Here’s the perennial question: whether you exhibit regularly or just in one or two major pharma shows, how do you turn your exhibition stand from a branded space with product and prescribing information into something that really works for you?
For many, the answer seems to be to build it large and make it impressive. The reality, however, is that a successful exhibition means much more than just building a stunning stand and hoping that interested healthcare professionals will appear in front of you.
Any stand, however impressive, sells nothing on its own. It is largely there to firstly attract people to visit, and then be a catalyst for engaging with those visitors. The best stand experiences stimulate the kind of one-to-one conversation that will educate and inform your visitors about your brand benefits and convert them into advocates and users of your products.
At a base level, large stands with high-spec branding and novel features do attract attention, which is ideal to initiate that first contact. But where do you go from there, especially within the ABPI guidelines?
Apex has spent over 25 years designing successful stands for the healthcare industry, so we understand your challenges and constraints. Here’s our take on the process of ensuring you rise above the competition to win the attention of the delegates and healthcare professionals you need to communicate with.
Use interactive technology
Utilising the most cutting-edge interactive technology always captures visitors' attention. You can use tech to demonstrate the latest medical research and information in a hands-on and visually appealing way. From touch screens and augmented reality to 3D visualisation and immersive experiences, the possibilities for conveying key information have never been more exciting. For example, VR is now moving from a single user headset to collective experiences with groups of visitors.
The architecture of the stand and the way visitors make their journey through the space is critical. The touch points where visitors interact with product information, staff and displays need to be planned with skill and experience. A successful creative theme is always one where visitors actively feel drawn in and interested enough to remain on the stand to speak to representatives.
Show and tell
Most HCPs are keen to further their knowledge in specific areas, so any offer which includes education or information will always be interesting. This can be taken beyond the basic level of static graphics and printed materials by incorporating live presentation areas featuring opinion leaders or industry speakers, or interactive digital libraries where visitors can design their own portfolio of digital downloads and have them emailed to their practice.
Track and trace
Exhibition follow-up can be a crucial part of the customer communications process, so knowing who your visitors were and what they were interested in provides the basis for informed post exhibition contact. We can use RFiD touch points which let you digitally distribute marketing material, while collecting the information of everyone who’s interested.
There are some very sophisticated ways of tracking customers activity through a stand. We can heat map larger stands even down to which individual areas they interacted with and which products they were keen to explore. Some of these monitoring techniques can be tied in with interactive challenges, to combine gamification with data gathering.
More than in most industries, the highly regulated nature of healthcare presents a real challenge to exhibition design agencies. However, as a result there has been more investment in innovation, technology and creativity and those of us who drive success in this field are constantly delivering new ideas and concepts year on year.