Scripting: The Security Blanket Your Business Needs

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“Hello, thank you for calling ABC Office. How may I help you?”

“Hi, I need to check the activity on account #4145.”

“Your name?”

The caller gives his name and as the receptionist pulls the account up on her computer, he explains that it actually belongs to his dad. “It’s okay though. He asked me to check on it,” the caller says confidently. 

But the receptionist can’t find the caller listed as an authorized user anywhere. Now what?

The receptionist needs help with her next steps. She needs to know what her employer’s policy is in these cases and ways to represent that position, all while expressing respect to the customer. In other words, she needs a script.

What is scripting?

Scripting, at its most basic, is a pre-written set of lines used to guide interactions with your customers. Answering the phone is a very practical example of how scripts work. However, a true scripting  process ensures that all your team members are equipped with the  confidence and security they need  to deliver the right message at the right time. From greeting the people who walk through your doors to answering questions on social media to taking calls from upset customers, a well thought out script allows your team to respond in a way that best represents your company’s values and builds trust. 

Scripting benefits your customers, too. They’ll receive consistent, on-brand communication that guides them toward making an appointment, placing an order, or signing up for your email list.  Ideally, there should be a script for every aspect of your customer’s experience, from the very beginning to the very end. 

The best scripts are the ones that work for your business. They can be as detailed or as minimal as needed. Their main goal is to give simple guardrails and ideas your team can work with so that everyone starts from the same place. Scripts provide  your customers and your team members security and consistency,  even when staff, protocol, climate, or technology change.

Want to try scripting, but not sure where to begin? Follow MJM on social where we’ll share our pro tips for getting started. We promise to break it down into small tasks that build toward big payoffs. 

Want to take it one step further? Contact us for a consultation. Our experts can assess your scripting needs, help craft your messaging, and even train your staff.

How to (Actually!) deliver an outstanding customer experience

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I used to dread calling the doctor’s office. It wasn’t that it led to stepping on the scale (though that also wasn’t always pleasant) or the occasional shot or two.

It was that it led to music. Invariably, I’d be put on hold while the scheduler took another call, and for a few torturous minutes, I’d be accosted with a screechy, tinny distortion of The Four Seasons.

Vivaldi and I were not impressed.

My doctor’s office needed more than just higher quality on-hold music; they needed to examine their customers’ experience. Sure, they’d covered all the expected bases, but with a little insight and attention to detail, that office could have—in keeping with today’s analogy—gone from passable high school band to South Dakota Symphony Orchestra in no time.

What are your customers really buying?

Business leaders all agree that making customers and clients feel taken care of is paramount and worth the investment. But what they sometimes overlook is that customer care extends far beyond an aesthetically pleasing website and timely delivery of goods and services.

That’s not as far-reaching as it sounds, and even better, can usually be done gradually with a few simple changes. Whether you’re designing the experience at a coffee shop or a healthcare center, here are a few strategies to get your customers raving about their time with you:

  1. Experience your customer’s point of view. Start back at a Google search and move to filling out your website’s contact form. Call your business for directions, park in the customer section of your lot and sit in your waiting room or public area. Walk through the entire experience, being mindful of ways to improve. And don’t just do this once; do it on a regular basis.
  2. Take every sense into account. What do customers smell when they visit your location? Is the space too dark or too light? If there’s seating, is it comfortable? Consider the noise level and background music. Are they pleasing or distracting? Look at accessibility. Are counters too high for someone in a powerchair to see over?
  3. Train your staff. Customer care goes beyond being friendly and helpful and doesn’t always come as naturally as we assume. Be intentional about training your staff to show empathy toward customers, clients, or patients. These changes can often be simple to implement. Instead of calling patient names across the waiting room, staff at Vance Thompson Vision in Sioux Falls make a point of walking to patients before greeting them. It gets the interaction off on a personal note and puts patients at ease. Another business realized that handing its clients off from one professional to another, while efficient for them, was disorienting for their clients. They adjusted their workflow so that clients worked with the same representative from the beginning to the end of their experience.

Making your customers feel valued and cared for is crucial to your business. The kind of marketing a loyal ambassador provides is priceless, but with some mindful changes you can tap into its benefits. (And this time Vivaldi *will* be impressed.)

