Maximizing The Mic
Speaking opportunities, networking, media briefings, oh my! These are just a few of the many competing elements that are part of a strong event strategy. From nimble health IT startups attempting to break through the HIMSS noise to million-dollar companies delivering value through an annual user conference, we’ve worked with healthcare companies across the spectrum to strengthen their investment in events.
How can you strengthen your event approach to ensure that value is generated for your C-suite and, more importantly, your clients or customers? Consider the three E’s of event attendance: Evaluate, Engage, Educate.
Pre-Event Preparation: Evaluate
While preparing to attend an annual industry event or speak at a well-known conference, it can be easy to overcommit in an attempt to make it a valuable use of time and resources. However, it’s also risky and can easily lead to frustration and failure, making this the most important part in the process.
Pause and evaluate the participation level warranted for the event in conjunction with how much time you have to prepare to map out an integrated plan and messaging. This integral step will help you determine how to prioritize activities and communication channels in the pre-, during- and post-event stages, from content to social to engagement to media.
Consider who is attending the conference on the organization’s behalf. If it’s a key event for the sales team, skip media briefings. Instead, focus on approaches – i.e., sales enablement initiatives – to strengthen existing relationships and forge new connections with event attendees. Is an executive speaking with a customer? Map out a promotional and content strategy plan around the session’s topic. Assess if you’re equipped to use social media as a thought leadership vehicle or if you can identify content themes for post-event promotional materials – or both.
Onsite Attendance: Engage
If you’re investing time and resources to travel to and walk the event floor, it’s important to engage – with attending media, current customers, prospects, peers, competitors, and thought leaders. Create an agenda as part of your integrated plan that includes the events or activities most valuable to the company and its stakeholders.
Listen to sessions that align with current business challenges, visit booths to assess the competitive landscape, schedule briefings with media, or track and participate in online conversations via the social media event hashtag. These steps are valuable ways to not only engage in the event, but also gauge the thought leadership and marketing content that resonates most with attendees and can support your post-event outreach efforts.
Post-Event Promotion: Educate
You’ve planned for and attended the big event. You’re done right? Not so fast.
One of the easiest ways to extend the value of an industry event or user conference is to identify how you can apply that knowledge. Identify core themes from the event that align with your business, assess the audience response – and questions – to create materials that educate and deliver value to your internal peers, customers, and prospects.
Whether you’re unpacking the latest health IT trends, providing commentary on new value-based care initiatives, or answering the questions you heard from the conference, you can build a robust content map that serves several of your channels.
Interested in extending the value of your event strategy? Give us a call.