Healthcare Exhibitors: Be in the Room Where It Happens


If you have been fortunate enough to see “Hamilton,” you no doubt remember a number in the second act when Aaron Burr, realizing that Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison are making a deal over dinner to support Hamilton’s financial system in return for Hamilton’s agreeing to moving the capital city, sings “No one else was in the room where it happened.”

As Burr becomes aware that he is an outsider, that decisions are being made without his input, he sings a song that is, according to The New Yorker, about “power and powerlessness.”

Sound familiar? As a healthcare exhibit manager, you know that your budget is probably larger than almost any other marketing initiative, yet are you in the room when the decisions are made? Do your colleagues perceive you as a tactical person who orders services and carpets rather than a person who should be in “the room where it happens” when decisions are made about connecting with HCPs and patients?

Diverse channels should not mean diverse content

There was a time, not too many years ago, when journal ads and conventions were the heartbeat of healthcare marketing. But that has changed. Digital marketing, direct-to-consumer advertising (DTC), e- detailing, interactive sales tools, out of home initiatives such as 5ks that raise awareness of various diseases—all of these touch points with HCPs as well as with patient populations demand attention. For far too many years, product marketing in healthcare has been siloed, with little sharing from one initiative to another. The result has been a very fragmented delivery of brand messaging and product information.

Why you should be in the room where it happens

At the very least, you need to be in the room. You need to have a seat at the table where decisions are made and where product marketing is deconstructed and messages are crafted. In addition to working with your exhibit partner, you need to be in front of the product agency, or agencies, as is often the case, and because you know more about face-to-face marketing than anyone else, your voice needs to be heard. Your colleagues need to realize that your program is one of the last personal touch points with HCPs, particularly as field sales calls are thwarted by operational efficiencies at various practices and hospitals.

Your insights and experience are important for cohesive marketing

Execution of the brand strategy in a face-to-face environment is challenging in and of itself, but even more important, there are several areas where your insights and input are essential. Those areas are:

  • Content Strategy (brand stories)
  • Data Capture
  • Technology integration
  • Channel integration for optimal experiences
  • Enhancing the face-to-face experience with memorable brand assets

Over the next few weeks, we will be exploring how you can enhance your participation in decisions that affect your work and that ultimately protect your program and your budget. Or in the words of the title character in “Hamilton,”

When you got skin in the game, you stay in the game. But you don’t get a win unless you play in the game.

For help in planning your healthcare strategy and working with a healthcare exhibit house, download our free guide, Creative Bravery: Face to Face Marketing Strategies for the Healthcare Industry now.

creative bravery for healthcare industry face to face marketing strategies