At this year's Heathcare Convention and Exhibitors Assciation's annual meeting in Salt Lake City, UT, a panel of experts assembled
to discuss the keys to creating successful healthcare interactives. The panel included Marc Golderg, CME of Marketech, a specialist
in trade show and event staff training, exhibit market planning, and measurement services and consulting; Rameka Whitehurst,
Pfizer's senior manager, global congresses and conventions; Jerry Grady, vice president of business development at Cal Ostlund
Inc., developers in the design, production, and field management of trade show programs; David Clark, vice president of D&J
Electronics; and me.
The panel examined issues that might face healthcare exhibitors planning to use interactives in their exhibits. Highlights
included how to set goals and measure results, how to attract visitors to your booth, how best to avoid lines and walk-aways,
and how to create interactives that are attractive, easy-to-use, and packed with useful content.
The result was a list of "best practices" to enhance the planning, logistics, metrics, and overall efficacy of interactive
exhibits. Here are the top nine:
ESTABLISH GOALS Interactive exhibits are most effective when developed with clear goals in mind. Ask yourself: Are your targets loyal customers
or are they new to the product? Do you need to create a buzz around a new indication, or stimulate interest in a mature product?
How will the interactive help you hit your target? What goals need to be set in the following areas:
- Branding impression
- Lead generation
- Response time and traffic
The more specifically you define your purpose and your target audience, the more effectively you can tailor the interactive
experience to meet your goals.
BE CONSISTENT It is vital to integrate brand visuals and iconography into interactive exhibits. Create interactives that reflect the brand
visuals, ideals, and concepts that will bring the brand to life. In the highly competitive trade show environment, where vendors
compete for attention, technology can often overwhelm brand messaging. It is essential to follow regulations pertaining to
PhRMA, and AdvaMed marketing guidelines, as well as the show regulations. Use them to help you keep the emphasis on your product.
Ask yourself: Is your interactive relevant to the brand, or just cool?
CLARIFY The floor of an exhibit hall can be visually chaotic, with wall-to-wall information and competing messages. Clarity and focus
are of great importance. Determine an appropriate quantity of information to communicate for the setting—a few key messages
may be more easily communicated than a long list of product benefits. Break up dense information with menus and navigational
tools. Coordinate messaging to ensure that the interactives become comfortable tools for sales reps to initiate conversations
BE FLEXIBLE Given the mercurial nature of the healthcare industry, time and expense can be saved by developing scalable, flexible interactive
software. With a bit of work, interactive media can be designed to work on a range of devices, from large-scale plasma displays
to hand-held tablet PCs. The extra effort is worthwhile, because it ensures that the media can be easily repurposed for exhibits
large and small. If you plan ahead, the content you develop for the exhibit floor can be repurposed for product Web sites
and training DVD-ROMs. Expect that whatever content you create will change multiple times even before its initial use, and
will likely change regularly between events. Develop interactive programs with dynamic, plug-in content and images to create
a simpler, quicker update process.
CHOOSE WELL With goals defined, choose interactive experiences that best address your messaging, branding, and demographic goals. The
right interactive will attract the targeted physicians and healthcare professionals, and keep them engaged with a mixture
of entertainment and education:
- Kiosks can be an eye-catching way to communicate dense product information
- Challenges build traffic and excitement with competitive educational quizzes
- Multimedia presentations for detailing individuals or groups put a high-tech gloss on product messaging to bring brand messages
- Virtual patients provide an emotional connection and a narrative where doctors can engage with your product