My friend Brian Johnson, the founder of popular medical device publication MassDevice.com, emailed me.
“Joe,” he wrote, “Wondering if you had any creative marketing ideas for this. I’m thinking Linkedin promotions but I want stuff that’s effective. Got any ideas to promote the December 12 MassDevice Big 100 Regional Roundtable West Conference? (It’s since become the popular Device Talks series.)
Brian graciously agreed to let me share my advice with you here.
I replied, “Thanks for asking, Brian. Here are a few thoughts.”
1. Point of Difference. How is this conference different than any other medical device conference? Unless I am particularly interested in Edwards, Masimo, or Volcano, why should I come? What will I get out of it that is different and worth the price of airfare, hotel, and admission? At a glance, I’m not sure what it would be. Answer this, and we can work on your messaging.
- Create an Online Video. 30-seconds of talking head may help communicate what I’ll get out of it.
2. Social Proof. I may want to go if I know WHO will be there. After all, my primary motivation is probably networking for a business deal or new position. For example, I personally want to do some work for Boston Scientific. Will someone of influence be there? If yes, show me his/her name and that may make the difference whether I attend or not.
- Variable email. Read “Strategy for a Medical Equipment Trade Show or Event.” Experiment with subject lines and slot in names of people you think I’d want to meet. For example, you might send Boston Scientific names of other attendees from the orthopedic market.
3. Recharacterize the “Friendly but Frank Discussion.” If I were able to “brainstorm” with Mussallem, Kiani, or Huennekens, that would be a value I cannot find anywhere else. If you expect 200 attendees, plan to break us out into three groups of 70. Have a moderator, perhaps a panel, and include one of the CEOs there for question and answers for our business issues.
4. Make Online an Option. Most of your target simply cannot afford a two-to-three-day (including travel) absence from work. Create a live-feed option. You can probably charge $129 for it, $99 for early birds.
5. Accept a Maybe. If you capture a prospect’s email address, you can reach those people interested but not ready to commit. Or for those interested but sure not to attend (like me, I’ll be on vacation). At present, there is no way for me to say, “Brian, that’s valuable, I might even be willing to give you some money to view a replay, but that’s not an option.”