Maximizing Your Healthcare Trade Show ROI in a Changing Environment

Call me old fashioned but I firmly believe that everyone that attends a trade show on behalf of their company should have specific show objectives to drive the trade show and company ROI. Furthermore, these objectives should be written down and approved by a senior manager before anyone is allowed to attend the show.

Following the show each attendee should be required to write a short report listing their accomplishments against their attendance objectives.

Here are some general “examples” that merit trade show attendance:

Clinical Personnel

  • Attend specific scientific presentations (lectures and poster sessions).
  • Meet specific speakers, develop relationships and/or introduce them to company personnel.
  • Visit competitors and learn their new technology if possible. Oftentimes, this can be done before or after the show hours if you are willing to reciprocate.


  • Observe and learn new technology.
  • Meet key industry leaders to learn “customer requirements”.

Product Management

  • Setup focus groups with a professional moderator.
  • Perform competitive analysis on new product introductions, product positioning and focus, booth traffic, messaging etc.

Marketing Management

  • Reserve booth space in a prime or the best available location.
  • Ensure the booth design is “inviting” and encourages attendees to enter.
  • Conduct pre-show promotion to ensure booth attendee traffic.
  • Conduct in-booth activities to draw attendees to your booth. Within healthcare lectures and videos are effective. Free beverages are a draw but usually only for the beverages.
  • Schedule media exposure for executive management.
  • Use the show to conduct advisory board meetings and market research.

Sales Personnel

    • Schedule meetings with the company’s top customers.
    • Meet potential distribution partners.
    • Schedule meetings with distribution partners.
    • Develop sales ready leads with potential customers.
    • Make each exhibit visitor feel important. They may not be a customer today but could be in the future or perhaps they could influence a sale. For example, within healthcare it’s not unusual for a spouse to walk the exhibit hall.

Senior Management

      • Make key industry contacts with other senior leaders.
      • Foster relationships with the trade associations’ leadership.
      • Meet and greet the company’s top customers.
      • Observe overall company performance at the show: perception, image, professionalism etc.
      • Look for threats and opportunities.
      • Meet industry analysts to build credibility.
      • Create media exposure by meeting with the press.

Parting Thoughts

Time at a trade show must be used wisely. You and your product are not there to make an appearance. You are there to generate awareness, interest and sales.

  • At the end of each day you should conduct a debrief meeting to discuss what every company attendee has learned, objectives that were met and objectives for the next day. Following the meeting conduct a post-show evaluation. Review what was learned from the written reports and develop next step actions. Lastly, calculate your ROI from the show. Spend your money wisely and reap the benefits.