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Designing Experiences in the New Normal

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In the era of social distancing and quarantining, it can be easy to believe that designing personal experiences for your customers is an impossible task. Since some of the key principles of experience design rely on using of the five senses to create the largest impact possible at each touch point, it would seem that those efforts would be rendered useless in these times of social distancing and virtual meetings. But we believe that these principles have never been more important.

With COVID-19, people are experiencing physical and even mental isolation. They miss even the most mundane aspects of what used to be normal, from reading a book at the coffee shop, to visiting their parents, and even making spontaneous trips to a big city. We believe that experiences with customers and patients can be redesigned to help create a new, healthy normal for these customers looking so hard for what used to be just another day.

What's Different? What's the Same? What can we do?

To design compelling experiences in “the new normal” one must first consider

  1. what is different
  2. what is the same, and
  3. what can we do to adjust and create personal experiences for our customers in these circumstances.

What is Different

What is Different?
Designing virtual experiences is more important than ever

What Can We Do?
Enhance your virtual presence

People are far less likely to make the first point of contact with you in-person these days. This mean that it is time to modernize your phone systems, social media, and web elements to create a more intimate and personalized journey for the customer or patient.


What is Different?
Safety is a primary concern in any interaction

What Can We Do?
Create and message your safe in-person environments

Make it clear how you have taken every consideration possible to make a visitor’s experience a safe one. Post pleasant reminders to maintain safe distances and wear face coverings.


What is Different?
Financial struggles have been exacerbated for both businesses and families

What Can We Do?
Avoid pushy messaging and ensure you are building relationships with your audience

The hard sell is (and always was) a bad approach. Instead of pushing sales and discounts, it is more important than ever to build a relationship with your customers and patients through social media, advertising, and other channels. If they feel that empathy and understanding is genuine, they will be far more likely to return to you when financial burdens have minimized.


What is Different?
People are yearning for elements of normalcy and socialization

What Can We Do?
Make the visitor the star

With fewer people visiting in-person locations, you have an opportunity to spend extra time tending to those visitors and making them feel heard and appreciated. The benefit of this is two-fold: visitors will feel even more important AND potentially feel like the entire experience is more tailored to them than would have been possible in the old normal.

What is the Same

What is the Same?
The experience is the marketing

What Can We Do?
Reexamine every point of contact with your business or practice as part of your marketing

The experience of calling to plan an appointment should be considered as important as the actual experience of visiting or any ad campaign you have running. Creating memorable interactions throughout the customer or patient’s journey will always be the highest priority, no matter the circumstances.


What is the Same?
Mass customization is still a key to personalized experiences

What Can We Do?
Skillfully tailoring offerings and journeys to an individual’s needs and wants will build a relationship

Think of the experience as more than just a transaction. During that customer or patient’s experience, look for elements that can be personalized just for them with little effort or cost to you. Do this well, and you’ll be well on your way to sustainably establishing a relationship with that audience member.


What is the Same?
In-person interactions are still largely impacted by considering the five senses

What Can We Do?
Highlight the senses that we still can use to their fullest extent: Sight and Sound

Although masks and extra sanitation requirements limit our ability to appeal to all 5 senses, we still have plenty of room to use them. Warm cookies and coffee may not work right now, but you can still curate the visual and auditory experience of your interactions to make them unforgettable. Now is the time to consider how to make the visual appeal of your facilities match the tone of your brand and determine if there are any ways to personalize the audio experience of a visit to the smaller groups of customers and patients at your physical locations.


While this pandemic has found its ways to separate us, it’s our task to find new ways that experience design principles can connect you with your customers and patients. Though some of the approaches may be outside of our usual tendencies, we think that this shows how agile these principles can truly be for making real, personal connections with your audience.

Reflecting on Recent Experiences

It’s been said that to craft an excellent experience for your customers, you should think of a specific person and craft the experience with them in mind. The exercise helps identify the sort of things that solve pain points or create delight for real people. As a team, we often recount experiences we’ve had with brands that have been remarkable. The end of the year is a great time to reflect on those good experiences. And learn from them for the year ahead. Below, find a few reflections on experiences that provided value to our team this year.

