HITMC Chat

Squeezing More Value from Events

Conferences and in-person events are still important to healthcare marketers and sales teams. But how can we squeeze more value from events? – especially after the event is over? Join the #HITMC chat Tues Sept 11th at noon ET.

For marketers, the start of September signals the start of the fall conference season. After a few summer months of respite, it’s back to booth logistics, pre-conference awareness campaigns and post-event follow-up programs.

A year ago, I hosted a HITMC chat that focused on the preparation for healthcare events and how to choose between exhibiting vs attending. I thought this year we could focus on post-event activities. What tactics work? What is just noise?

In particular I’m interested to hear what the community thinks of the “thank you for coming to our booth” or “great to meet you” email. This is the most common form of follow-up that I receive after visiting someone’s booth. It is very rarely customized to anything I saw/watched/asked questions about and it is rarely from the person I spoke to.

I can understand the former. Most lead retrieval systems are crude and do not make it easy to enter notes about the nature of conversations. As well, it is often the responsibility of one booth person to  scan badges – which means they are running around from station to station madly scanning people and have no time to take notes. The latter, however, is a bit more puzzling. If I spoke to someone at the booth, why can’t that be the person who send me the email? Everyone has a smartphone with a camera these days. Why not snap a pic of the person’s badge and later grab the contact details from the lead list to write an email or just provide those pics to the marketing team who can match it to the lead list.

This of course brings up the topic of training booth staff, which I believe is akin to herding cats. If I were writing a job description, here is what that job would sound like:

Wanted. A person to hound staff members in the weeks leading up to conference to book meetings with clients at the event, remember to bring the appropriate branded clothing, adhere to a booth schedule and read the 5 documents on the conference messaging. No authority will be provided. No assistance from department heads will be offered. Oh and at the end you will be shunned for a week and no one will respond to your email.

Sign me up!

All joking aside, preparing staff to man the booth is a challenge. Those that successfully get their teams to follow a plan have a much easier time with post-event follow-up. Those that end up with a group of cats usually come away from events with very little value.

At the end of the day it is all about value. Investing in exhibiting is expensive – both in terms of actual dollars and in the time commitment. Management and executives are always asking marketing to prove the value of marketing programs – conferences are a big target. It is our challenge to squeeze as much value from conferences as we can. One of the best ways is to ensure that the effort expended carries beyond the event. In other words, we need to focus as much attention post-event as we do before.

Please join me Tuesday September 11th at noon ET (9am PT) for a discussion on healthcare event marketing:

  • T1 What are your thoughts of a “thank you for coming to our booth” or “great to meet you” emails after an event? Effective? Waste of time? Suggestions?
  • T2 How do you train booth staff for the event? What special instructions do you give for post-event follow-up?
  • T3 What is on your post-event checklist (whether you are an attendee or exhibitor) – starting at the point when the last session ends?
  • T4 What have you found to be the most effective way to remain in contact with people you have met at an event? Is connecting on LinkedIn enough?
  • T5 What is the best post-event campaign that you have seen? What made it stand out and what made you remember it/respond to it?
  • BONUS What 2018 fall conferences will you be attending or exhibiting at?

For those not familiar with Twitter chats, just hop on Twitter and search for #HITMC on Tuesday, September 11th at Noon ET (9AM PT) and you can join in.  See you online!

About the author

Colin Hung

Colin Hung is an award-winning Marketing Executive with more than 15yrs of healthcare and HealthIT experience. He co-founded one of the most popular healthcare chats on Twitter, #hcldr and he has been recognized as one of the “Top 50 Healthcare IT Influencers”. Colin’s work has been published in the Journal of the American College of Radiology, American Society for Healthcare Risk Managers, and Infection Control Today. He writes regularly for Healthcare Scene and here at HITMC.com. Colin is a member of #pinksock #TheWalkingGallery and is proudly HITMC. His Twitter handle is: @Colin_Hung.

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