This month’s #HITMC Twitter chat is hosted by Colin Hung.
Can you believe it’s already August? Where has the year gone?
For me, August has always been “prep & planning month”. It is the last month of calm before the craziness of the fall conference season hits. Symplur is already tracking 182 healthcare conferences scheduled between September 1st and October 31st of this year. That’s about 4 conferences for each business day over those two months! (Note: You might find Healthcare Scene’s take on some of the top Healthcare IT Conferences useful)
If you assume that on average there are 20 exhibitors at each conference and that the cost to exhibit is approximately $10,000 (exhibit fee, travel, accommodations, marketing materials, etc) that means $36.4M will be spent conferences this fall. The actual number is likely much higher, especially when you consider that one of the fall conferences is the mega-sized RSNA (with over 2,000 exhibitors filling the entire McCormick Center in Chicago IL) and that Symplur does not track every single healthcare conference that is happening.
With this amount of spending, it is clear that conferences are still an important part of the marketing mix for healthcare vendors. But should they be? It is well documented that email marketing, content marketing and SEO/SEM have much lower cost of acquisition compared with conferences, so should marketers not be investing more in these channels? Is this already happening with fewer and fewer new companies exhibiting?
Over the past couple of years, I have noticed a growing trend of companies attending conferences rather than exhibiting at them. When I ask, it seems there are two primary reasons driving this choice. First, is cost. Attending a conference means no booth costs (shipping, setup, staffing, giveaways) which can be as much as 50% of the cost of a conference. Second is ease of networking. At most conferences, exhibitors get a special colored badge. Unfortunately, when attendees see someone approaching with a badge of that color, they usually run the other way out of fear of getting a sales pitch. Many company representatives find it much easier to have conversations when you are seen as a fellow attendee.
On this month’s #HITMC tweetchat we will be discussing healthcare tradeshows and conferences. Are they still worth it? Is it better to go as an attendee? When does it make since to sponsor and exhibit? How can marketers get more value from conferences?
Join us Tuesday, August 8th at Noon ET (9AM PT) for the hour-long TweetChat. These questions will serve as the framework for the chat.
T1. Do you think healthcare conferences still hold value as a marketing investment?
T2. Exhibit Hall? or Attendee only? Which offers the better return for each dollar invested?
T3. What tactics have you used to increase the value of attending/exhibiting at healthcare conferences?
T4. What is the worst mistake you have seen an exhibitor make at a healthcare conference?
T5. As an attendee, what, if anything, would attract you to a vendor’s booth? What would turn you away?
BONUS What is the best and worst giveaway that you have seen at a healthcare conference?
Just hop on Twitter and search for #HITMC on Tuesday, August 8th at Noon ET (9AM PT) and you can join in. We look forward to connecting with you and hearing your thoughts on this important subject!
Here’s a look at the upcoming schedule of Healthcare IT Marketing and PR Community Twitter Chats:
10/3 – Webinars or No Webinars – Which Path Is the Right One for You
Hosted by Lea Chatham (@LeaChatham)