The exposure is tremendous: 140,000 attendees and 5,000 members of the press. But the costs are steep. Really steep.
The world's biggest tech show comes to a close today. Some 140,000 people attended. The exhibits stretched over 1.86 million net square feet. Think you want to join the madness at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show?
I asked an exhibitor (who wished to remain nameless) what it costs to join the likes of Sony, Intel, Microsoft, Toshiba, Panasonic and hundreds of other tech brands at CES. He says it's a bit like planning a wedding, so start saving now.
$20,000: Space on the convention center floor
$50,000: Booth rental
$20,000 - $30,000: Booth design
$5,000: Booth set-up
$5,000 - $10,000: Product giveaways for show attendees
$5,000 - $10,000: Staff expenses
$2,000 - $4,000: Travel expenses
$1,000: Wi-Fi access (that's per day and it ain't that great)
Want to meet the press? That can go as high as $10,000.
And keep in mind, this is not for a big booth. This is for an average-sized display, for a company doing several million a year in revenue.
Would you spend $150,000 to be at CES? If you would, make sure that investment is worth it. Post-CES follow through is what's key. Follow up with any investment and press people you met at the show. And make sure to stay in touch with any potential major buyers. Don't have a PR company? Consider hiring one for the show, as you'll likely lose out on the coverage you really need if you don't have someone helping you manage your presence.
Most importantly, make absolutely certain your product is up to snuff. CES is not the setting for half-baked ideas.
If you're just starting out and the above costs are out of reach, another option for first-time exhibitors is Eureka Park, a space located in the Venetian hotel (not the convention center) dedicated specifically to start-ups. There, a 10x10 foot booth will run about $1,000. But you'll still pay for all the incidentals: Wi-Fi, booth set-up, etc. Want to offer attendees some cookies at your booth? That will be $48 a dozen.
Would you pay the costs to show off your company at CES?
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ILYA POZIN is the founder of Open Me, a social greeting card company. He founded his first company, Ciplex, a digital marketing and creative agency catering to small businesses and start-ups, at age 17. @ilyaNeverSleeps