Kirstie

Terra Shepherd

I have always loved fashion, but the actual experience of clothes shopping? Not so much. For the past 15 years, I’ve been shopping almost exclusively online for all of my clothes. But I decided to brave the IRL shopping experience when I heard about one of Downtown’s Sioux Falls’ latest boutiques: Terra Shepherd. Like me, they have a commitment to sustainable fashion and conscious consumerism, so I thought it was worth a shot. I was the only person in the store, which normally fills me with dread because of hovering salespeople, but the staff was so warm and welcoming and made me feel like I was just trying on clothes with friends. They suggested things I would like and, much to my surprise, I actually did like them! That combined with the shared values make this an experience I will be returning to.

Brady

Wirecutter

Before becoming a father of two young children, I had much more time to thoughtfully research gift ideas for family and friends. As those margins of time have vanished, I’ve appreciated the methodology that Wirecutter applies to their product reviews. And that they explain their process with each roundup of reviews. Christmas shopping this year would have been much more stressful and incomplete without referencing their Holiday Gift Guide. When I don’t have the time to do the level of research I typically would, it gives me greater confidence to give something as a gift knowing a little about the people who are reviewing the products and what makes them uniquely qualified to do so. And as it turns out, they are usually far more qualified to do the research than I!

Cindy

Amazon Prime Online Shopping

Like many working adults, my time is at a premium. I value being able to shop online from home and not have to get into my car, find a parking place, go into a store, make a selection and then wait in line to check out. However, I think there is a price to pay for this convenience.

I have to confess I do love going onto Amazon Prime, pressing a few buttons, and having an item shipped to me for free (yes, I did pay for the membership so it’s not really free). However, I am cautious about the future of big data, protection of personal information, and changes we can anticipate as a direct result of limited competition. Is it too good to be true?

Courtney

Earthscapes Landscaping

My husband and I decided this would be the year we invested into landscaping for our backyard. We received Earthscapes name as a recommendation from another friend that had used them, and after our awesome experience, I can see why. Shane, our landscape designer, was awesome from the start and put up with all of my questions along the way.

But the one point in the process that really stood out was when we were nearing completion of our project. We had an existing retaining wall, that wasn’t a part of the project scope (other than making small repairs to the existing wall), but it didn’t look amazing. One morning, he called and told me they had some left over materials from the rest of the project and he would like to put those towards replacing the existing wall. He felt it would enhance the look of the backyard, and while it might be a few more hours of labor, it would be something they would like to do for us within our current scope. Of course I said “Heck yeah!” and now we have an even more amazing backyard and I am willing to tell all my family, friends, and co-workers about this awesome company. Such a small gesture made a huge impact on the experience we had with Earthscapes and now I can’t stop bragging about them and their work!

Client Celebration: Staging a ZEISS Formula 1 Racing Event Experience

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At MJM, our team wears many hats while completing the diverse client projects; we fulfill the roles of designers, writers, storytellers, experience makers, account managers, videographers, carpenters, and many more. But last October, our team members took on a hat never worn before: Formula One Race Car Drivers.

Working with our partners at ZEISS, Logan, Abby, and Courtney took the lead for planning and executing an event celebrating the FDA approval of the SMILE astigmatism treatment indication in the United States at the American Academy of Ophthalmologists (AAO). Using a Formula One theme, the MJM team was able to create a wonderful evening of education, conversation, and enjoyment on a beautiful rooftop in Chicago.

In addition to the overall success of the event, here are a couple lessons our team took away from the event:

Logistics are very, very important!

This event celebrated the approval of the SMILE laser in the US for astigmatism treatment, which makes it a more useful technology for practices and more accessible to patients. SMILE is one of the first major innovations in refractive eye surgery in the past 5-10 years, which has brought energy and life to the doctors who are deciding to offer it.

Our partnership with ZEISS started when we helped create the first practice launch kit for SMILE, and the partnership continued as we helped curate and design this event. After moodboards, strategic goal discussions, MJM team brainstorming sessions, and dozens of calls, the event landed on a theme: Formula One Racing.

Perspective chalk racing car

Courtney poses as a driver. The account team found a Chicago chalk artist who created a massive perspective drawing that put attendees behind the wheel of a F1 racing car.

