Cisco had an amazing time at this year’s CES show in Las Vegas.  We announced:

  • Cisco Videoscape Cloud Solutions – to open new revenue sources for service providers, helping them accelerate their business in an Internet of Everything (IoE) environment;
  • Research disclosing $4.6 trillion in public sector market opportunity during the next 10 years;
  • The opening of IoE Innovation Centers in Canada, Germany, South Korea and Brazil to demonstrate IoE solutions and a $100M investment in early-stage companies that are innovating essential advances to enabling technologies of the Internet of Everything.

Cisco hasn’t participated in CES in several years and doesn’t traditionally market to consumers, so how we “showed” up was both a challenge and an opportunity.

Here are the six guiding principles the team used to successfully prepare for this important global event. 

  1. Tell a good story — An audience wants to be entertained. Story telling is important, but ensure you have a powerful message that ties it all together.  Showing great technology while telling a good story always generates the most buzz. At CES, Cisco’s CEO, John Chambers, told our story about the Internet of Everything in three chapters:  First, A day in the life of IoE with a celebrity appearance (see #2); Second, IoE at work in public spaces; and third, IoE at work in private spaces.  John then concluded with a real life story that was close to his heart and demonstrated the social impact IoE will have.  The main message throughout: The Internet of Everything is changing everything. 
  2. Be Entertaining – Humor (well-executed) gets a great response.  Capture the attention of your audience with fun facts or funny people and you will impress the audience.  Cisco partnered with comedian and actress Sarah Silverman. As USA Today described “Silverman appeared in a short video in which she was visited by a version of herself from the future, showing the potential benefits of the Internet of Everything. She opts in and gets lots of new information to help her plan her day and live better.”
  3. Know Your Audience – Know who you are speaking to so as to prepare messages that will forge common ground between you and prospective buyers.  CES is about consumers.  CES presentations are all about what your company is doing for consumers (primarily) and business (secondarily). Our booth showed how IoE will impact consumers ‘on the go’ in a retail environment or at home.  But enterprises of any industry and/or service providers could also see the types of new IoE services they could deliver.
  4. Have Something Real to Say and Announce – Go to CES with a new product or solution that has not been discussed.  If you are going to make an announcement, make it about something that is new and will be useful.  At CES, we served up big IoE announcements and opportunity in a way only we can—all while underscoring the fact that we make it possible.  Once again, we announced:
    • The Internet of Everything (IoE) Public Sector Value at Stake, a $4.6 trillion opportunity now up for grabs over the next 10 years;
    • The new capabilities of our Videoscape Cloud Solutions that are set to help our Service Provider customers advance in the world of IoE; and,
    • That we’ll be opening IoE Innovation Centers in Canada, Germany, South Korea and Brazil to showcase our solutions, and those we build with our partners as well as a new $100M investment fund.
  5. Show it in Action and Let People Experience It – It’s always great to “try before you buy.”  Whether you provide free samples of the product or show it in use, be sure to allow customers to see it in action to help close the deal.  With this in mind, Cisco sponsored the IoE TechZone, showcasing the richer experiences that IoE will bring. Through our innovative technology like Connected Mobile Experience, Remote Expert, In-store Wi-Fi, and Smart Parking.  Our IoE Tech Zone at CES showed IoE in action with a connected home and a connected store plus an incredible crew of experts that showed how we can change a routine trip to the store and make it easier to find parking, navigate the store to find what you want, and find an expert to help you when you need it. On the business side, managers could see how to manage their inventory, provide a significantly better customer experience and staff more efficiently. 
  6. Have Others Support You – Get third-party support from customers or partners to back up what you say and to provide their support.  John Chambers invited several people to join him in his keynote, including Antoni Vives, vice mayor of Barcelona; Rick Smolan, photojournalist and author, and Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO of AT&T Mobility. As mentioned above, we also included a very humorous video and live appearance from comedian Sarah Silverman that showed her getting from her house to Las Vegas, made easier with IoE.

 Using these steps helped Cisco succeed at CES. Let me know what’s worked for you at CES or other events.  Post your comments below or on Twitter at @laurajfay.

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Laura Fay

Vice President

Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC)