Countdown to HIMSS 2021:
A marketing survival guide
Welcome to our HIMSS Countdown Calendar. As a healthcare marketing agency that has helped dozens of companies shine and succeed at HIMSS, we’re happy to share this resource guide with you.
The countdown to HIMSS (August 9-13, 2021) is on:
13 months out: Planning for the future TODAY
When it comes to HIMSS, you can’t get mired in last-minute details for the upcoming show in a month. You have to think 13 months ahead for the following year due to high booth demand.
- Determine WHY and IF you want to exhibit at HIMSS. Establish evaluation criteria you can use at the current show to quickly decide if you want to reserve a booth space for the following year.
- Prepare a show budget for the FOLLOWING year.
12 months out: Rinse, repeat, SUCCEED
Yep, just as you’re in the midst of all the show chaos, you actually have to think about NEXT year.
- Reserve next year’s floor space from the current show if exhibiting next year supports your strategic plan. This is especially important if next year’s show is in Las Vegas where prime floor space is in high demand. Remember HIMSS prioritizes selection based on a point system that’s determined by past spend with them.
- As soon you are back from HIMSS, set high-level lead generation and brand recognition goals with the sales team for next year.
- Debrief with the sales team on the show that just happened.
11 months out: Get your $@&%! together
- Devise an integrated marketing plan.
- Select a theme and brand positioning for the show.
- Reach out to possible co-presenters. A clinical co-presenter is a MUST for HIMSS.
10 months out: Prepare to shine like a superstar
- Submit speaking proposals if you are interested in speaking.
- Cleanse your in-house email and direct mail contact lists.
- Book after-show party venues and hotel concierge suites.
9 months out: Planning is half the battle
- Set granular lead generation and brand recognition goals with the sales team.
- Make hotel, airline, and rental car/van reservations. Note: only certain hotels are on the HIMSS free shuttle route.
7 months out: A GOAL without a PLAN is just a WISH
- Select primary vendors (exhibit house, transportation company, installation/dismantle supplier).
- Plan advertising campaigns.
- Decide if you need a new exhibit. If so, begin the design process if your booth size is larger than 10’ x 20’.
6 months out: Cleanliness is next to Godliness
- Cleanse and update your media contact list. Don’t forget about influential bloggers.
- Cleanse and update your analyst list.
- Plan your booth draw campaigns. Get advertising contracts in place.
- Decide on your lead collection method.
5 months out: Aim for higher standards
- Contact leading customers to gauge interest in speaking to prospects in your booth or concierge suite.
- Develop show-specific marketing collateral.
- Design email workflows and cleanse contacts in your marketing automation or drip system.
4 months out: It’s the journey that matters in the end
- If your booth size is 10’ x 20’ or smaller, begin the design process.
- Decide on show giveaways and contests. Order tchotchkes and prizes.
- Devise your at-show and post-show social media plan.
- Review your public relations strategies for before, during, and after the show.
- Start blogging about the event.
3 months out: The excitement of possibilities
- Begin booth draw email campaigns. Give away great content before asking for folks to stop by your booth.
- Send direct marketing (postal) pieces.
- Print collateral.
- Approve your booth design.
2 months out: The finish line is in sight
- Schedule personal demos/meetings with prospects. An “Ask the Experts” session attended by your current clients and their peers is very effective.
- Schedule meetings with existing customers.
- Brief the sales reps and other show personnel on messaging, roles, etc.
- Keep up social media visibility daily!
- Distribute press releases regarding speakers, special events, etc.
- Make lunch and dinner reservations for meetings.
1 month out: Expect the best, prepare for the worst
- Pack a trade show emergency kit. Some simple things like aspirin, bandages, and duct tape can save the day and make you a show hero.
- Schedule meetings with editors, journalists, bloggers, and analysts.
- Prepare media kits.
- Ship collateral, kits, etc. to show storage.
- Distribute briefing packet, including training materials, to all booth staffers.
- Finalize show booth/hospitality suite staffing plan.
- Create a back-up plan in case the event is canceled or your team is unable to attend
- See 13 Months Out list above to start preparing for NEXT year!
1 week out: The final stretch
- Confirm meeting times and dates with prospects, customers, media, and analysts.
- Confirm shipments and receipt with your logistics vendor.
- Hold pre-show briefing meeting with staff.
- Rest up!
At HIMSS: There’s no business like SHOW business
- Check with freight upon arrival to make sure everything has arrived intact. Contact your booth vendor ASAP if there are any issues.
- Send meeting reminders to confirmed booth visitors.
- Tweet and blog LIVE from the show floor. Make it interesting and personal.
- Collect leads.
- SMILE! No one wants to enter the booth of a grumpy Gus or Gina. Thank visitors for stopping by.