Feature: 5 Important Tips for Planning Events in the Healthcare Industry

By Michael Haffner

When doctors are diagnosing a problem, they are very particular about what they say when determining the issue and course of action. Unlike when you go to a mechanic, and he rattles off about a hundred things that could be wrong with your car and just as many choices on how to tackle the issue. Marketing in healthcare is essentially the same. You don’t have all the marketing and advertising tools at your disposal as you do with other industries. However, when you plan and stage sales meetings, conferences, and trade shows for over 30 years, you become an expert on how to deliver accurate and healthy results. Here are five tips that are essential to remember in this complicated field.

What You Can and Can’t Say

The list of dos and don’ts in the healthcare field could take up an entire article just by itself. Trust us when we say it’s no walk in the park when you have to dodge, weave, and tiptoe through some sensitive areas. From patient names and materials to including ISI (Important Safety Information) and legal copy, there is a lot to take into consideration when staging a health care conference or tradeshow booth. A clear understanding of the most current policies and rules is essential for planning and staging.

Humanizing Healthcare

When working in an occasionally dry and technical world, you have to find ways to connect to the audience. What it always boils down to is speaking on the audience’s level and communicating through human stories. People may not know the ins and outs of a procedure or how a specific medication is implemented, but they can relate to symptoms, results, and the why. The why is the reason they need to know about this process, or that they need this product in their life. It’s similar to most marketing, but it’s sometimes a little harder to figure out than if you were trying to market a food or beverage product.

A Constantly Evolving Market

Most industries evolve at a quick pace, but the healthcare industry in particular is prone to rapid change. What this means is that booths become less reusable, banners and pamphlets need to be reprinted, and so on. What works for one tradeshow might not work for another because the specific area of focus most likely changed – urology is clearly different than cardiology. As a result, making sure the message is clear for each show or event and that it includes the most up-to-date facts is integral to grabbing the attention of attendees and encouraging engagement.

Conversations Are Key

Unlike other industries, you don’t have brand ambassadors in healthcare – you have a sales team at events and tradeshows. As a result, one-on-one conversations are extremely important. A company’s sales team getting in front of potential clients is like brand ambassadors passing out samples at a grocery store. This is a crucial part of getting the word out there about what you offer. So having the right training for the sales team and making sure they speak on the same level as their target audience will ensure that those conversations lead to conversions.

Get Creative with Takeaways

Knowing your audience and offering incentives to encourage sales is necessary for some brands in the retail space. However, with healthcare, you can’t have giveaways at shows. Since freebies are illegal in this field, what this means is that you have to get creative with engagement. From educational materials to custom video displays to newsletters that people want to sign up for, there are many ways to impart information so that your brand stays at the top of the customer’s mind. Discovering what is best for your brand, your audience, and your event will help determine the most successful takeaway.

MM&E

About the author

Joe Clote

Joseph W. Clote is owner of Publishing Concepts, LLC a communications and marketing firm based in Saint Louis, Missouri. Mr. Clote is Group Publisher of MeetMed™ and Missouri Meetings & Events™ (MM&E) magazine, a quarterly publication read by thousands of meeting and event professionals, and producer of the St. Louis and Kansas City trade shows under the MM&E name. Mr. Clote has extensive sales and marketing expertise in the travel, tourism, fine art, insurance, and software development industries.