Last week’s CES in Las Vegas was, as usual, amazing. For marketers and techies, it’s Disneyworld and the Super Bowl wrapped up in four days of sights, sounds, and glimpses into the future of technology. Companies plan budgets and their future on this event. It’s a chance for them to show off their gadgets, to schmooze with curious attendees and onlookers, and to shake as many hands as possible to seal deals and secure relationships. At least, that’s the idea.
Imagine my surprise— no, utter shock and disbelief— when, while visiting several booths with genuine interest in what they were showcasing, I was not greeted, much less acknowledged. (I estimate that roughly half of the booths I visited failed to engage me.) Granted, I’m not the President and I’m not the Pope, but I AM a potential customer/business partner with a wealth of business experience and contacts that could be a mutually beneficial association between the company and the company I represent. (If they ignored me, you can bet the house that they ignored others perusing their area.)
I could have been on a mission to invest millions in product X; these companies had no idea whether I was looking to learn more or looking for a business partner. Why not play it the smart way and engage ALL parties who visit and/or wander near your display?
After all, it ain’t cheap to host a booth at this world-famous expo, so why waste time and money by ignoring visitors to your area? That’s like paying for front row seats at a Paul McCartney concert but spending the entire time eating nachos in the concourse area. Sure, you hear the music (albeit muddled and echoed) but you miss the whole point of why you splurged on those seats: the chance to be near one of rock’s most influential personas and to enjoy the spectacle of the show up close.
In my world, if you aren’t meeting people and shaking hands, the other guys and gals are— and they’re sealing deals and making contacts that could be fruitful in the future for all involved. By not being social, I’m potentially losing millions. That isn’t acceptable to me, and that isn’t the way to make your business successful.