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: A Connection with Land and the Community

On a recent Sunday afternoon, my husband and I toured a local farm that is unique to our area along the Southern CA coastline. Their Vision Statement is, “We 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 Orlah: 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.

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Thoughts on Design Camp 2018

Our content team voyaged north to Design Camp for inspiration from leading creatives, technique sharing and time together. Here were some takeaways from the team:

The theme of this year’s Design Camp was “Inside Out” and the goal was for everyone to put it all on the table—personally, professionally and creatively. As a classic reserved Midwesterner, my first reaction when I heard this was, “No, thank you.” But as I listened to the speakers and presenters share their stories, the more I started to think that maybe I do have a story of my own to tell. I have always shied away from doing personal work, believing that my purpose as a designer could only be derived by creating things for other people. But the presentations left me questioning the assumption that creating something for myself is inherently incompatible with creating things for other people.

This idea culminated in the final keynote from illustrator Andy J. Pizza who talked about how looking at gig posters had helped him dig himself out of a depression. Something that was meant to be functional and ephemeral had become someone’s lifeline. As designers, we have very little control over what happens to our work once it has been released into the world. Most often, we worry about people misunderstanding or even ruining our work, but isn’t magical to think that our work could be thing to turn someone’s life around?

So, still being a Midwesterner, I of course did not voice any of the ideas that were running around in my head during the actual weekend, but it has got me thinking about how I can use design to tell my own story. Because, maybe, there is someone out there who needs to hear it.

– Kirstie

Design Team in Brainerd, MN

Plaidurday 2018

Design Camp 2018 was a great opportunity to glean new techniques and meet skilled designers, but the most important takeaway I had from the experience was that even the most veteran designers out there undergo the same brief moments of doubt and near-burnout that all creatives do. Not only do they have these moments, but their experiences have taught them how to systematically push through these obstacles and return to creating their best work. We able to hear these and learn from these stories thanks to the vulnerability the keynote speakers were willing to show us, so I think we can all agree that we’re endlessly thankful.

– Joel

Design Camp was a fantastic weekend of fellowship and learning for our design team. We studied and discussed the creative process, inspiration, and collaboration and came home with some great tools to improve our work. One teaching theme emerged for me from a number of the speakers, and reflects a comment from a famous athlete:

”It seems like the harder I work, the luckier I get.”

A number of speakers reflected on how they fought through low periods of creativity or dead periods of work. For those that found their way through these periods, a common theme was ”just keep working.“ Work projects, personal projects, passion projects—find a way to keep working and producing. It was often this work borne in low periods that created the exposure or inspiration for future successful work. This kind of ”luck,” obviously, is created through dedication and intentional focus, and all creatives need to find a way to fight through their low periods and breakthrough. At MJM, having a great team of creatives around to work with and create with definitely helps support each individual creative as they work hard and create more luck!

– Logan

I have one core or foundational belief about creativity. It’s that new ideas are simply new combinations of familiar things. This concept of combinatorial creativity is only reinforced by conferences like Design Camp. It’s incredibly invigorating to spend a weekend retreat with like-minded designers and thinkers, getting inspired by the journey others have taken and the things they’ve learned along the way.

One of the workshops outlined a technique for ”Bulletproof Ideation” by combining ideas in a methodical fashion. We learned about the Bedno Diagram – a tool invented by designer and educator Ed Bedno—which provides a framework for seeing and exploring the intersection of multiple ideas. The process was very familiar, but I had never seen it implemented so thoroughly and methodically. And I was inspired by the suggestion to use the technique to reverse engineer ideas that have inspired me, to understand how their creator may have arrived at that solution. It was a good reminder that good ideas don’t come out of thin air, delivered by a muse in a ”eureka” moment. They are intentionally crafted and combined, and are accessible to all who are willing to work rigorously for them.

That last point connects back to the final keynote speaker, Andy J. Pizza. He shared the highs and lows of his creative journey, and wisdom he gained along the way, with the ultimate conclusion that there are no shortcuts for a fulfilling creative career. You have to do the work. And sometimes you have to struggle for it. That struggle might look like an exhaustive Bedno diagram, or piles of discarded concepts on the way to one workable solution. Learning to enjoy the process and to see it as intrinsically valuable is the key to going far.

– Brady

No matter what you want to learn, most skills and ideas are available to anyone who is interested through YouTube tutorials and Skillshare classes. You don’t need to drive halfway to Canada to find inspirational speakers or to learn interesting new techniques, but our design team does exactly that every year.

AIGA Minnesota’s Design Camp is a yearly retreat just outside Brainerd, MN. Each fall the MJM design team makes the trek up to northern Minnesota, and while the workshops and the speakers’ portfolios are interesting, to my mind they are not the most valuable part of the experience. The reward that compels me to make the trip is perspective.

This year that perspective had less to do with design methodology, new paper options, or printing techniques—it was something deeper. I felt like I heard two different answers to the question, “What is your work for?” Some of the speakers I heard and the designers I met talked about the scope of their portfolio and the size of their audience; they spoke about their personal brand and their career path. Good work equals more glory. Other people focused on the lives they had touched, the students they had taught, and the relationships they had formed with clients and colleagues over the course of their career. Good work means better relationships with people.