Our team developed all the graphics and layouts based on the theme and curated a three-floor immersive event experience, which included specialty cocktails and an interactive art installation. At the event, doctors attended six “pit stops”, where they interacted with a short presentation from an expert on SMILE, and were eventually lead to Dr. Dan Reinstein, a doctor and professor who wrote the first and preeminent textbook on how to perform SMILE for patients. Attendees who completed all the education pit stops had the opportunity to receive a signed copy of Dr. Reinstein’s textbook to take home to their practice.

The valuable takeaway is this: when your event marketing team is able to be a part of the planning, mockups, mood board, and event execution, it’s more efficient to facilitate coordination with the vendors. It took a full team to perfectly produce the event, which illustrates the importance of coordinated effort, time, and planning.

Experiences are met with experiments

Of course, we admit this event didn’t go off without a hitch (or three). From a change of speaker the night before, all the way to Logan putting his Exacto-knife skills to the test due to a mishap with program printing, the team encountered a number of unplanned hurdles that needed to be overcome.

The event was spread between three floors of the venue. Custom elevator signage helped theme each step of the way and direct event attendees to food, entertainment and education.

We also know there are peak experiences that are remembered far beyond any mishaps. As the attendees started arriving and moving from experience to experience at the event, they began to discover, enjoy, and be captivated by all of the small details created by our team. Meeting new people, interacting with the art, enjoying the signature cocktails, and learning new things achieved success beyond what our team had planned. These signature moments, and the culmination of all the moments into a signature experience, will be a lasting memory and takeaway for both the ZEISS and MJM teams.Beyond the night of the event, the work our team did to pull off the theme and overall event was extensive. The theming, attention to detail, venue, and overall event flow, and outcome were executed carefully and with high attention to detail. Members from our team also traveled to Chicago before the event to meet with vendors face-to-face because we understand how important it is to create those relationships in case we do need to call on them to overcome challenges on the night of the event. Each experience we curated was met with an experiment on how to accomplish it.

Time spent for each event is worth it

When you work with clients that are excited about their company, it makes throwing an event that much more successful. The time that went into planning with ZEISS was met with excitement and enthusiasm that their product had been approved.

ZEISS challenged us to immerse their audience in something more than just a traditional AAO event or brochure handout, so we designed a custom experience for their guests, including hiring a local street artist to create a race car photo opportunity right in the middle of the building. We wanted to share our love for experiences and make the ophthalmologists feel welcome and feel comfortable learning about the revolutionary procedure in a simple and organized way. It wasn’t just about the centerpieces and the lighting—it was about the guests that left and remembered why they were there and knew there was something worth celebrating that night.

It’s important to celebrate major innovations and milestones in product development. It’s good for the industry and good for patients. Events like this are one of the only times ZEISS can bring doctors together and immerse them in a brand experience. So much of their sales cycle involves going out to the doctor’s office, where they have no real control of the time, space, and environment. This event was a major opportunity to bring doctors together and shape the ZEISS brand experience, with full control of most of the details. MJM was proud to be a lead partner in building the experience.

ZEISS blue racing stripe

A ZEISS blue racing stripe runs through the venue helping to direct traffic and pull the theme together.

As we reflect on our experience through this event, we learned there is a major difference between just hosting an event and designing an event. We design and theme at MJM to use our knowledge of experience design and customer/client psychology. This event reminded us that every company, every product, and every type of customer deserves and loves to be delighted and surprised by a well-executed event. That’s why we love what we do at MJM.

MJM and ZEISS will continue partnering on projects in 2019 and beyond.

How to Give Experiences Instead of Things

The holiday season has arrived, bringing with it a strong reason for joy, celebration, and gift-giving. While some may curse the cold and snow, we revel in the abundance of the year and what the holiday season means to each of us at Matt Jensen Marketing. For our CEO in particular, Christmas time is about taking gift giving to a whole other level by creating experiences far beyond spending money on an object, and celebrating how these experiences shape how we remember this time of year.

Q: How is giving experiences instead of things more than just a trend?

Matt Jensen (MJ): Inanimate objects tend to lose their luster over time. This time of year, we are always reminded of what it’s like to be a kid wanting a new Atari Video Game System, a shiny new bike, or that illustrious Red Ryder Lever Action BB Gun. If we think back to wanting those gifts as a child, the most prominent memory about the season isn’t the thing itself. It was all of the tension, anxiety, prayer, begging,and reasoning that went into our asking for it. Anticipation in and of itself is an experience.

