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How to cut through the noise in the healthcare exhibit hall

Matt Foreman, head of exhibits, Ashfield Meetings & Events, reveals how to attract healthcare professionals to exhibition stands at conferences

Competition in the healthcare conference environment is increasingly fierce and research shows that healthcare professionals are unable to visit all exhibition stands.

To find a solution, Ashfield Meetings & Events questioned over 200 healthcare professionals and found that 91% of physicians consider the exhibit hall as an important part of their congress experience, with 83% spending up to 10 minutes on a single stand.

Matt Foreman, head of exhibits at Ashfield Meetings & Events, shares his tips on how to attract healthcare professionals to exhibition stands.

Everyone is a competitor

Depending on the size of the congress, there can be 10 to 200 companies within the exhibit hall.

Additionally, research has found that physicians only spend 11% of their total onsite time there.

This underlines the importance of providing a memorable experience which can only be achieved through creating an active environment, rather than a passive one.

Start with a story

Healthcare professionals tell us that visiting all the exhibit stands they would like is one of their top three onsite challenges.

To capture their attention, decide what you want to say, work out what they want to hear, then create an environment that delivers the information on multiple levels. We focus on how these four elements deliver impact: architecturally, graphically, experientially and personally.

Don’t feel restricted to the exhibit hall. Our research has found that prior product knowledge and brand recognition are the number one factors that will influence a physician to visit a stand.

Consider the three key elements

Position, presence and people attract from afar, hook in your audience and have engaging staff on hand. An exhibition stand should never replace a conversation, it should be the conversation starter, so having the right representatives is key to delivering your brand message.

Make it memorable

Aim to get your visitors to remember one key aspect of your brand. Using interactive elements and incorporating technology can help imbed a message or position a product in a memorable way. In fact, aesthetic delivery and use of engagement technologies are key to attracting the audience.

However, don’t make the mistake of building everything around technology, the idea or story must come first. Without strong brand storytelling, you risk visitors remembering the technology involved, without the reason behind it.

Continue the conversation

Only 20% of healthcare professionals experience company communication on activities at the exhibition pre, onsite and post-event.

There is no reason why the conversation should stop on the stand itself and these findings demonstrate the opportunity healthcare companies have to create a wider communications campaign. An effective post-event strategy continues to build relationships and that can help turn brand awareness into leads.