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Dispelling the stereotype of the experience customers expect and encouraging outside of the lines thinking was a key message during the 2014 Healthcare Convention & Exhibitors Association (HCEA) annual meeting held June 21-24 in Cleveland.

There were 419 attendees at this year’s meeting, which took place at the Cleveland Convention Center/Global Center for Health Innovation.

Featuring international keynote presenter and author Jeff Tobe, M.Ed, presentating “Coloring Outside the Lines … Creating a New Healthcare Meeting Experience,” the opening session provided insight into how to engage internal and external customers. This included considering customers’ experiences from the minute they make contact to the minute the experience has been completed.

HCEA annually conducts the Best Booth Contest for exhibitors, and judging criteria included exhibit environment, brand identity and product presentation, exhibit personnel effectiveness and relevance to HCEA attendees. The HCEA best small booth (10-feet-by-10-feet) winner was Live Marketing and best small booth runner up was Scientific Publishing/PosterMD. HCEA best large booth (10-feet-by-20-feet) went to Derse and best large booth runner up was Inhance Digital.

HCEA introduced new jump start education focused on the fundamental principles for success in health care convention management. The three-part series, led by experts in the health care convention and exhibits industry, provided professionals new to the industry and experienced professionals with the insights and tools instrumental in the development and execution of a successful health care convention strategy.

HCEA offered advanced-level education specifically geared toward meeting the needs of senior leaders within the health care exhibiting community for the second year. Dr. William Trombetta, Esq., Professor of Pharmaceutical Marketing at Saint Joseph University’s Haub School of Business, led the offering. The three-part series offered six hours of education over two days focused on defining and developing marketing strategy .

Greg Harris, President and CEO of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum provided the closing address. During his presentation, “Behind the Scenes: The Soundtrack of Our Lives,” Harris made a correlation between museum displays and exhibit booths noting that the design of your space tells the story of who you are. The Museum has welcomed nearly nine million visitors to Cleveland and has generated more than $2 billion in economic impact for the region since opening in 1995.

Attendees participated in more than 50 sessions and more than 10 hours of continuing education programs with learning levels for those just starting out in the industry as well as those with industry experience. Educational themes included regulatory and compliance technology, event logistics and planning, global issues, marketing, measurement, and professional and personal development. Content was designed to appeal to the educational needs of the various attendee groups including associations, medical device manufacturers, and pharmaceutical companies and included interactive discussion formats such as panels and roundtables.

In addition, HCEA’s 2014-15 Board of Directors was announced, with Diane Benson, CTSM, GE Healthcare, installed as HCEA President. HCEA Immediate Past President Sue Huff, Medtronic Inc., was honored with the HCEA Distinguished Service Award to acknowledge her decades of service in the health care convention marketing industry and her dedication to HCEA.


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