So my first MDTX event was last week.
It went really well. I’m really happy with how it turned out. So much so, I’m phasing out the 10x Medical Device Conference name with the possibility of bringing it back at a later date in a different form.
The event focused on medical device design, development, manufacturing, and commercialization. That’s a far cry from my marketing, strategy, sales, and business development “comfort zone.”
Still, every single speaker engaged the audience about relevant topics. There isn’t one I wouldn’t invite back.
And the ???? was good. The photo to the right is probably my favorite of the April 2018 event.
Just goes to show you my priorities.
Onward: With our first MDTX under our belts, the Informa team and I weathered the “hard part.” Subsequent shows should be a breeze, with higher registrations and improvements we make from customer feedback.
Which brings me to the point of today’s Journey.
Knowing when to keep your mouth shut
As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, Informa is huge.
They do more than $800 million in conference and exhibition revenue each year.
They obviously know what they are doing and it would be entirely too presumptuous for me to think I know better than they.
Unfortunately and regrettably for everyone involved – including you, my dear reader – I am entirely too presumptuous.
It’s a character flaw, I get it. And yet here we are.
The old way to survey
After every event, Informa surveys participants. They benchmark the metrics against other shows they’ve done, so it’s important to have consistency from one show’s survey to the next.
That way, they can compare apples to apples, as best they can.
Therefore they use the same tired survey. Forever. Or until someone challenges the status quo.
Enter the presumptuous partner.
I got a copy of the proposed survey before the event took place. I gave my too-long-to-share-here question-by-question feedback.
In short, I hated the whole thing but for one open-ended question.
Here is a cross-section of survey questions and why I objected.
Questions and rebuttals
Overall, the impersonal survey smacked in the face of everything the MDTX brand stands for: We’re different! We’re fun! We wear jeans, eat ice cream, create a family environment and you can learn from experts and network with people to build long-term relationships.
Second, we were asking questions that would have had ZERO impact on decisions we make for future shows.
Third, many questions were just plain tiresome. No “chance to win a $200 Amazon gift card” was going to motivate hundreds to complete it.
The question was: What was your role at Medical Device Technology Exchange (MDTX)?
My reply was: We KNOW what they did there. Why are we asking them for information we already know?
The question was: As a sponsor, do you feel you made quality business connections at MDTX?
My reply was: You don’t think we’ll hear it loud and clear? You plan to never talk with these folks again?
The question was: How would you rate the overall quality of the programming/sessions?
My reply was: We will be in the same room as they. We’ll know within three minutes of a speaker’s talk if we made a mistake giving them the floor.
The question was: As a speaker, how would you rate the overall quality of your fellow presenters?
My reply was: “I thought they sucked.” What would you do with that? “I thought they were GREAT!” What would you do with that?
The question was: Did the programming/sessions address the latest issues in medical device technology?
My reply was: What does this even mean? ????????????
The question was: How would you characterize the amount of time provided for Q&A and discussion?
My reply was: It was too little for the topics that interested me. It was too long for the topics that didn’t interest me. Now what?
The question was: As a speaker, how would you characterize the amount of time you had to address your topic?
My reply was: “I would have liked more time to talk about myself, my expertise, and my company. Can I get more time next time?”
The question was: If you would not recommend the event, why?
My reply was: Will these help you serve that unsatisfied customer better? What if they say:
• I knew most of the stuff they presented. In fact, I could have given a better presentation.
• The exhibitors were not relevant for me.
• I can’t believe I paid x. I should have paid y. It wasn’t worth it.
• To be honest, the host (Joe Hage) got on my nerves a little bit.
The question was: How could we improve the MDTX event?
My reply was: ???? Hooray! Let’s ask this in a non-survey format.
The question was: What other location(s) would you like to see for future MDTX events?
My reply was: Near my house! Or a good vacation spot!
The question was: Would you like to provide some comments about MDTX that we can use in future promotional materials?
My reply was: Sure, but I already gave it to Joe Hage when he personally wrote me and followed up with me as an individual.
The question was: Please provide your name, title and company only if MDTX can attribute the quotation to you.
My reply was: We KNOW this already! We just emailed them.
The question was: Thank you for your time and input! In order to enter the drawing for a $50 Visa gift card, please provide the contact information below. Only respondents who complete all information below will be included in the drawing; without this information we are unable to deliver the gift card to the drawing winner.
My reply was: Tell you what. If I win, email me and I’ll give you all the information you need. In the meanwhile, you already know my name and my email so why are you asking me again? And no, I prefer not giving you my address/city/state/ZIP because I don’t want you mailing me anything.
Conclusion and examples
If it’s not in the interest of the customer – and – the information won’t impact future decisions, don’t do it.
Instead, take after me. Recall what an individual said to you at the show and don’t ask him the same question again.
Or follow up with her casually as I did with Christine today over LinkedIn.
I also casually learned Matt doesn’t have the budget to exhibit in San Diego but will attend, and Rick doesn’t have a presence on the West Coast so he’ll wait for next year’s East Coast event. So no need to bother them with surveys.
You get the idea.
Do you work with someone in charge of customer feedback? Then please, share this post with them.
No Fast Round this week
Haven’t I put you through enough?
Instead, this one image. I first learned it 25 years ago. I never forgot it.
Thank you for joining me on The Journey.
See you next week – or sooner – if you choose to reply to this email,
P.S. I really enjoyed holding the microphone this week. Want me to speak at your next event? Could be fun and meaningful for us both. Ask me!