That’s why, this holiday season, we should imagine how much more meaningful gifts can be. It isn’t just the anticipation of each holiday season but also the emotions. The fear, adrenaline, suspense, surprise, and resolution all coming together to make these different emotions hinge to an experience. Which creates a greater memory: a set of baking sheets, or lessons from a local dessert maker? The beginner guitar, or a one-on-one session with the concert guitar player? Listening to Beethoven’s 5th on a CD, or being able to walk into a theater with a tuxedo and Chuck Taylor converse and raising the baton to lead the symphony as a 16-year-old? These are the things that memories are made of and memories last far longer.

Q: Can you create an experience for everyone in your life?

MJ: The premium we pay for experience is our own time, so you create these peaks for people if you’re willing to invest your time in them. I’m a believer that you can design an experience around anybody if you stop and get to know them well enough.

My wife’s 40th birthday, for example: I took her on a trip to wine country and though we both enjoyed the good food and wine, it was the fact that I had coordinated with all of her friends that flew in and surprised her one night that made the trip so memorable. How much can that bottle of wine really be worth when you’re enjoying the night away with the people that mean the most to you?

Q: Where do you find experiences that you can give as a gift? What counts as an experience?

MJ: The most creative business owners and best entrepreneurs create an experience around their product. Wouldn’t we all rather take a tour of the factory of the chocolates that we just bought and smell the caramel being melted, watch the chocolatiers designing the marshmallow top, and see each one of your treats being packaged with care? That’s a chocolate-making experience, not just a sale.

Q: How do you wrap up an experience?

MJ: To make every experience spectacular, you have to extend it past the natural beginning and end. Imagine this: A concert where they put electronic wristbands under each seat which lights up different colors when the band is playing their set. The next morning, that bracelet calculates which song danced to the hardest the night before measured on the activity from the and starts blasting that song to wake us up in the morning. Now that bracelet carried on that amazing experience from the night before, and also leaves concertgoers telling the story of how they woke up that morning over, and over, and over again. We would leave on a peak, and that’s what is to be remembered years down the road instead of all the traffic to the concert or money spent.

Q: So, how do you go about creating an experience for someone?

MJ: Look into their favorite things, their interests, their bucket list, and peg an experience where those all intersect. Sometimes an experience is easier to generate than originally thought.

So as we dive into the holiday season, let us take the time to create these experiences and marinate in those moments. We at Matt Jensen Marketing know it’ll be worth it.

Leaving Fruits of Young Trees: Connecting with the Land and Community

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On a recent Sunday afternoon, my husband and I toured Coastal Roots Farm, a local farm that is unique to our area along the southern California coastline. According to their vision statement they “envision a world in which every community comes together to grow and share healthy food, care for the land, help their neighbors, and strengthen the connections they have with each other.”

Coastal Roots Farm is inspired by ancient Jewish traditions that connect people to community, food, the land, and social justice. They donate 70% of all that is grown to feed those in need in the community and sell the remaining 30% at their local farmstand.

During the tour we learned about the concept of “orlah” which means “leaving fruits of young trees.” Orlah requires waiting to harvest fruit for a tree’s first three years, and donating the harvest in the fourth year. In ancient Judaism, the fourth year’s fruits were considered holy and designated for those who were landless and social or religious servants. Orlah teaches us to care for the trees and allow them to establish deep roots before concentrating on production. It encourages farmers to value trees as more than a means to an end of consumption. The farm recently produced its fourth year of grapes from the vineyard and donated it to a local winery to share in community events. Next year is their fifth year growing and they will cultivate and sell the fruit for the first time.

Especially at this time of year, it is a good reminder of giving back to the earth to nourish the soil, being grateful for the bountiful harvest and sharing with those less fortunate.

How Will a CLEAR Review Help You Drive Success?

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The CLEAR Review is MJM’s proprietary management optimization curriculum. It is a modular, customizable approach to reviewing your entire operation and improving your practice. What does this mean for you?

