Creating a Buzz on the Convention Floor

Utilizing cutting-edge technologies can build an immersive brand experience for your next exhibit
Jan 01, 2008

Stephen Mapes
Some studies show that physicians on the exhibit floor of a medical meeting have a maximum attention duration of seven minutes per booth. So the question is: Can you get physicians to stop at your booth among a sea of 500 other competing exhibits—and can your message be delivered in seven minutes or less? More important, will physicians recall it later?

You can answer yes to those questions when you incorporate technology. New technologies are intriguing, exciting additions to any exhibition booth—but only if they deliver a branding message with style and speed. Here's a battle plan to connect with doctors throughout the booth visit: Attract, Retain, Educate, and Reward.


When it comes to attracting physicians to your booth, the creative use of technology can count for more than exhibit size and will ultimately be a key driver in increasing traffic flow.

For instance, we have all seen an explosion in the use of beautiful video screens that are fully viewable in daylight thanks to LED video technology. Think Times Square or televised award shows, which feature big video screens with dynamic content. Exhibitors at conventions have appropriated this same technology because it is a great way to grab the attention of your target market from a distance.

Be discerning about the video content you use. Keep it moving, and keep it simple. Research shows that viewers don't retain any more than six topic changes in 30 seconds. And don't use any messages that require fair balance—that's an attention killer. The reality is that an attendee will spend approximately three seconds viewing a video from the aisle, so don't use talking heads, complex medical content, or audio.

Another rule to follow is keeping the message highly targeted to the physician you are trying to attract. It's great to play your brand logo animation, but it would be better to connect your brand to clever imagery that is intuitive and relevant to your audience's product-search needs.


Now that you have attracted the attendee, how do you get him or her to stay? Beyond product detailing, engaging attendees in a variety of interactive technologies can increase the time that attendees will spend in your booth as well as product-message recall.

In the popular game Race Under Pressure, bio-interactive technology connects a physician via pulse meter to a simulated driving challenge. The goal is to establish a clear link between the disease state and the brand name, and to throw in a big "wow" factor for good measure.
Your communication must be fast, hard-hitting, and (hopefully) fun and engaging. Even if you have 10 great product attributes to describe to a physician, you have to make the hard decision and pick the one most important point to communicate. Establish a clear link between the technology/activity, the attendee's area of interest or expertise, and your brand message. Brand and therapy relevance are key to success.

One application of technology, bio-interactivity, has garnered great success—especially in the medical-convention environment. For example, an exhibitor marketing a hypertension medication engaged physicians at a recent cardiology show by creating an interactive video game challenge called Race Under Pressure. Participants steered a virtual car using a mock steering wheel. Players wore computer-monitored pulse meters, which caused the virtual car to speed up or slow down depending on their pulse rate. On-screen controls kept players informed of their current pulse status and the elapsed time. Typically, the cardiologist's pulse increased as the race ensued, thereby making it difficult to control the car. If a player lost control of the car and crashed, he or she had to answer a product question to get back on course. The ultimate goal was to leave the cardiologist with a strong sense of connection between hypertension control, blood pressure alleviation, and the brand name.

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