Convention Booths: Worth It or Waste of Money?

Dear House Rules,

My company has had a booth at a large medical convention for years. As the new Director of Marketing, I’m looking at every single ad campaign, page of vis aid content, and other marketing tactic we have in circulation. My goal? ROI. I only want our customers interacting with marketing tactics with proven success. How do I calculate that for my convention spend?

ROI is King

Dear King,

While it’s certainly true that ROI is important, you might want to expand your definition of ROI – especially in terms of conventions. In today’s world, where so much business is conducted on the phone or digitally, meeting physicians and hospital administrators face-to-face is more valuable than ever. An occasional prescriber can become a frequent prescriber based on your convention presentation, and a frequent prescriber can become a KOL.

To your point, however, you want to keep your costs down and use your time and resources wisely. In order to accomplish those goals, you need to measure and improve your current strategies. Without data, your decisions about exhibiting or attending are based on little more than intuition..

The key is balance.


Tangible ROI

•The direct definition of ROI is a ratio of investment to profit. In pharma terms, “profit” is difficult to calculate in real time, but technology is making it easier to collect other types of critical data for measuring your trade show ROI. With more flexible platforms such as tablets and kiosks, getting information about your target audience has never been easier.

•Make sure to establish your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) well before the convention begins. KPIs are sets of data that act as your primary objectives at a convention. Some examples of KPIs are booth traffic, number of email addresses collected, and product sell sheet hand-outs.

•Convention KPIs can even be an effective starting point for future marketing campaigns. For example, you can use email sign-ups for future email marketing campaigns and create new KPIs such as open rates and responses.


Intangible ROI

•Convention marketing can leave impressions on attendees without you fully realizing it. If you define your ROI at an event by one single number such as physicians who signed up for your email list, your brand will miss the big picture.

•For many pharmaceutical companies, there is a certain amount of thought leadership that is associated with their participation at medical conventions. “We’re always at ACOG. With so many products in the cardiovascular space, we always rent a corner booth at AHA.” Physicians (especially specialists) come to expect to see certain “big players” in their particular area. This provides pharma companies with excellent opportunities to introduce new products, new indications for existing products, or even offer HCPs a “tour” of an interesting new study using an online quiz or similar learning metric.

•The biggest intangible element that will cause positive impressions on HCPs is your knowledgeable, articulate, and engaging booth staff. Their skill in presenting to your audience effectively can more than justify the cost of flying that employee to the destination and paying lodging costs.

Ultimately, however, it’s important for both tangible and intangible ROI for you to have outstanding convention content. Whether it’s an MOA video of your newest product that plays on a loop or a migraine VR experience or a competition that capitalizes on HCPs’ competitive natures, you need to present tightly written and designed tactics that can cut through the clutter and cacophony of a convention and make a lasting impression. At Xavier Creative House, we’ve created numerous convention displays for pharma clients, and we’d love to share our expertise with you. Just reach out to us via phone, email, or social media!

References: 1. https://velvetchainsaw.com/2010/12/06/calculating-roi-for-your-tradeshow-booth/. Accessed March 18, 2018. 2. https://metroexhibits.com/trade-show-roi/. Accessed March 19, 2018.

About Xavier Creative House

Founded in 2013, Xavier Creative House (XCH) is an award-winning healthcare creative agency specializing in pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical device. XCH’s global team of brand builders and healthcare marketers, tech-savvy go-getters, and innovative dream-vetters are passionate about the big idea that changes behavior in the healthcare marketplace. They believe life is about connections and that healthcare is about life. That is why XCH delivers bold and evocative creative solutions, amplified by meaningful technology, to energize brands and authentically connect with patients and HCPs.

Where Healthcare Brands Live®

For more information, contact

Sunny White
Founder & CEO of Xavier Creative House