“What is your work for?”

Looking at my own past work, some of it has held up well, but much of it has not. Projects I worked on even 6 months ago can sometimes cause me to cringe. But the relationships I’ve developed with coworkers, students and clients are evergreen. Last year’s projects are getting stale; last year’s relationships are still a source of joy. Do the work, and enjoy the process, but don’t look to your work to make you happy. The work (whatever it is) is valuable, but it’s really only a backdrop to the things that matter most.

– Tim

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How Will a CLEAR Review Help You Drive Success?

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.

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Bread and Circus: Serving Up Personality

According to their website, the owners of Bread and Circus Sandwich Kitchen have a “propensity for planning their next meal before the current one is even finished.” I’m hooked already. I have my lunches planned out through the end of October, so I already know this restaurant’s personality is right up my alley.

The aesthetic at Bread and Circus is simple—their menu is written on a large blackboard behind the counter and all of their drink offerings are on display. Their special is listed to the right of the cash register. You order, pay and seat yourself.

Customers placing orders at Bread and Circus

Bread and Circus sources local ingredients as much as they can, and it shows in their food. On my first visit, I ordered the Vietnamese Fried Chicken sandwich. Because it’s literally fried chicken in a sandwich, it was a little difficult to eat. But this lunch was still a home run—the chicken was juicy and the flavors were spot on.

For this outing, however, I chose the Carnitas sandwich with lime and black bean purée, pork, avocados, Oaxacan cheese and pickled radishes on ciabatta bread. There were definitely not enough pickled radishes. I thought these were the highlight of the sandwich and I could have eaten mounds more! The sandwich was a little underwhelming—I wish there had been a sauce or a little bit more flavor in the pork. But it was still quite delicious and everything on it was perfectly paired.

Carnitas sandwich from Bread and Circus

The meal came with chips and we also ordered the sweet corn fritters as an appetizer. To be honest, I could have ordered about three more fritters and eaten them as my meal. They were out-of-this-world amazing. The accompanying green goddess dressing was fantastic and is also great for dipping chips.

Corn Fritters from Bread and Circus

I highly recommend Bread and Circus for lunch, dinner and any meal in-between. The outdoor seating is perfect with enough shady and sunny spots to fit your mood. It’s quick, easy to order and makes for an easy lunch stop, even if you don’t have the full hour. They feature local beer selections for dinner (or lunch if you’re one of those lucky few who get to imbibe on your lunch break).

And the service was excellent. The wait staff was patient, friendly and timely with every piece of our order. I can’t wait to go back and try something else from the menu!

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Bros Brasserie: Where Local Art and Food Collide

Located on Phillips Ave, just a short walk from M.B. Haskett, the star of last month’s restaurant review, Bros Brasserie houses local art and takes pride in helping to develop Sioux Falls’ growing art scene. Their patio is one of the largest in downtown Sioux Falls and while it doesn’t boast the great views that Ode to Food does, it offers privacy, occasional live music and a great downtown atmosphere.

Bros is one of my favorite dinner places because of their rotating menu. They keep things simple, fresh and always feature local ingredients and local beers. For lunch, Bros offers a simple staple menu with occasional rotating features. For this outing, we chose patio seating, and I opted for their Chicken and Waffles special.

Chicken and Waffles from Bros Brasserie

I haven’t been to Bros for lunch very often, but I remember a friend ordering this in the past. The waffles on that occasion had been thick, more of a Belgian style, and the presentation was quite different. On this occasion, the waffles were a bit underwhelming and were unfortunately a bit dry. The chicken, however, was outstanding. It was juicy, flavorful and had a lot of delicious fried chicken goodness. I was pretty disappointed that the waffle didn’t pack the same punch.

I ordered the Sweet Chili Tomato Bisque soup on the side, and I could have probably eaten 10 more bowls. The flavor was absolute perfection. It had a little bit of that spicy taste from the chili and was the perfect complement to my meal. Each of my co-workers ordered one of the sandwiches – the fried chicken sandwich and the Bros Burger. While neither felt like it was the best thing they had ever eaten, the food was flavorful, juicy and a good portion for lunch. The dynamite and personalized customer service during our meal was top-notch.

The dynamite and personalized customer service during our meal was top-notch.

Over the lunch hour, I recommend giving yourself the full hour to enjoy your meal. The restaurant wasn’t fully packed, but the dishes definitely require some extra prep time in the kitchen, and if you have to come from 12:00-1:00 pm, you will likely need the whole time.

Bros Brasserie interior

During the summer hours, be sure to check out their patio as it offers both sunny and well-shaded spots and gives you a good feel for downtown Sioux Falls life. I also highly recommend coming back when you’re able to sample their rotating beers and amazing dinner feature menu.

Usually, I end the meal with a dessert, but today the chicken filled me up and we were running a bit short on time. If you’ve sampled some of their desserts, let us know what you think! And follow along with us next month as we continue to explore the downtown Sioux Falls food scene!

