Last week I promised to write a more detailed story about my Robert Griggs encounter unless something shiny distracted me.
Something very shiny happened, a real marketing challenge for me.
From 10x to MDTX
If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you likely know the 10x Medical Device Conference I’ve hosted for each of the past five years.
If not, here’s an extremely condensed recap:
→ Inherited Medical Devices Group 2011
→ 10x Conference 2013-14 (MN) to meet group members
→ 10x 2015-17 (San Diego)
→ Josh at Informa suggests joint venture; I agree
→ 10x (conference) with MDTX (exhibition floor) in New Jersey (April 2018)
→ in Northern San Diego (October 2018)
Adding Informa, a publicly traded $1.6-billion company in the exhibition world (they run Arab Health), greatly magnified the event.
10x: San Diego Marriott (capacity 250).
MDTX: Meadowlands Expo Center (capacity 3,000).
The concept changed too.
10x: For all functions to learn and network.
MDTX: For product creators and producers to get to market faster and smarter.
Despite the changes, Josh and I were in total lockstep.
The new event would “drop the pretense” of almost all medical device events.
We’d still serve ice cream, show fun movie clips, and have fun.
The topics would be different but not the spirit and focus on the customer experience.
We kept my 10x website because:
(a) MedicalDeviceEvents.com has won Google searches for the coveted “medical device conferences” search for years now; and,
(b) The 10x site was familiar to my primary audience, members of the Medical Devices Group (350,000+ members).
To keep the familiar look and feel, the landing page below changed little from year ago.
And it’s completely understandable that Informa needed to build their business on a platform over which they had total control. This $1.6-billion publicly traded company with lawyers and shareholders aren’t going to have a WordPress website run by “Joe Hage.”
Who the hell is “Joe Hage,” you can hear their bigwig say.
So we have two websites. Here’s theirs. It’s very different.
When it came to the all-important brochure, we agreed they’d create it.
And that brings us to the point of our story.
The MDTX brochure
Will it look like 10x? Will it look like MDTX? Will it look like a blend or something completely new?
Here’s the first draft I got last week. It reflected art from an earlier MDTX website.
It’s pretty good, but I thought we could do better because, to me:
(a) It looked as though it could come from any conference producer; and,
(b) It lacked the fun and customer feeling.
And that couldn’t happen. Because that’s our main differentiator.
So after consulting with Josh and Joanna, we agreed I’d give it a try.
I’m not proud of the mockup below but – in the spirit of The Journey – you get me, warts and all, and see what went into making medical device marketing happen. A lot of my work is exploratory and iterative.
So here it is.
When I presented it to Josh and Joanna, I said, “Yes, this is the proposed cover. I know no conference producer in their right mind would EVER issue this.”
Which is why I wanted to.
Again, I’m no designer. I desperately wanted to convey:
→ No pretense (I didn’t feel great about the adjective ‘relaxed’)
→ It’s about medical device design, development, manufacturing, and commercialization
→ It will help you get to market faster and smarter
→ We’re wearing jeans, it will be friendly and easy-going
→ I’m still serving ice cream! We’ll have fun!
So I gave it to David, my designer in Nicaragua, to execute it.
And he did. Faithfully.
And I realized…
… this sucks.
So I went to my co-conspirator Bruce Colthart and told him what I needed.
And two hours later, magic happened.
GREEN versus ORANGE
I’ll fast forward through the iterations; Bruce nailed it on the first go.
And when I pressed him for color choices he gave me two that were so good, I couldn’t decide.
I know, right?
I couldn’t believe how well Bruce executed on the concept. And I remembered why I’ve been using him for years.
Now here’s the important part for you, the point of this whole post.
I sensed an opportunity with my indecision.
I know a lotta people and have a considerable following on LinkedIn.
So why not ask them which one they prefer? (It would be more engaging than another “come to the event” email.)
I got 1,729 views of the side-by-side, with six likes and 24 comments. (Each interaction shares my content on other LinkedIn feeds.)
Inspired, I thought ASKING WHICH brochure you prefer would be better than a binary WANT THE BROCHURE?
So I decided “GREEN v ORANGE” would be the theme of Tuesday’s Medical Devices Group announcement, emailed to 280,000 group members. To launch on time, that meant my team had two-and-a-half days to:
• Finish writing and conceiving the brochure
• Getting buy-in from Josh and Joanna
• Making the brochure twice, in green and orange
• Design and launch a green versus orange landing page for voting
• Design and launch a green follow-up page and an orange one for visitors to request a brochure in the chosen color
• Have trigger links (explained in Journey #7) associated with those landing pages so Drip would know how/why these new subscribers entered the database
• Write autoreply emails to immediately send the correct brochure to the new subscriber
And you know what?
We did it.
Talk about a committed team!
In Journey #3 “Taking the Leap,” I was afraid to build a team and incur the expense.
I have no regrets.
Thank you, Bruce for your awesome design concept and turnaround.
Thank you, David for staying up until 3:45 a.m. to finish the brochures.
Thank you, Matt for staying up until 4:30 a.m. to finish the landing pages and test through Drip.
And thank you, Journeypeople, for giving me the motivation to spend the last five hours capturing my adventure.
The click-throughs and votes were fewer than I expected but I’ll take 67 new subscribers with an expressed interest in my event any day of the week and all day long.
Haven’t I put you through enough today?
Here. Here’s one of my all-time favorite photos with my Lucas. He turns 14 today and tonight, we’re going out for sushi, his favorite.
Thank you for joining me on The Journey.
See you next week – or sooner – if you choose to reply to this email,
P.S. Write me back to wish Lucas a happy birthday. I’ll pass your message along!