several of the exhibitors I spoke with, they did downsize their booths. So I thought that that was a pretty smart tactic to downsize not only the booth size, but also their staff to accommodate the size of the of the show that was going to be much smaller.
I think it’s really important for companies not just to show the products that they have on the market, but also the showcase their pilot and beta products. And I saw a lot of that at the show, where they were saying, ‘Hey, here’s our product that’s out on the market for a while, but let us show you the stuff that’s not yet out on the market.’
It gives them the opportunity to talk about their product roadmap with those integrators face to face, get feedback from them.
The one thing I will say is, I think, especially in the technology space that not a lot of integrators are going to actually spec that product as a beta product until they’ve actually had a chance to either put it in their showrooms, or put it in their own homes and test it.
What was emerging
AS: I was looking at a lot of companies that were getting into wellness, getting into lighting fixtures, more motorized shades, things a lot on the design side. But the big messages that they need to continue and that they were telling their integrators were more about how they’re how their nascent and emerging technologies are going to be able to integrate with legacy control solution providers out there.
Anything that has remote services, that kind of angle, how they’re going to open up new revenue streams, obviously, this was a particularly big thing, when you’re going back to companies like lighting fixtures and wellness, cybersecurity, things like that are really ways for integrators to go back to existing clients.
When I was looking at some of the lighting fixture companies, they’re very big on having design services. And so that takes something that’s a part of the process that an integrator, if they’re busy working in that end, and don’t really have the document for it, or don’t have someone on staff, it’s a huge efficiency for them to be able to work with a vendor who’s supplying those kinds of services.\
Importance of marketing around the supply chain issue
JK: One other thing that I thought was interesting regarding this supply chain crunch situation was that I did talk to several vendors who made a specific point to talk about how their product was made in the USA, and that they had product in stock and available because they were really trying to differentiate from some of the other companies that are sourcing from overseas.