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Gaining insights from healthcare conferences and trade shows

Ask yourself these questions before signing up

In-person conferences are back ... and if you're fortunate enough to have the chance to attend, you want to make the most of it. Here are some of the questions I ask myself to make sure I'm getting a great return on my investment of time and money.

Why are you going?
This might seem obvious; however, spending some time reflecting on your goals for attending can sharpen your focus.

  • Do you have specific objectives you’re trying to achieve?
  • Are you looking for inspiration and fresh thinking?
  • What kind of information, connections or takeaways will you gain?
  • What insights and benefits can you provide your organization?

Who do you want to see/meet/engage with?
If you can, set up meetings in advance.

  • Find out who else is going, and get in touch with them beforehand to set up coffee, lunch, drinks or dinner.
  • Getting “face time” with peers, colleagues or potential partners can make the whole trip worthwhile.
  • Don’t just cross your fingers and hope you run into them or that they’ll be available at the last minute.
  • Take advantage of networking sessions at the conference ... the organizers have put a lot of effort into making these opportunities available!
  • Making it official can go a long way toward building stronger relationships.

What sessions do you plan to attend? What’s your second choice for each time slot?
Spend the time in advance to really plan out which sessions are of most interest to ensure you make the most of your time at the conference.

  • Have a back-up plan for each time slot.
  • Your first choice session might turn out to be less than you imagined.
  • If you’re traveling with colleagues, compare notes so important sessions get covered.
  • Share learnings among your team and with leadership or other departments when you return.

What will you do differently after returning home? (How will you know it was worth it?)
This requires some pre-thinking as well.

  • Make a plan for following up with new contacts
  • Decide how you'll share and integrate new learning or actions into your team meetings
  • Schedule time on your calendar for the weeks after returning to process and synthesize and create an action plan to put your newfound techniques, concepts and contacts into play.

I’ll be attending SHSMD in DC, Sep. 11-14; and presenting at ISHMPR in Peoria October 12-13, HCIC in Miami Nov. 7-9, and CHPRMS in Charleston, SC, Nov. 30 - Dec. 2.

Don't miss Core Health's presentation at SHSMD with our client, Arkansas Children's:

  • Let’s Talk About It: Using Insight-Driven Empathy to Drive Behavior Change, Tuesday, Sept. 13 from 11:30 - 12:20
    A unique approach – founded on consumer insights and empathy – helped Arkansas Children’s create a statewide campaign to increase vaccination rates in an environment of misinformation and declining trust. This campaign demonstrates how Arkansas Children’s and Core Health worked together to mine published secondary research for consumer insights to drive an empathetic strategy the entire health system could embrace. This helped the organization move forward through a confusing and stressful time with a clear sense of direction and a campaign to help drive conversations.
  • Core Health is proud to be the sponsor of the Marketing and Digital Engagement Track! 20 fantastic sessions!

Will I see you at these conferences? Where are you headed this fall? Let me know!


Laila Waggoner serves as Vice President, Strategic Partnerships for Core Health, Core Creative’s specialized healthcare marketing practice. Laila brings more than 30 years of experience working with regional health systems, community hospitals, academic medical centers, hospices, managed care organizations and B2B healthcare brands in markets across the country. She’s held in-house health system and agency leadership roles, and provides unique insight into how clients can best leverage the strategic branding, marketing and creative resources of an agency partner.

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