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HIMSS18: How to Break Through the Noise

It’s that time of the year again — welcome to the wild ride of preparing for, getting through, and (eventually) recovering from HIMSS. We have many health tech clients that participate in this behemoth event every year, and no matter their level of involvement, all have interest in garnering attention for their brand.

This is no easy feat. Have you ever been to a HIMSS event? Controlled(ish) chaos is an accurate descriptor. It’s a crowded space with companies making huge investments to stand out. This leads us to the number one question we are asked by our participating clients: how do we cut through the noise and stand out?

The good news is you don’t have to be completely over the top to be noticed. We’ve developed some best practices that have helped our clients garner attention from media, prospects, and analysts over many years of HIMSS attendance.

A Solid News Strategy

Companies often want to make announcements at HIMSS, many targeting the first day of the event for distribution. The problem is, unless you’re a large, publicly traded company (or Epic) announcing something that will shake up the healthcare industry, you’re likely to be drowned out. We counsel clients to announce significant news at least two weeks prior to the event, creating momentum and helping garner interest from target audiences in pre-HIMSS interviews and in-person meetings at the show.

Onsite, the key ingredient in securing briefings is having customers and/or end-users in person and able to participate in interviews. Many reporters in attendance have been told explicitly by their editors to only take vendor meetings if an end-user is also present, allowing for more vendor-neutral, balanced coverage. If this isn’t possible at the event, take advantage of pre-event conversations via phone.

Engagement on Social Media

Engaging with media and influencers on social media should not be overlooked. The HIMSS18 Social Media Ambassadors are highly influential, creating a powerful network that pushes industry discussion forward around HIMSS and throughout the year. Effective engagement strategies with these influencers can also result in media attention. Be sure to follow and engage with their content, ask smart questions, and provide thoughtful opinions. This sets your brand up for increased social reach, as reporters are more likely to engage with you if a strong connection is established through several points of contact.

In the weeks leading up to— and following— the event, you should tease client stories, case studies, and data demonstrating results via your social platforms. This helps provide a face and name for key audiences, including media, to associate with.

A Unique Point of View                                                       

Health tech company spokespeople can be predictable. They often stick to rigid talking points and are unwilling to offer provocative, unique perspectives on the challenges the industry and their companies face. Having a member of the C-suite or senior leader who is willing to push the envelope and offer candid commentary is extremely helpful when trying to secure media attention and coverage. But, make sure the commentary is relevant. Reporters see through edgy for the sake of edgy, so also be sure it’s grounded in sound business strategy or rooted in industry needs.

Leverage your executives’ social channels as a thought leadership platform. Not only does this allow your subject matter experts to showcase their expertise in the space, but it also ensures a consistent and unified approach to brand strategy. The most appropriate social channels for sharing leadership points of view are LinkedIn and Twitter. Executives can provide perspective on a key trend with a provocative point of view via a LinkedIn group, or join larger conversations taking place through the hashtag #HIMSS18.

A Desire to Build Relationships

Not all media interviews result in immediate coverage, especially for startups that may only have beta customers and/or limited results to share. The key is to have an open mind. It’s just as critical, if not more, for spokespeople to establish themselves as a valuable source for a reporter, rather than always asking for and expecting coverage.

Go into media briefings with the goal of getting on a reporter’s radar so the next time they are covering your category or need a source, you are top of mind. Your social platforms can help build relationships with key reporters. Regularly engaging with a targeted group of individuals via social media shows you’re not just in the relationship for coverage.

Cut the Jargon

We are all developing an immunity to the ubiquitous marketing speak used by so many health tech companies: “We enable innovation.” “We simplify workflows.” “We power population health.” Companies are bursting at the seams with messages that overpromise and under-deliver while hospitals and health systems are facing a time of great uncertainty. They are requiring a more concrete understanding of the technologies and services they are investing in—and more importantly—their ROI. Offering real-world examples of your solutions, demonstrating their impact, and letting that story be told by users in a simple way is very powerful.

With these tips in mind, we encourage health tech companies of all sizes to consider a different, more thoughtful approach to HIMSS this year. ReviveHealth will have our health tech experts on the ground. If you’re interested in meeting us, contact Shannon, smh@thinkrevivehealth.com.

February 6, 2018
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