by Nick Bellomo
The modern medical conference exhibit hall is a reflection of our daily lives: hectic, overstimulating, and filled with tons of voices competing for our limited time and attention. But with an Ogilvy Health survey showing that 77% of attendees interact with booths at conferences, these experiences are critical to positioning a brand as a knowledgeable and valuable partner at these must-see shows. I have been attending and developing medical congress experiences for nearly a decade. Here are some keys to a successful conference presence.
#1 – KEEP IT SIMPLE
Some of the best booth tactics have been simple draws. Branded art installations have been on the rise and can be a powerful encounter for attendees when the art brings a beautiful, creative, and informative nod to the treatment or disease awareness. Although from a technology POV, these are “simple” experiences, they can still be powerful, thoughtful, and memorable tactics. One of my favorite examples even tied a philanthropic initiative into a booth’s art installation, making the attendees’ presence more than just a quick moment on the exhibit floor. This team built a molecule sculpture out of tuna cans. After the conference, the cans were donated to a local food pantry. The company donated an additional 5 cans of food for every attendee badge scanned.
#2 – DESIGN FOR THE NOISE
Once on the exhibit floor, attendees are inundated with a variety of calls from all directions for their attention. Breaking through this noise is critical to attract and keep attendees engaged with your brand and messaging. Large digital displays have been shown to have stopping power to attract attendees walking by an exhibit. When it comes to paneled LED screens, go for the largest your booth layout can support. Even if you have an e-detail on an iPad, mirror that content on a larger overhead screen for a more impactful experience with the specific attendee and an enticing draw for others within sight. Another best practice is to keep the content constantly moving via animations to draw the eye of an attendee walking by. Take a typical screensaver to the next level by teasing content and having a direct call-to-action to start the experience. Give them a sense of what their payoff will be by engaging.
Take a typical screensaver to the next level
by teasing content and having a direct
call-to-action to start the experience.
Give them a sense of what their
payoff will be by engaging.
#3 – MAKE IT A VALUABLE EXPERIENCE
Touchscreens have been used at medical congresses for a while now. But brands are finding unique and novel ways to keep these experiences fresh and engaging. By introducing a physical element to these digital interactions, it forces attendees to put down their bag of freebies and fully immerse themselves in the booth tactic. Examples could be widgets placed on a touch-table that trigger interactions. Or 3D-printed objects that have radio-frequency identification chips embedded in them. The movement and manipulation of these physical elements could trigger different digital experiences on the touch-table. One of my favorite examples is multiple patient “dolls” that trigger different patient profiles. By tying the different case studies to something tangible, the messages are reinforced.
Back to #1, keep the interactions simple. Think of an arcade game interface (directional pad, “a” button, and “b” button) if you are looking to have an attendee control an interactive mechanism of action. You are able to deliver a powerful engagement with a small learning curve to masterfully navigate the experience. This can be quite effective when combined with a large LED display wall.
#4 – COLLECT ANALYTICS ON EVERYTHING
Badge scans are fine for getting a sense of booth traffic, but brands should be digging deeper into the data. Are you using a version of your e-detail on a touchscreen? Collect session data, including user flow, with time stamps. This raw data can be compiled into reports that not only show which topics attendees are interested in, but more importantly, the data can shed light on content that brands should be promoting to a particular audience segment. Are you using an interactive quiz or survey? The analytics can provide a powerful set of data for your market research and highlight missing key targets in your marketing strategy.
Are you ready to take your convention tactics to the next level? My team and I can help with brainstorming and we can share some of the photos and insights we have gained through attending medical conferences over the past decade—including some things you definitely do NOT want to do at your next conference booth. Send me an email and let’s get the conversation started.