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Learn from the worst marketing mistakes at CES

Last week was the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, where virtually every tech company on earth shows off its newest and hottest wares. And while a lot of the tech is quite cool, the Harvard Business Review points out that it was impossible to overlook some staggering errors in marketing. How many of these sins have your own company committed? Let this year's CES be an object lesson, so you can learn and do better. Here are some of the most egregious:

Focus on benefits instead of features. Tech companies are especially guilty of emphasizing the features of their products instead of how those features actually benefit the customer. Instead, paint a picture of how your product improves the customer's lifestyle.

Be bold. Is your marketing message too timid? CES is filled with companies that create matter-of-fact and even defensive messaging. HBR points out that Apple -- one of the world's great marketers, who remains conspicuously absent from CES -- is absolutely shameless. Be bold and don't worry about turning off some people in your effort to get the message out.

Be sure your marketers are helpful and informative. CES is a vast landscape of temporary cities, each populated by temporary trade show professionals (affectionately called "booth babes" by journalists). These pros know a few talking points but cannot speak independently about any aspect of the product. Instead, save money on the booth babes and fly out your actual employees. Even people who don't work in marketing are far better prepared to positively represent your product. 

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