It’s that time of year again – the Christmas-Kentucky Derby for health IT professionals. HIMSS takes us to Sunny Orlando this year, and while you’ll probably only get a few moments to catch some rays awaiting a hotel shuttle, there are still many opportunities for companies to shine at the conference.
Some may feel that the ever-growing annual global conference and expo for Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) has overshadowed any potential ROI. However, the success of this critical moment for many IT companies is what you make of it as a marketer.
HIMSS (still) matters. Here are my top three reasons why:
- Recruitment. While the tradeshow floor will be full of buyers, it will also be filled with qualified job candidates. How well you position your brand at HIMSS will impact your HR team back home.
- Journalists. HIMSS offers the single biggest opportunity of the year to be in the same room as industry press. This year more than 60 healthcare reporters are anticipated to attend. Even if you don’t get coverage at the show, the chance to build an in-person relationship with them is incredibly valuable.
- Timeliness. With the conference happening a month earlier compared to prior shows, there is even a greater opportunity for companies to set the stage for who will be this year’s biggest industry winners and innovators. In addition to using HIMSS for unveiling new technologies with key stakeholders, marketers should utilize this moment for competitive intelligence gathering.
Leveraging the most of your team and marketing spend for maximized value is paramount. Set clear, HIMSS-specific, conference objectives that align with your overall marketing strategy and business drivers. Hopefully, you’re not attending this year’s show just because “we always go” or “all of our competitors are here.” Ensure your team knows those objectives, knows their role and what success looks like, e.g. prospecting, conversations to conversions.
Identify moments for visibility. While the HIMSS exhibitor guidelines are very detailed (sorry, no hovering drones), find disruptive ways to stand out. More than 1,300 vendors will be in attendance this year. How can your company cut through the clutter? Better than “booth babes,” the best approach for conference clutter cutting uses a good mix of marketing communications, consisting of thought leadership, media relations, relevant content development and real-time social engagement.
#OhMy! Last year’s event generated more than 107,000 tweets in just five days. Content planners and onsite social staff should have their own HIMSS strategy when it comes to online engagement during the conference (see: Event Live Tweeting Checklist). Beyond best practices, posts should be thoughtful and appropriate to resonate and be seen.
- #HIMSS19 is the official conference hashtag and the organization just released 20 topic-specific tags covering areas such as revenue cycle management, population health and security.
- HIMSS will also continue to capitalize its Social Media Ambassadors group of 20 digital influencers sharing their conference experiences, which is also a good opportunity for exhibiting companies to connect with onsite.
Content, content, content. The biggest commodity these days is developing materials for targeted stakeholder consumption, and HIMSS is the most underutilized moment for this activity. Beyond conference press releases and media relations, there are numerous opportunities for content development given compelling insights shared at the event. Marketers can cannibalize these presentations and talk tracks for company thought leaders to add their own fleshed-out perspectives through bylined articles, podcasts, blogs and social posts.
Networking/prospecting is a pillar for any conference and is especially true at HIMSS. Marketing leaders should work with their executive team to best capitalize their time in Orlando. Once the conference starts, moments for networking begin fleeting as schedules tie up and typical event stressors pull at one’s attention. Appointments are necessary to keep senior leaders on track and steer away from a high-school reunion trap.
HIMSS happened – Now what?
Just because the show wrapped up, doesn’t mean your marketing activities have to do the same. Meet with us onsite in Orlando to see what ARPR can do for your company. Schedule time to connect by visiting here.
Have a Happy HIMSS19!