Meeting the Challenge: Overcoming Daunting Obstacles to Achieve Rigorous Goals for RSNA 2012
With the primary goal of driving exhibit traffic, Carestream’s Global Marketing Team overcame several daunting obstacles in promoting its presence at the 2012 Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) annual conference in late November. Funding was at the core of these obstacles: The Global Team had a modest promotional budget of $100K. Carestream’s Global Marketing Team crafted a multi-faceted approach to surmount these hurdles. What’s more, the team performed most of the work in house, thereby stretching its budget dollars.
- Rank among the top 10 RSNA exhibitors in terms of exhibit traffic.
- Maximize the number of sales leads generated at the show, with at least 50% of these classified as “hot” leads.
- Pre-book product demonstrations with customers/prospects.
- Find ways to stretch our promotional dollars and get the “most bang for the buck”.
- “Piggyback” onto regular, ongoing ad placements of our U.S. Regional organization.
- Purchase and leverage highly selective RSNA-specific opportunities.
- Obtain price breaks and gratis promotion vehicles from the show organizers.
- Secure supplemental advertising/promotion dollars from colleagues and business units.
- Create an overlay of PR and social media activities.
- Launch a direct customer-outreach program.
Through the piggyback effort, we gained wide visibility via print and online advertising in key U.S. trade media from August through November, thus helping us reach the largest potential audience of RSNA attendees. To reach potential attendees from other countries, we provided art files of all U.S. ads to our colleagues around the world for placement in their respective country media.
Four highly selective opportunities served to bolster the advertising effort:
- Aggressive pre-show direct-mail campaign
- Official RSNA “Tote”
- Gigantic Banner
- Indoor Billboard
All in all, the tote, banner and billboard reinforced the momentum of not only our pre-show advertising, but also of our direct-mail campaign.
Our PR/SM overlay also helped support our “paid” promotional efforts. On the PR side, we generated large media placements and worked with Carestream communications people around the world to generate news coverage in their respective countries. We distributed product news briefs to trade media in September to earn pre-show news coverage, reinforcing efforts to attract customers/prospects to our booth. We scheduled interviews in our booth during the show with prominent reporters to generate solid post-show coverage in key trade media to get ahead of the “news avalanche”.
On the social media side, a special RSNA microsite on our carestream.com website went “live” in August to preview products we would feature at the show, enable customers to book product demos—and more. We also built pre-show buzz via a weekly “image teaser” on Facebook; via weekly tweets from people planning to attend RSNA; and via “thought leadership” content on our EverythingRAD blog from Carestream executives, customers and journalists tying into RSNA’s “Patients First” theme. Our social media efforts continued during RSNA, with a combination of “live” reports and videos on Twitter, Facebook and EverythingRAD.
We conducted an exciting program that motivated our sales reps and other team members to pre-book product demo appointments with customers in the weeks leading up to the RSNA show. This “Two Contests in One” promotion offered attractive financial incentives for scheduling the highest quantity of appointments, particularly with new customers/prospects.
- Booth traffic: Carestream exceeded its goal of ranking among the top 10 exhibitors in booth traffic. The company, in fact, ranked fifth in total RSNA booth traffic among 24 top companies.
- Sales leads: Carestream generated sales leads, at parity with the prior year on a proportionate basis. Two-thirds (66%) of these were “hot” leads exceeding our 50% goal.
- Demo appointments with new customers: Carestream conducted pre-booked product demonstrations beating our goal by approximately 15% and surpassing by 28% the prior year’s appointments with new customers.
- Stretch promotional dollars: The Carestream Global Marketing Team generated promotions valued at more than $152K.
NOTE: for competitive reasons, details such as leads and placements have been removed from this public blog. If you are a marketer and interested in more detail, you can contact one of the authors.
Editor’s note: Carestream Health was a 2013 Pinnacle Award Winner in the Element Category #20: Trade Show Promotion. For a full list of the 2013 winners, read the News Release. Rochester Business Journal’s article following the event is available here. A full photo album from the event is posted here.