Achieving the “Wow” factor with conference booths.
Five tips to delight audiences
Conferences offer tremendous opportunities to engage, educate, and delight key audiences. They present chances to go face-to-face with the people who make decisions about your product.
Then, you walk into the hotel… and see a competitor’s banner covering two sides of the building.
Standing out at conferences is hard. Standing out without spending a fortune on promotion is even harder. Yet, marketers who create great conference booth experiences — and leverage the power of digital to promote them — can maximize impact and engagement without going over budget.
We interviewed Account Director Erin Parisi and Executive Creative Director Gregory Grossto learn how they executed Plasma City, a successful conference experience for Grifols at the National Hemophilia Foundation’s (NHF) annual conference in Orlando, Florida.
NHF hosts one of the most prominent hemophilia events in the US, with thousands of patients, caregivers, and HCPs in attendance. The hemophilia community is relatively small and close-knit. “It feels like a family reunion,” said Gross. “The kids really bond at the convention.”
The event came at a landmark moment for a Grifols brand. A new study had just been published that contained highly relevant findings. NHF’s conference occurred at an optimal time to amplify the brand’s presence while the community was already talking about the impact of the study results on the product class.
It’s a campaign — not a single execution. Engagement can begin the moment your audience steps off the plane, and it can last long after the conference. Taking a holistic view is important because it ensures that you’ll stay balanced in your tactics. We used a balanced set of tactics to drive success for Plasma City, instead of investing too heavily into one particular channel.
Tell a story. A powerful, coherent story transforms a set of tactics into a memorable experience. A good story will not only add depth to the messaging, it will lend itself to numerous on-theme engagement opportunities. For NHF’s conference, our story was about building each patient’s future, and constructing the “city” served as a metaphor. “Not only was the construction theme a great way to communicate the core messaging,” said Parisi, “it opened up all these fun experiences, like posing with construction props and building with LEGO® bricks.”
Understand what really moves your audience. In order to invest your dollars wisely, you need solid understanding of which messages and tactics will capture and engage your target audience. “We knew the kids would love the colors, games, and ice cream,” said Parisi, “but we made sure to have lots of information and resources on hand for Mom and Dad, too.”
Be interactive; be memorable. Over the course of the conference, we built a continually evolving LEGO® brick sculpture, which kids were invited to add to by building their own constructions. “We got an incredible artist to build this intricate, detailed city. Each day it grew, which motivated kids to keep coming back,” said Parisi. We also invited families to take photos while holding construction props in front of a printed backdrop. “Encouraging photos is a great way to help families memorialize the event,” said Gross, “and the photos really serve as a memento of all the fun times they had.”
Use smart tactics to ensure your message is heard. A booth is only effective if it has an audience. GTO used a few high-ROI placements to get the word out and drive traffic:
- An intriguing banner at the airport that invited visitors to the Plasma City booth 2.
- Print and digital sponsorships on conference materials. “Everybody was reading the materials,” said Parisi. “We think it really helped drive traffic.” 3.
- Push notifications on the official conference app. Parisi: “These were surprisingly effective! It was a hyper-targeted audience, and everybody was using the app, so the metrics looked great.”
Conferences often require extensive investment to be successful. But it’s clear that with a compelling, evocative story, ample interactivity, an engagement-first focus, and smart tactical support, a conference booth can serve as a memorable, fun, and informative experience for patients and their families.
LEGO® is a trademark of the LEGO group of companies.