It's never too early to start planning your conference marketing strategy. Some marketers register for the same society and association conferences year after year and then forget about them until a month prior to exhibiting or put together the same booth kit every year. Whether it be a medical device, pharma or disease specific conference, proper planning will allow time to promote your attendance to achieve a higher ROI.
The following checklist and tips will help you make the most out of your conference.
✓ Learn from past performanceand set new KPIs – With every new conference, you want to outperform the previous year. Establish a formula for success and your baseline KPIs, whether it be foot traffic to your exhibit, the number of active leads that set appointments, the number of orders taken, or a combination. Analyze last year’s results and identify any successes, failures, and shortcomings to come up with a strategy to make adjustments to obtain a higher ROI. Society and association conferences are costly so you want to spend your marketing dollars wisely.
✓ Advertise pre-conference – Increase foot traffic to your booth by informing physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals (HCPs) that you will be an exhibitor prior to the conference.
Utilize your social media platform to create excitement about your attendance.
Update your website events tab to include the conference with your booth number.
Launch an email campaign to your database to set up appointments at the show.
Send out a press release detailing your participation.
Add booth number to your digital ads as society website traffic is usually highest prior to their show.
Consider advertising tactics offered by your conference organizers, such as a pre-conference email to attendees.
✓ Take advantage of on-site advertising – Conference attendees are highly engaged and in learning mode. Make sure to book your marketing opportunities ahead of time as many sell out quickly.
Many mobile event app offer space for your booth ad and links back to your website.
Don't shy away from print advertising in program books, event signage and on promotional materials such as lanyards or door drops.
Consider having a company representative be a speaker on a topic of expertise to give credibility to your company.
✓ Create a stellar booth experience – You only have a few seconds to capture the attention of attendees, so encourage them to step into your booth and learn about your product or brand!
Tailor your message to your target specialist. For example, if your drug treats diabetes that is marketed to a variety of HCPs but the conference is attended mostly by diabetes educators, write a pamphlet in their verbiage and use images that represent their line of work tailor it to their interests and how they specifically would use your product.
Design an exhibit that has a powerful visual impression but is not too busy, so attendees can quickly see who you are and what you do.
Leverage your best marketing materials. Whether you re-purpose your MOA and KOL videos or create custom pamphlets, you want to put your best foot forward. What you display at your booth will make a lasting impact.
Journal article reprints offer the science behind your product and are the most trusted source of information for physicians. Use them as part of your marketing kit to add validity to your marketing claims.
✓ Don’t forget post-conference advertising – Just because the conference is over, it doesn’t mean your marketing efforts are over. Post-conference marketing is one of the most important aspects of obtaining a good ROI.
Follow up with those attendees who visited your exhibit or attended your speaking seminar. Send them an email thanking them for visiting your exhibit. You can also include a download of your presentation in the email if they attended your seminar.
Continue your message in your advertising. Whether you are advertising in the society journal or emailing attendees, make sure you carry the message through.
Distribute potential sales leads to your sales reps as soon as the conference is over, so they can set up appointments while the leads are fresh in their mind. Responding quickly is also a reflection of good customer service.
Ask your sales reps to send you qualitative and quantitative feedback about their interactions at the conference. The data will serve as the base to measure your ROI and strategy for the conference next year.
Keep the buzz alive by posting photos and interesting stories on your social media platform. Ask new leads to follow your company, especially if you mention them in a post.
Conferences are a staple lead generation and brand awareness tactic but proper planning and promotion will make a world of difference in the quality and quantity of leads. How many society and association conferences have you secured for next year and have you started planning?
Wolters Kluwer offers a wide range of products to reach HCPs at conferences. Contact us to find the best solution for your needs.