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RAB Sales Tips

At CES, it's not about the gadgets anymore

CES used to be thought of as a gadget show, but now it's become an inspiration. Last week, I had the privilege of attending my eighth CES convention in Las Vegas. Over the years, we've seen a transition away from gadgetry and more toward the user experience, implementing tech to solve problems and creating immersive experiences.

From the John Deere tractor that is smart enough to find weeds and spray weed killer only on that plant, to planting each individual seed in optimal conditions to maximize growth, John Deere is using technology to solve farmers' problems. John Deere is not alone, most of the companies, and there were thousands at CES, had identified a customer problem that technology could solve and they created that solution.

So, what does all this mean to a media seller? Are we becoming obsolete in the A.I./metaverse world of the future? Absolutely not! We spend the majority of our time working with small and medium-sized businesses. If we're having a hard time keeping up with the pace of technology, these businesses are probably having an even harder time, and they need us to help guide them. One of the foundational principles we teach in RAB training is that our role as marketing professionals is: To identify, and then satisfy the customer needs from the customer's point of view, profitably.

That was true when I started in this business and given the complexity we're dealing with in 2023 and beyond, it's even more critical. I look at this through a seller lens and put the tech aside, it boils down to attitude and the requirement of three core competencies:

1. Innovation — Take risks. They won't all succeed, but you must test your limits and increase the boundaries.

2. Curiosity — Never stop learning. Things are coming at us so fast it's hard to keep up, but we live in a world where information has never been more accessible to those who want to learn. Stay curious. Ask, "What if we..." a lot!

3. Problem-Solving Skills — As Paul Jacobs, VP/general manager of Jacobs Media, said during our recent live presentation, "You can't create solutions to solve problems if you don't know all the available options." The good news is there are more available options than ever. The challenge is, how do we understand them all?

Don't be afraid of tech or the disruptive nature of tech. Embrace it, learn it and understand how new technologies can be in your toolbox to serve your clients. Also as noted by Paul Jacobs: "Twenty years ago, your clients didn't have websites. Ten years ago, they didn't have apps and four years ago, they didn't have Alexa skills. Today, that's all changed." It's happened gradually over time. This is not an event; it's a process. The only question for you is, "Are you in?"

The theme of this year's CES was "BE IN IT." You have a choice — sell advertising or solve customer problems with a wide array of technological solutions. If you're interested, you can view all of our daily coverage videos on the RAB Video Wall here.

We'd like to give a quick shout-out to Matt Troncone of Cumulus Media for assisting us with our coverage this year, my son Carver Schmidt who managed a camera, but also gave me the view of CES from a 22-year-old mindset and our video production wizard Andrew White on team RAB who makes us all look good. Thank you ALL!

For now, signing off on our CES 2023 coverage along with Dave Casper and Erica Farber:





Source: Jeff Schmidt, SVP

Jeff Schmidt