  • More patients, and happier patients
  • Engaged staff members who truly enjoy their job
  • A streamlined and understandable process
  • Positive awareness of your practice throughout the community
  • Reporting techniques that will assist you in navigating future changes
  • And, most importantly, a true team approach to the patient experience

The CLEAR Review creates the opportunity for MJM to spend time at the practice and benchmark performance and current standards using our 21-module system. The deliverable of a CLEAR Method Review is a robust write-up that offers feedback and an action plan to enhance patient experiences based on a customized approach.

We believe operational improvements to the patient experience are the most vital opportunity available to practices to improve surgical volumes, increase patient satisfaction, and create an engaged staff.

If you’re ready to take an in depth analysis of your Culture, Logistics, Patient Experience, Awareness in your marketplace and Reporting, the CLEAR Review can maximize opportunities to grow your practice.

Is Your Healthcare Practice Making These Digital Mistakes?

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When running a successful healthcare practice in the digital age, most administrators focus on HIPAA regulations and strictly following them to keep patients’ PHI safe.

But there’s more to digital than what you can’t do online!

With the public face of your digital presence (website, social media and online listings), there’s a lot you can do to market your practice successfully (while still adhering to HIPAA).

We’d like to share five things many healthcare practices are missing or using incorrectly in their digital presence:

1. Have bad NAP?

  • NAP refers to “Name, Address and Phone Number”—the core to all online business information. These three data fields represent your business’s most valuable contact information.
  • When you originally set up your digital listings (social media, Yelp, Yellow Pages, etc.), you may not have listed your information consistently across all sites. The listing service may have also auto-generated a page by pulling information from your website.
  • When your NAP is inconsistent across the web, it creates SEO havoc. You may not be getting as high on Google or other search results pages, thus losing potential customers.
  • If your patients and clients are seeing your name or address inconsistently listed, it confuses them and erodes your brand.

2. Your site is abandoned (and sad)

  • Back in the “old days” of websites, most companies paid someone to put their brochure content online, thus building their first website…and never updating it until it was time for a new website. Luckily, websites are now easier to update with new, fresh content. It’s critical that you invest time and energy into regularly refreshing your site with new blog posts, updated doctor bios and videos, new staff listings, new services and other relevant information.
  • An abandoned site hurts your marketing efforts. When you don’t update your website frequently, search engines like Google think your site is stale and outdated which lowers it’s SEO ranking.
  • Tip: Use a content calendar to plan what you’ll post to the website, and plan to post at least a few times a month. Each time you post a blog, you create a new page on your site (and updated content for your customers).

3. Got link juice?

  • “Link juice” is what happens when you link to other sites from your site (outbound links to referring clinics, partners you work with or associations you belong to). It also accounts for links coming into your site (social media posts, online listings, partner clinics or associations you belong to, the local Chamber of Commerce or a board linking to your site).
  • Without inbound and outbound links, you can be disconnected online—floating around with no digital friends. Search engines like Google don’t like that because it makes you seem less trustworthy. Link juice shows them that you play nice with others, and that others find you relevant (like when a trusted site such as LinkedIn is linking to you 50 times—one for each blog post you’ve shared and linked back to your site). Link juice is great for SEO and will help your site get to the top page of search results.

4. Your site and social don’t match your marketing

  • Going hand-in-hand with an outdated site is a site that doesn’t match your business’ current marketing campaign. If you’ve updated your billboards, TV ads or other mass marketing messages, but your website doesn’t reflect or echo any of the current campaign, it will cause a disconnect between you and your audience.
  • This same rule goes for your social media accounts—you’ll want to match your current campaign on your Facebook cover image, especially if you have a direct offer or call to action you’d like people to take. Remember—if people see one thing in the media and another thing online, it can cause confusion, and confusion causes inaction!

5. Getting too fancy with “micro-sites”

  • Micro-sites originally seemed like a great solution to launching a new campaign or product without adding a new section to your primary website. A company would buy a new URL (web address) and build a completely new website for just one aspect of their business on this “micro-site,” then spend money to send traffic to it. This is actually detrimental to your overall user experience because it splits up your web traffic and trains your audience to go to a different website other than your primary site. Since most micro-sites were usually temporary, long-term benefits were never fully realized.
  • Don’t split hairs with your marketing. Keep everything on one site–your primary website. Then, interlink to areas you’d like your audience to see or use in-bound links directly to landing pages created for specific promotions. This will help keep your brand strong, your message clear, your SEO optimized, and your audience happy!

