CES 2019: Tech that Matters to Marketers

By Dan West (Strategy Director)

We’re only through Q1 of 2019 and we’ve already had two of the biggest technology shows of the year: the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and South By South West (SXSW). As in years prior, these shows were a great gague for the trends that are getting people excited, and the technology that will be shaping our future this year—and for years to come.

To cover both in one blog is a bit much, so lets look at CES first (and SXSW will follow). As it does every year, CES 2019 revealed the latest in TV, camera and household technology. This year’s show also continued last year’s theme of combining combining nostalgia with technology, and saw robots and drones hitting yet another level of sophistication.

Rather than focus on what’s always there, here are my top five new trends from CES 2019 that are particularly exciting for marketers:

1. The rise of the CMO

CES 2019 saw the inaugural CMO Insights Track event. Speakers included top marketers from P&G, Unilever, and Mastercard – and Mastercard even took the opportunity to launch its new brandmark.

For marketers, the top areas of interest at CES were marketing innovation (such as data-driven marketing, personalised media and innovative touchpoints); brand fundamentals (such as customer centricity and storytelling); artificial intelligence; and following closely were 5G and the opportunities presented by the Internet of Things.

2. Voice User Interface

As per SXSW last year, CES became another battle-ground for Amazon and Google to duke it out as the dominant voice platform. With almost every product “compatible with Alexa and Google,” including cars, home appliances and even toilets, you can’t help but feel that marketers need to take voice seriously.

3. 5G

The promise of 5G was everywhere at CES. But why is it important? Well, it offers marketers the potential to communicate with zero latency. 5G will open up a myriad of new applications for cars, smart homes, AR/VR and marketing experiences. Watch this space closely.

4. Intelligent Products

Consumers are increasingly expecting products that operate at a level only possible with technological advancement. Examples of this were rife at CES, including the P&G Opte Wand, John Deere’s AI-powered Harvester and the Intelligent Whirlpool oven. And this is only the beginning. Brands, start looking at what intelligent products you can offer.

5. People and Culture

After the fiasco of “booth babes” at CES 2018, it wasn’t surprising that diversity, inclusion and women in technology where hot topics this year.

However, despite the best attempts of the event-runners, the Consumer Technology Association, they still didn’t get it quite right. One gender equality tactic was to introduce “booth bros”, thereby completely missing the mark… Plus, there were still booth babes included in other parts of the event.

To top it off, an innovation award was revoked from the female-focussed sex toy Ose, despite there being plenty of male sex toys and dolls that appeared perfectly acceptable. This further cements the need for marketers and technologists alike to focus on their progressive approach to marketing and technology in order to succeed in 2019 and beyond.

Date: April 04, 2019