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Holiday Sales Distributed Content And Digital Rights Management Hot Topics At CEA’s Industry Forum


Hundreds of leaders from the consumer technology industry have convened in San Diego to kick off the 2007 Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)® Industry Forum. Designed to inform, connect and educate consumer electronics professionals, industry analysts and media on the latest trends, technologies and legislation affecting the industry, the CEA Industry Forum runs through Wednesday at the Hotel Del Coronado.

The 2007 Industry Forum launched with a full afternoon of programming on Sunday, October 14. Sponsored by CEA’s Small Business Council, the opening session, “Seven Irrefutable Rules of Small Business Growth,” was presented by Steven Little, author and business growth expert. “In order to grow your business you need to challenge your most closely held beliefs,” Little told the crowd. He shared his seven rules for building your business: sense of purpose, outstanding market intelligence, effective growth planning, customer-driven processes, the power of technology, retaining the best and brightest workforce and seeing the future more clearly. Little also encouraged attendees to take a close look at where they spend their time, money and effort and to make sure that all was directed toward the customer.

Sunday’s second session, “Strategic Marketing: What is it and Why it’s Essential,” was presented by Johns Hopkins University School of Business adjunct professor, Martin Lattman. Lattman introduced his concept of a strategic marketing platform, which consists of a mission statement, vision statement, positioning strategy, value proposition and marketing messages. He explained that a well run company is in control of their image and brand, while emphasized the importance of distinguishing yourself among your customers. Lattman concluded the session by saying, “a successful business is one where you are satisfying your customers and bringing them value every day.”

Programming concluded on Sunday with, “It’s Called Work for a Reason: Your Success is Your Own Damn Fault,” presented by Larry Winget, best selling author and television host. In his stand-up comic style, Winget told a packed session that the secret to success is simple: shut up and stop whining. He encouraged attendees to be flexible in their jobs and especially in dealing with customers.

Joe Bates, CEA director of research and Shawn DuBravac, CFA and CEA economist launched the event’s official programming Monday morning with the ever-popular presentation on Holiday Sales and Forecasts. DuBravac began by giving an economic overview and outlook that detailed many hurdles facing consumers today, but emphasized that the hurdles would not hinder consumer spending.

Bates announced that $22.1 billion will be spent on holiday CE gifts this year, which represents 46 percent of the total fourth quarter revenue for consumer electronics. The 14th Annual CE Holiday Purchase Patterns Survey tracks consumer electronics devices consumers intend to give as gifts, as well as those they hope to receive. For the third year in a row, MP3 players ranked as the most desired gifts to receive; gaming was the number one item most likely to be given.

Monday’s panel, “Marketing for the Common Senses: Seeing, Hearing and Smelling Your Way Through Your Customer’s World,” with moderator Dan Hill, president, Sensory Logic, Inc., explored acoustic branding and scent marketing. The panel discussed the effectiveness and importance of acoustic branding and the new frontier of marketing – scent marketing. The panelists told a standing-room only crowd that sound and scent both have an impact on memory and recall. Sounding like science fiction, Brumfield stated that a gaming console releasing six different scents would soon be on the market and soon after, scent-release systems could be incorporated into everything from televisions to cell phones.

Barney Wragg, Global Head of Digital for EMI Music Group, addressed Industry Forum attendees during a luncheon keynote Monday afternoon. Contrary to popular belief that the music business is dead, Wragg said EMI believes that this is one of the most vibrant times the music industry has ever seen, in part because of the ways that consumers are able to engage with their music. Wragg also offered a vision of the next generation of digital music, which includes better sound quality, an open market for multiple retailers to compete and improvements in the multiple device-type experience.

In the Monday afternoon session, “Achieving High Performance in the Consumer Technology Industry,” sponsored by Accenture, Kumu Puri, partner at Accenture, presented industry examples that consumer electronics companies can implement to accelerate their performance. Puri listed three elements that can help companies out-perform their competition: market focus and position; distinct capabilities and performance anatomy and stated, “It’s hard for a company to get to the top and then stay on top.”

The challenges and opportunities of accessing digital content were explored in the Monday session, “Content Access and Portability: You Can Always Get What You Want!” Moderated by Lindsey Turrentine of, executives from Starz Entertainment, Diego, Building B and Hillcrest Laboratories, Inc. agreed that understanding consumer behavior is key to providing the right solution. The panelists concurred that achieving simplicity must be a top priority and that consumers demand portability options that are easy, enjoyable and not complicated. As for what the future may hold, resolving the issues of digital rights management and micro-payments are opportunities that could lead to revenue growth.

Tuesday’s events at the 2007 CEA Industry Forum include a luncheon keynote by Chip Heath, author of Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, a presentation by CEA market research analysts unveiling, for the first time, global CE sales data, an International CES press briefing and the CE Hall of Fame Dinner.


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