Virtual Techfluence at CES 2021

CES is virtual this year, just like the accompanying and independent product showcases -- Pepcom, ShowStoppers, CES Unveiled and Techfluence. This shift to cyberspace creates fresh opportunity to lead this category. Last week we spoke with the least known of the four brands -- Techfluence -- which hopes to reinvent the show-within-a-show CES experience.

Entrepreneur Barry Myers and freelance tech journalist Alfred Poor co-manage the Techfluence brand. Both worked for the original Ziff-Davis Publishing Co. back in the day. In recent years Barry produced the Last Gadget Standing event held annually at CES.

In September Barry and Alfred produced their first Techfluence event. Here's how a Techfluence web page describes the virtual experience:

To get to your booth, an attendee simply clicks on your logo on the main page. When they’re done visiting with you, they exit back to the main page and select another exhibitor to visit. This design allows the press to “roam the floor” just like they would at a live event. 

Here's how the front door looked in the September event and here were some of the participating exhibitors:

Here's a sampling of the journalists who registered:

Harry McCracken, Fast Company (CA)
Helena Stone, GEEKSPIN (NY)
James Gaskin, IoTPlaybook.com (TX)
Jeremy Kaplan, Digital Trends (NY)
Joe Osborne, Business Insider (NY)
Josh Kirschner, Techlicious (NY)
Judie Stanford, Gear Diary (TX)
Ken Blakeslee, WebMobility Ventures (UK)
Lance Ulanoff, Lifewire (NY)

As for exhibitors, yes, they hope to get coverage for their products. At a product showcase IRL, it has always been a crapshoot -- journalists sometimes attend just to see their friends and feast on the coconut shrimp. If your product is cool and belongs to a greater trend or two, you might get edit hits. What you don't usually get are details on which journalists came to your booth, how long they stayed and what they did while they were there.

In a virtual world, it's all about the data.

"[Exhibitors] know which content items a reporter viewed, who they chatted with on video... all the granularity is there," says Alfred Poor. "And you can download it all into a spreadsheet." Alfred built the Techfluence platform by augmenting On24 with Zoom, which provides the video chat capabilities.

Next month's Techfluence event takes place on Jan. 6, five days before CES officially opens on the 11th. Here's the schedule for the other showcases:

CES Unveiled, Jan. 5

ShowStoppers, Jan. 6 (a live press conference event but not interactive)

Pepcom, Jan. 11.

These showcase franchises thrive in great measure because they let reporters file "show copy" in advance, when reader and EIC anticipation is running high. There's also a lot of leverage in catering to freelance journalists, who can attend a showcase and spin slightly different takes for multiple publications -- giving exhibitors "more than one hit per journalist."

Find the Techfluence rate card here

Interested in placing a speaker at the Techinfluence event -- at no cost? Click here.

[Ed. note: the Techfluence event is represented by Lightspeed PR, a paid SWMS subscriber.]