From Trade Booth to Business Value – Making the Most of HIMSS in July

With the HIMSS speaking submission deadline just under a week away – July 16 to be exact – many in the healthcare and health technology sectors are in the throes of planning for the big event taking place in February 2019. However, speaking slots aren’t the only component that companies should start considering so they can make a valuable splash at the conference. An event like HIMSS requires a lot of time, resources and planning to ensure you’re hitting the right audiences and standing out among the more than 1,300 other companies in attendance.

Making it to the Main Stage

Securing a speaking slot at HIMSS in and of itself is no easy feat. The speaking lineup is traditionally light on vendors. Vendors can and should turn to customers using their technology and services to ensure their speaking application is considered. Working with a customer on a speaking application can be especially time-consuming considering that approvals are required from both sides of the aisle before anything can be submitted. Once you do identify a vendor-neutral speaking partner, what makes an abstract that will resonate with judges and ultimately HIMSS attendees?

HIMSS outlines exactly how they evaluate proposals. We’ve also learned a thing or two from our time working with clients on HIMSS abstracts and know that a compelling abstract really boils down to two main components. One, timeliness. As HIMSS says itself, there is no substitute for timeliness. Why now? Are other organizations currently facing similar challenges? Can they take something away from our session to apply at their own organization today? The second is data or hard ROI. Talking the talk is great but a successful abstract always highlights key data and ROI to show the “before and after” and how a specific service or approach had a real impact on business value.

Knowing Who Influences Your Audience

A common question we get from clients heading into HIMSS is: how do I attract and engage my target audiences? The first step is to understand who is influencing these individuals. How do we solve this million-dollar question? We look to data for guidance. More specifically, we examine public data through the lens of the MDigitalLife Health Ecosystem, which maps online behavior and digital footprints of more than 870,000 stakeholders worldwide, including doctors, patients, industry CXOs, hospitals, payers, technology vendors, advocacy organizations, media and analysts among many others.

Once we have this data in hand, we can better identify the topics that are top of mind (as we did for HIMSS18) and the influencers who play a part in shaping perceptions in the space. This critical insight guides overall HIMSS19 strategy to ensure we’re hitting the bloggers, reporters, executives and more whom your audience trusts and follows. Once we have these influencers on our side and aligned with our value, they can help inform our target audience.

Standing Out Amidst a Sea of Competitors

Relationship building is the name of the game at HIMSS. To get the attention of those who matter most at this crowded venue, it’s important to personalize events and content based on unique audience needs. Organizations must think beyond booth décor and the HIMSS-secured speaking slot. A successful HIMSS is all about tailoring an event(s) with the right mix of people and offering educational and engaging conversation amongst peers and influencers.

During HIMSS18, W2O worked closely with a cognitive technology provider to drive industry thought leadership and spotlight key customer stories during an invite-only event session. The team used analytics to determine the influencers best fit to invite to the session and help guide a personalized content and digital strategy based on attendees’ preferences. These efforts supported in-person connections with leading thought leaders in the space, solid earned media coverage resulting in 214,000 impressions and trending social media conversations related to the client.

Although HIMSS is seven months and counting away, your planning for HIMSS19 should be in full swing. Starting early, aligning on big details and setting up a detailed and action-oriented plan now means that your organization will be on the right foot as HIMSS19 approaches.

Caela Shay
Caela Shay
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