Must-Watch Sessions On CES 2021 Replay

5 Must-Watch Sessions On CES 2021 Replay

by Jenny on January 14, 2021 Comments Off on 5 Must-Watch Sessions On CES 2021 Replay

One of my favorite times of each New Year is traveling to Las Vegas for Consumer Technology Association’s annual CES conference. I knew this year’s event would be different, so I did my best to look on the bright side of having virtual rather than in-person experiences.

While I missed roaming through the exhibitor hall interacting with friends and colleagues, I quickly realized one big perk of the event going digital: I can attend EVERYTHING!

Rather than having to make the difficult choice of attending one session instead of the other, wondering what I’m missing out on, and struggling to process the amazing content from back-to-back-to-back events… I get to experience all the greatness this event had to offer from the comfort of my home, take my time soaking in the content, and view each speaker session at my own convenience.

Bright side found.

There were A TON of exciting topics included this year, and they are available on-demand for those who registered. In case you’re looking for recommendations, here are a few that I had circled on the schedule before the event started. Rather than share my own key takeaways from each session, I’m leaving you with the fresh perspective I had before attending. Instead, here are my thought processes and reasons for attending some of my favorite sessions:

1. Trends shaping the future of fan engagement –
Moderator: Angela Ruggiero, Sports Innovation Lab
Speakers: Gary Bettman, Commissioner, NHL – Cathy Engelbert, Commissioner, WNBA – Stephanie McMahon, Chief Brand Officer, WWE

Why I attended:
First and foremost, I’m a sports fan. My company, MacKenzie, has had the pleasure of working with big players in the world of sports and entertainment, so I’m always excited to hear from those directly involved with the evolution of fan engagement.

Furthermore, I’ve seen the Sports Innovation Lab at other conferences, such as the Association of Luxury Suite Directors (ALSD). I always walk away energized and inspired to keep exploring what’s possible in the world of customer experience. Combining tech advancements with forward-thinking strategies, the concepts discussed always have wide-ranging application and get my creative juices flowing.

What I was excited to hear:
In this session, I was particularly interested in learning about how each respective sports league is approaching their unique fan base. While sports in general have consistent themes and similar challenges, how to approach these themes and challenges is uniquely determined by each respective league’s unique fan base.

I listened for how the panel actively connect with and listen to their fans, what is done with the feedback they collect, and the creative solutions they’re pursuing as the entire industry faces an unprecedented, unpredictable future.


2. General Motors Keynote
Speaker: Mary Barra, Chairman and CEO, General Motors

Why I attended:
As a female business owner and entrepreneur, I’m fascinated and inspired by the stories of powerful women in business. Strategic and tactical details aside, I love hearing from the individual behind the impressive title. The opportunity to humanize such a powerful figure in business not only strengthens my own confidence, but it also provides me with stories and examples to share with my young daughters as they shape their own goals and dreams.

What I was excited to hear:
The history of the automotive industry is full of extreme ups-and-downs. From world-changing innovation to the devastating impact of financial crises, international automotive companies have managed to adapt and overcome throughout significant market and consumer shifts. As a small business owner, I face my own foundational shifts (albeit on a smaller scale) and benefit greatly from the grit and determination of auto industry professionals.

In the specific case of General Motors, I was excited for a closer look at GM’s transformational strategy as industry and global consumer demands continually change. How are they approaching the emerging world of electric cars, changes in the commercial delivery space and autonomous vehicles – SPOILER ALERT – they have incredible new innovations & partnership coming quickly down the pipe!! There’s a lot I can learn from and apply to my own business moving forward.


