Getting a Grip at CES: The Importance of Hands-On Marketing

Getting a Grip at CES -- The Importance of Hands-On Marketing

Would you buy a car without taking it for a test drive? There are exceptions, of course, but in most cases, the answer would be “no.”

You’d want to get a feel for how the vehicle handles or whether it has room for your family. Does it have a solid, sturdy construction or does it feel cheap? Ultimately, you’re trying to determine whether it will fit your needs. Only then can you begin investigating all the other myriad factors that go into making an informed purchase. But none of that matters if you don’t like the product once you’ve gotten your hands on it.

For marketing and sales professionals, one of the most effective ways to communicate your product or service to the prospect is to let them use or demo it early in the decision-making process.

By nature, trade shows, live events, and brand activations afford themselves to immersive, hands-on experiences. More and more brands are leveraging these types of events in an effort to help consumers fall in love with their brand by allowing them to test drive the latest and greatest. This was readily apparent at last week’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

CES is one of the largest trade shows in the world, featuring more hands-on technology demonstrations and experiences than you’re likely to see at any other singular event.

Here are several examples of hands-on marketing activations showcased at CES 2017:


- The Gibson Brands experience at CES allowed attendees to pick up any one of 50 different guitars, don some headphones and rock out to their heart’s content. By giving their guests a tangible way to try out their extensive line of iconic guitars in one fell swoop, Gibson streamlined – and most likely accelerated – the buying cycle.


BMW offered actual test drives where attendees could cruise the latest models around the streets of Las Vegas.


Sony let attendees try a new line of noise-cancelling headphones by sitting them inside a mock commercial jet, complete with engine noise and the sound of a baby crying.


GoPro encouraged visitors to take the controls of their Karma drone, try the latest editing software or walk around the booth with one of their new video stabilization camera grips.

It’s evident that hands-on marketing works and should be part of your marketing mix. Whether at an exhibition, as part of a live event or incorporated into a consumer brand activation—figure out a creative way to let your customers get their hands on your brand.

Need assistance with that last part? Then contact GES to learn how we can help drive results with your next event, exhibit or brand experience!


About the Author

Amy Kelley

Amy is the Global Digital Content Marketing Editor at GES. With a strong background in content marketing, social media, and communications, she is a passionate writer and self-confessed word geek. She is also the founder of a non-profit and a health and wellness online community.

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