The Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Healthcare Tech Conference
Posted on Sep 19, 2018
mHealth…HIT…consumer electronics…Leadership...Healthcare is all connected, but there’s an amazing amount of diversity in the field. The same goes for healthcare tech conferences, and that means choosing the right one for your organization’s needs can be a challenge.
It might be tempting simply to attend the most convenient or most affordable, but it’s very easy to waste time, effort, as well as thousands (to tens of thousands of dollars) on a conference that doesn’t meet your organizational goals.
If your team is considering attending a healthcare tech conference over the next year to reap some of the great benefits they offer, this guide will help you get the most out of your conference investment.
How to Choose a Conference
Lots of organizations first look for a conference that’s popular, or close, but this is a mistake. Getting the most out of your conference dollars should start with creating a short list of conferences that align with what you want to achieve.
Of course, this is going to vary depending on your organization, so here are some suggestions.
You’re still feeling out where you fit in the landscape of healthcare solutions, so your goals should be finding conferences that help you check out opportunities for pilots to prove the value of your solution as well as potential partners. Also keep an eye out for a focus on startups, pitch sessions, budget-friendly options, and events where you can send one or two representatives.
SME (Small to Medium Enterprises)
You’re established and know how you’re positioned in the industry so choosing conferences will be about creating awareness and generating leads. Look for conferences with high attendance rates and buzz among your target market. Definitely keep an eye out for the availability of vendor lists and educational opportunities that will help you refine your products and services. Also, don’t miss the opportunity to use conferences to conduct surveys that will help you on the product development front.
Companies at the enterprise level have the opportunity to move from providing solutions to becoming a force in the industry. Keep an eye out for conferences that offer high media coverage and sponsorship opportunities (traditional advertising as well as branded webinars, app sponsorship, etc.), as well as the chance for your most engaged executives to sit on and host panels. Look at conferences as a way to build thought leadership and influence and cement your name in the healthcare tech space.
New to the Industry
If you’re an established company but new to the healthcare industry, choosing a healthcare tech conference can be especially challenging. Skip over conferences that are too generic and look for events that align cleanly with the value you provide. This will help you learn where you fit in the healthcare puzzle and then eventually branch out into other conferences that can also offer you value.
Most healthcare conferences are a lot to take in, so know why you’re going ahead of time. Are you looking for professional networking? Researching for your current role? Educating yourself? Be able to state these goals clearly. If you’re paying your own way, consider conferences that are free or lower priced or have the option of paying for individual breakout sessions and networking events so you can customize your experience without breaking the bank.
How to Set Your Goals
After you establish your primary goals, it’s time to take a few other factors into consideration:
- Cost: Between travel, attendance, booths, collateral, and sponsorship, the cost of healthcare tech conferences can vary wildly. Establish your budget on the front end and choose accordingly. Remember that some conferences, like Germany’s Digital Health Conference, are completely free while others offer flexible attendance options.
- Location: Evaluating a conference location is a multi-faceted choice. Will the people you want to connect with being in attendance? Also, how many people and how much material are you sending to a conference? If you’re traveling a long distance, are there local services that can help you with complex set up?
- People: Who’s attending a conference can be just as important as the theme of a conference itself. If you’re want to build lead lists, you don’t want to attend an event that’s not going to have decision-makers in attendance. Know who you’re looking to connect with and start campaigns to encourage connection with your team members and even presence well before the conference. This will not only encourage more connection; it will help you get a feel for who tends to show up at that particular event.
- ROI: Event attendance is an investment, and you should see a return from your conference spend. That can be hard to predict, so don’t be shy about talking to event organizers and asking for statistics and testimonials. It also doesn’t hurt to do a little social media research on event hashtags and ask former attendees about their experiences. Ask good questions about the return they’ve seen from sponsorship, whether a big presence is worth it, and how many team members they like to send.
Ultimately, healthcare conference attendance isn’t a one-shot deal. You’ll be going to them year after year and using them as venues to meet up with colleagues, customers, and prospects. Aim to develop a ranking of your high ROI events and gradually add others over time. To get started, check out this spreadsheet of events we’ve put together.