3. Retail Trends – The New Shopper
Moderator: Deborah Weinswig, CEO, Coresight Research
Speakers: Lauren Hobart, President, Dick’s Sporting Goods – Tony Shan, Head of Tmall Global, the Americas, Alibaba Group

Why I attended:
An unprecedented year pushed innovation and adaptation in ways we’ve never seen. The session description perfectly captures the reasons I attended – “No industry had to pivot faster than the retail world in 2020. What sticks in 2021? Top retailers and analysts explore the latest trends in consumer behavior.” An extra bonus from this session, I left incredibly impressed and inspired by the way the entire team at Dick’s pivoted to curb side pick-up within days and how the partnership between the IT Team and Sales Associates is stronger than ever with a “solutions” focus.

What I was excited to hear:
As a consumer, I’m interested to see what brands are cooking up for my future retail experiences. As a business owner in the strategic consumer insights space, I’m fascinated by everything customer-centric and future-focused. This session touched on both personal and professional topics that will have short and long term impact.


4. Smart Home with David Kohler and Katie Linendoll
Speakers: David Kohler, Co-President and CEO, Kohler – Katie Linendoll, Tech Expert

Why I attended:
For the most part, smart home technology has been a “nice to have” segment of products and services. With the increased time spent at home and the reality of long-term remote working, consumers are investing in their home environment in ways they haven’t (or wouldn’t) before. This segment isn’t one I’m all that familiar with, so I wanted to change that.

What I was excited to hear:
Something I regularly tell my team and our clients – brand innovation should by driven by purpose rather than obligation. It should add meaningful value, make customer’s lives easier, and deliver joy in some form. Due to its potential for daily, life-changing impact, Smart Home technology can check all those “innovate for a purpose” boxes in ways other market segments cannot.

Does the “purposeful innovation” drum I continually bang apply to an emerging market like Smart Home Tech? How does market research and customer feedback fit into this industry which seems to exist in the future? Aside from sales and revenue, which success metrics and performance benchmarks are most relevant to Smart Home brands? I was excited to hear these types of questions addressed, and the session didn’t disappoint.


5. The Classroom of the Future
Moderator: Betsy Corcoran, Consultant
Speakers: Dan Avida, CEO, Engageli – Sharan Chandradath Singh, Managing Director of Strategic Partnerships, Minerva Project – Joel Rubin, CFO, Solving for Tech

Why I attended:
As previously mentioned, I have two daughters so classroom innovation and evolution will have a direct impact on my life. I’m continually adjusting and adapting to my own remote working environment, and at the same time I’m doing my best to support my daughters as they adjust and adapt to a remote learning environment. Any insight or information I can gain in this area will be of tremendous value.

What I was excited to hear:
My only real frames of reference for remote learning are online college courses and online business seminars. I can grasp the logistics behind online coursework and communication, but I want my daughters to experience the social development and friendships only possible through in-person attendance. For my online college and business experiences, the social element was missed at times – but it wasn’t detrimental. However, thinking back to my days in grade school, I don’t know what I would have done without the interaction between my fellow students and teachers.

This chance to hear industry leaders speak on these topics and (hopefully) alleviate my concerns was an exciting opportunity. I was interested to gauge how much emphasis was placed on the social aspect of remote learning, whether this was deemed a priority, and the types of creative solutions being developed. My initial attraction to this session was mainly personal development, but in hearing the panel members share their thoughts and ideas, I realized how relevant these topics are for business development as well.

Whether you had a chance to attend these sessions for yourself or just want to discuss these topics further, I’d love to connect for a chat! Shoot me a note so we can schedule a time:

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Jenny Dinnen is President of Sales and Marketing at MacKenzie Corporation. Driven to maximize customer's value and exceed expectations, Jenny carries a can-do attitude wherever she goes. She maintains open communication channels with both her clients and her staff to ensure all goals and objectives are being met in an expeditious manner. Jenny is a big-picture thinker who leads MacKenzie in developing strategies for growth while maintaining a focus on the core services that have made the company a success. Basically, when something needs to get done, go see Jenny. Before joining MacKenzie, Jenny worked at HD Supply as a Marketing Manager and Household Auto Finance in their marketing department. Jenny received her undergrad degree in Marketing from the University of Colorado (Boulder) and her MBA from the University of Redlands.

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