As a healthcare professional, you’re doing well to focus on keeping your patients’ PHI safe. But beyond HIPAA, more attention to your digital presence will strengthen your brand and allow your practice to take advantage of all the benefits of digital communication and marketing.

Once the Dust Settles: A Post-ASCRS Review

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Recently, a few members of our team made the west coast trek to Los Angeles to participate in the annual spring ASCRS conference. The conference is an opportunity for ophthalmic professionals to learn, grow, and network with peers.

As attendees, we had a lot to take in, from the exhibit floor to the classroom. We had the opportunity to hear excellent doctors present on their life’s work and to see live surgery being performed with the industry’s newest technology.

Exciting new refractive technologies, such as SMILE from ZEISS, were available for education and hands-on learning. Healthcare regulation and reform were hot topics of conversation, as we all wait anxiously to see what emerges regarding MIPS and changes to the ACA. And, as always, we were all learning and hunting for new innovations in patient care, surgical offerings, and best practices in ophthalmology.

The biggest challenge for exhibitors at ASCRS is getting your product or offering to “cut through the noise.”

With hundreds of industry partners present on the convention floor, the biggest challenge for exhibitors at ASCRS is getting your product or offering to “cut through the noise” and reach new potential consumers.

So how do you set yourself up for success? How do you ensure that your product and your booth will stand out above all others?

Do it well

If you’re going to spend the money to be present at the conference, you need to do it well. How do we define “doing it well?” There are four key components:

  1. Focus on cohesive branding and materials.
  2. Offer pointed messaging that clearly outlines your value proposition and ideal customer.
  3. Have something “actionable” at your booth; something for visitors and customers to do immediately to improve their skill, practice, or thinking.
  4. Learn from your successes and mistakes. Audit every conference you attend and determine what worked and didn’t work from a booth presence perspective. Ask your loyal customers what they thought of your booth. Ask what others thought the best parts of ASCRS were this year. Learn, learn, learn.

If you “do it well,” you will shine at meetings like this.

PRN booth at ASCRS

As part of their presence at ASCRS 2017, PRN included a number of materials intended to educate their consumers and to show how their unique offerings stand up against competitors’ products.

Create space for conversation outside the exhibit hall

Some of the best conversations we saw happen at ASCRS happened outside of the exhibit hall and over a shared meal. Relationships and trust are built when real conversation is allowed to happen, and the best place to build relationships and trust is over dinner.

Relationships and trust are built when real conversation is allowed to happen, and the best place to build relationships and trust is over dinner.

Some options for holding these coinciding events include round tables or additional presentations. As you plan your event, create goals of the amount or type of feedback you hope to gain. In this way, you can measure the success of your event. Answers to these questions should affect your materials, your way-finding, your room set-up and your presentations.

Another exciting option at national events like ASCRS is to plan “experiential meetings” where you combine some form of learning or content sharing with a locally sourced experience. The goal of these events is that attendees would become actively immersed in your brand and product. For example, work with a local tour group to book a double-decker tour bus of the city. Before or after the event, offer some exciting new thoughts about your product or company. Because ASCRS has many vendors and meetings competing for the attention of doctors and staff, give people an added incentive to attend your experience.

Visiometrics booth at ASCRS

With these long standing banners, Visiometrics extended the visual impact of their booth’s presence. This modular approach also allows them to reuse those elements separately in other events.

Your booth layout matters

Depending on your product and presentation, the floor plan of your booth matters. In smaller booths, like a 10×10, the options are limited. However, there are still decisions to be made. Some questions you should ask yourself as you design the layout include:

  • What’s the one message you want people to see and understand?
  • Do you want a table separating you from your potential customers?
  • Do you need a private space to meet with interested buyers?
  • How does your floor plan affect your ability to draw in passersby?
  • What will people be able to stop and do at your booth?
  • How can your booth be unique and different from any other?

Answering these questions clearly before you begin working on your booth design will help ensure you create the ideal booth for your meeting goals, at ASCRS and beyond.