January might seem far away when we’re only just ending September, but for marketers in the consumer electronics industry, it’s right around the corner. Instead of planning what we’ll buy our loved ones this holiday season, we’re figuring out what type of swag we’ll give out to complete strangers for free. This is all thanks to the International Consumer Electronics Show, the largest event of its kind held in the US.

It’s never too early to begin planning, as many brands find great success in the relationships they cultivate on the showroom floor. Whether you’re a large company that attends every year or a small start-up that’s never launched a product before, you’ll want to head into the show with a strategy. Not sure where to start? Here are a few questions to ask yourself.

What’s my goal?

Are you looking to establish retail partners and distributors, or do you want to generate media coverage in support of your new product launch or concept? Identifying your primary goal and building your strategy around that will help you gauge your success.

What will my booth/space look like?

The possibilities are (almost) limitless when it comes to creativity within your exhibiting space. Now is a good time to hold brainstorm meetings with your team to see what’s doable within your budget. Don’t wait until the last minute! You’ll have plenty of other things to do during the weeks leading up to the show; don’t let booth design be one of them.

What’s my pitch?

Whether you’re in a booth, a meeting room, or orchestrating an elaborate event, you need to know your pitch. There are thousands of people at CES and they are all being inundated with information, so you need to hook your targets – fast. Develop your elevator pitch in advance, but tweak it based off the reactions you receive from face-to-face communication. Engaging with tech-minded people is a great way to gain valuable feedback about your product or service.

What’s my schedule?

This question will likely come into play much later in the game, but when you have a sense of your schedule, plan ahead. Remember – CES is HUGE. In fact, there is an attendance cap for CES 2016 due to the turnout from the previous year. Map out any meetings you have and give yourself plenty of time to get from point A to point B, because…. #cablines.

Have any other advice for those considering CES 2016? Tell us!

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