At our agency we think of HIMSS as our “Christmas.” We face similar time pressures and high expectations as those in retail leading up to the holiday, but as one team member says, “HIMSS is the ‘Happiest Time of Year.”
Like the annual family gatherings, we see clients, media, analysts and industry leaders all in one place. We network with old and new colleagues, learn about new offerings and trends and much more. However, it’s not all Christmas carols and eggnog. There’s quite a bit of hard work that occurs months before HIMSS: arranging meetings, creating themes, developing strategies and plans, and then poof – it’s over. Just like Christmas, the rush of opening presents is over in a blink and before you know it, it’s time to take the tree down and do your gift returns.
It’s true, HIMSS is now over, but there is still fun to be had! As you leverage the opportunities you uncovered and follow-up on all of the activities leading up to and at the show, you’ll experience the “gifts” of secured bylined articles, analyst coverage and strengthened relationships.
And even if you still have a HIMSS hangover — and that extra Tylenol and sleep hasn’t yet kicked in – we’ve made it easy for you with the best practices listed below. Follow each step and you’ll magic those leads into tangible results!
- Do your follow-ups from media interviews, networking events, speakers you enjoyed, potential partners, existing partners with whom you met, etc. In fact, often the best conversations come from those random instances where you bumped into someone on the exhibit hall floor or in the elevator. Never underestimate the impact of unexpected conversations and meetings at HIMSS – those are my favorites. After 20+ years of attending the conference, I love the reunion aspect of it. It’s the perfect way to re-connect with industry colleagues, clients and members of the media. Be sure to follow-up with a note on LinkedIn or an email – you never know what will happen!
- Great information doesn’t mean actionable information. Translate what you’ve heard/learned into goals and actionable next steps. But don’t get distracted by the shiny new objects that you learned about at HIMSS. Instead, focus on what applies to your organization, your product line and the larger business/industry problems that your company’s solutions address. Don’t try to be all things to all people – it just doesn’t work. Be clear about who you are, your value proposition and unique differentiators, and most importantly, how you solve your client’s real-world problems.
- Biggest challenge: Prioritization of all those great ideas! HIMSS is over – now don’t waste the investment. Develop a calendar of follow-up marketing initiatives to continue driving interest and momentum, along with an execution strategy. Below are some of my personal secrets to success:
- Did you launch a new product at HIMSS? Do you have a client user or a pilot running? Did you conduct a Focus Group or survey at the show? Now is a good time to share the results. Leverage post-HIMSS press releases to continue the excitement. Be strategic and space the news out appropriately. Generally, I recommend a cadence of every other week, if news permits.
- Continue your social media outreach using #HIMSS17 – and even add #HIMSS18 as you look toward the coming year’s trends!
- Wondering what to do with all the contact information you collected from prospects, potential partners and investors who stopped by your booth? Implement a timely email campaign to continue the conversations and reach them at various stages of the buying funnel. I suggest disseminating a series of targeted e-blasts with a strong call-to-action such as downloading a gated white paper, infographic, ROI calculator or other value-added content.
- Did you capture client testimonial videos at the show? Embed them into your corporate presentations, highlight them on your website and promote them via social media.
- Did you or your clients present at HIMSS? Take that content and turn it into one or more thought leader articles, blog posts, ebooks, webinars (which can then be uploaded to SlideShare), podcasts and possibly the inspiration for a thought leadership video series. Content can usually be sliced and diced in multiple ways; leverage what you have rather than creating new materials.
- Biggest misstep: Not tying your new/updated goals, strategies, and tactics derived from HIMSS’ insights to your organizational KPIs. Remember, if your results don’t track to the CEO’s expectations, they don’t count!
P.S. Don’t forget to tune in for my next post on healthcare IT analysts’ and key influencers’ top takeaways from HIMSS. They’ll set you on the right path for the rest of 2017! Finally, I hope you all had a Merry HIMSS – I know our A-Team did!