Coalesce your team around a show-specific concept to ensure ROI.
Trade show participation is usually among the top marketing expenses for healthcare technology companies. Success at shows is vital, especially for SMBs, which can spend one-third of their entire annual marketing budget at HIMSS alone.
Why You Need a Show Theme
A successful theme strategy is much more than wearing the same colored shirts, ties or sneakers. Creating and promoting a show theme:
Makes it easier to align your whole company on the same talking points.
Political campaigns understand the importance of pithy slogans – they encapsulate your message in a single phrase, just like a good tagline. I’m sure you’re familiar with Hillary’s 2016 presidential campaign slogan, “I’m with HER”, and Trump’s “Make America Great Again.” Political campaigns also have talking point books so every team member and surrogate knows how to respond to questions and challenging issues.
Opens the door for buzz before, during and after the show.
Before the event, your goal is to build excitement, create focused noise, and encourage community. You want attendees to wonder what you are up to, and generate enough curiosity so people will seek you out on a crowded show floor. You don’t want to give away your entire brand theme before the event, but instead use teasers to hint at what’s to come. You’ll also want to set up media appointments before the event. It’s easier to secure spots with in-demand editors when you have an exciting concept to share.
During the event, get internal writers lined up for live blogging and Tweeting. Set up more media appointments. Display online posts and content on a big screen. Ask your current customers if they are willing to come by your booth. If so, train them on your theme talking points and let them lead the way in talking to their peers who are considering a purchase.
After the event, get thought leaders to write recap blog posts. Make sure these posts tie into your theme in some way. Show how your company is going to execute on the theme promise — too many times the theme dies after the show. For example, highlight how your product roadmap supports the promoted concept.
Creates a foundation to WOW with visuals and show experiences.
The theme acts as the foundational messaging platform and style guide for the show. It also prevents “dancing robot syndrome” — the bizarre attention-getters you often see that have nothing to do with the company promoting them. Focusing on a creative theme enables you to come up with exciting giveaways, contests, etc. that reinforce your brand message and engage real buyers instead of attracting gawkers and giveaway-seekers who are never going to purchase.
Helps post-show attendees remember you.
After the brain-draining frenzy that is HIMSS, attendees will only remember about 10% of what they saw and even less of what they heard — unless the message was truly unique or crucial to them personally. You should also aim to leave behind a differentiated message that prospects and the media alike will remember.
Builds a community of raving fans.
An innovative, exciting, or even controversial theme can get your prospects and customers united around a common cause.
Show Theme Case Study: Mach7 Technologies’ “Unlock. Unleash. UnPAC.”
Knowing Mach7 needed to make a big splash in the U.S. market, we set our sights on Mach7’s coming out party: RSNA 2013. With only six weeks until show opening, we crafted new corporate messaging and an aggressive theme around a new tagline: “Unlock. Unleash. UnPAC.”
This controversial, but engaging, tact took a jab at market-leading PACS imaging technology — and RSNA took notice. Our disruptive theme shook things up industry-wide, putting Mach7 on the healthcare IT radar.
Need Help with a HIMSS Theme and Strategy?
Our health IT marketing agency knows all the ins-and-outs of HIMSS and can help you succeed no matter your experience level. If you want to rock HIMSS, get in touch with us.