The Healthcare Convention and Exhibitors Association (HCEA) traditionally holds two large events each year in addition to its webinars and regional mixers. The Annual Meeting is generally held in June, and the Convention Marketing Summit is usually scheduled for January.
This year, the Summit was held in Boston on January 19 and featured an agenda that included case studies of successful programs, best practices and panel discussions that addressed critical issues in healthcare convention marketing. The two panels, Frank Talk About How Physicians Value Medical Meetings and Conventions and Healthcare Exhibitions and Interpreting Transparency were general sessions because the content of both helps to drive strategy for exhibitors and suppliers alike. Learning what is meaningful to healthcare professionals as well as frank discussions about pricing, association policies, labor practices and the role of exhibit advisory councils (EACs) are evolutionary topics. The candid give-and-take contributes to not only increased understanding among all involved parties but a more successful overall execution of convention programs.
The case studies focused on success in using technology in both exhibits and association administration, as well as how companies determine fair market value when they are designing their exhibit programs. Focusing on strategy in developing an exhibit marketing program and a review of trends in global exhibiting gave attendees the opportunity to benchmark their programs.
There was also a session that reviewed the current state of the Sunshine provisions from the 2010 Federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Since these provisions will mandate tracking aggregate spend on individual physicians, they will have an impact on convention programs and activities.
The Summit opened with a reception, sponsored by Sho-Aids, that gave everyone a chance to network as they anticipate the start of the 2012 convention season, a season which promises to be interesting as legislation gets enacted, patents expire and healthcare professionals demand more information to make the best choices. The program attracted 60 newcomers
with the total attendance in excess of 200 people.
To paraphrase Dr. Beverly MK Biller, MD, FACP, one of the panelists in the morning generalsession, the most precious commodity for a doctor is time, which is scarce in their day-to-day lives. Conventions give them the time to learn about products, ask questions, and find out what is available for them to help their patients. As challenging as the environment is for those involved in the exhibiting process, delivering that information has far reaching implications.