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How to Fall in Love with Your Audience

I love being a graphic designer. But there are days when I find myself feeling listless—like everything I make is nothing more than meaningless, ephemeral “stuff.” To combat this problem, I’ve been trying something new: falling in love.

I don’t mean the fairytale romance kind of love. I mean the love that comes from genuinely caring about someone other than yourself. The kind of love that allows you to see the world from a different perspective.

Whether you’re a designer, content creator or business owner, falling in love with your audience can help reignite the passion for your work and allow you to do work that can actually make a difference in someone’s life.

1. Be Interested

Note that this does not say be interesting. Remember that this is about them, not you. Resist the urge to rattle off qualifications or experience and instead just listen. Treat every interaction with your audience—whether face-to-face or virtual—like a first date by giving them the gift of your full, undivided attention.

Ask them about their day, their likes, their dislikes, their hopes, their dreams. The more you’re able to see your audience as a complex, beautiful person and not just a customer or a patient, the more motivated you are to provide useful solutions to their problems.

2. Be Observant

If you’re meeting someone in-person, take notice of their surroundings. If you’re meeting in their home or office, pay attention to how they’ve created their environment. What people choose to surround themselves with can say a lot about them.

If you’re meeting someone outside of their environment, you can still pay attention to their mannerisms—the way they speak and carry themselves. Pick up on the little quirks and mannerisms that make each person unique. Hold onto these little gems and pull them out whenever you feel yourself getting frustrated and losing sight of who you’re working for.

4. Be Empathetic

As the creator of your message or service, you have the benefit of much more context than your audience. This divide is particularly striking when handling criticism or complaints. If someone comes to you with a problem, you likely already know that problem exists and have an excuse at the ready.

But rather than begin on the defensive, try to see it from their perspective. Reframe the problem and try to solve it in a way that most benefits them and not just in the way that is easiest for you. This will not only give you more compassion for your audience, but also provide you with greater insight into how to make your product or service better.

4. Fake It

Of course, there are many times when you don’t have direct access to your audience or it’s simply too vast to get to know them on a personal level. If that’s the case, you may just have to fake it.

Glean whatever information you can from customer surveys, user comments or social media followers and craft personas of who your audience might be. Think about what their lives might be like and consider how that will affect how they interact with your content or service. Find stock photos and stick them somewhere you can see them so you can put a face to your audience. The decisions based on these personas may not be authentic, but they will at least be sincere.

Remember that love is a choice. And when we choose to love the people we serve, it changes all of our lives for the better.

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M.B. Haskett: The Heart of Downtown

Located on Phillips Avenue, M.B. Haskett sits in the heart of downtown of Sioux Falls. They are known for a rotating menu of flavors and for their locally sourced ingredients. They also feature art from local artists, locally-roasted coffee and a great outdoor patio.

This is the second restaurant review in our series—be sure to read last month’s review of ODE to Food and Drinks.

I haven’t frequented Haskett’s enough to have a go-to dish. I have been to Chef Michael’s rotating prix fixe menu on the weekends and, if your budget allows, I highly recommend this culinary experience. For lunch though, Haskett’s has a decent staple menu and always has something delicious and unique on their feature menu.

Today, I chose the Bánh Mì made with duck paté served on a baguette. I was a bit hesitant at first, as I’ve had the Brie and Prosciutto Baguette at Haskett’s, and the bread was almost too hard to eat for my taste. For this sandwich though, the bread was perfect. It was a little crisp on the top but soft in the center, and the filling was amazing. The carrots were pickled, which added a nice flavor, and the duck paté was well-seasoned and flavorful.

Banh Mi from M.B. Haskett

Each of my co-workers ordered one of the homemade salads on the side. Haskett’s makes their own dressings and they tasted absolutely amazing. While both salads seemed a little heavily dressed, the flavors melded well together and also complemented their main dishes well.

Side salad from M.B. Haskett

Over the lunch hour, I recommend giving yourself the full hour to enjoy your meal. Typically, the restaurant has quite a few occupants at this time, and if you have to come from 12:00-1:00 pm, you’re going to need the whole time. If you’re able to come in a little earlier or a little later, you’re more likely to be able to get out within 45 minutes or so.

During the summer hours, you can enjoy their backyard patio with a mural done by local artist, Shaine Schroeder. M.B. Haskett has a great weekend pub menu and always has something special prepared by Chef Michael for their rotating prix fixe menu.

Crepe from M.B. Haskett

I ended the meal with one of their sweet-style crepes. They offer four flavors, but our server recommended that we mix flavors. I opted for the raspberry/Nutella combination, and it was the perfect way to end a perfect meal. Check out M.B. Haskett and let us know what you think. And follow along with us next month as we continue to explore the culinary delights waiting for you in Sioux Falls!

Other favorites at M.B. Haskett include the Savory Crepe, the Muffaletta and the Brie and Prosciutto Baguette.

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Is Your Healthcare Practice Making These Digital Mistakes?

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.

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Once the Dust Settles: A Post-ASCRS Review

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.