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Live Presentation
Exhibitor: Siemens Healthcare Health Services (recently acquired by Cerner Corp.)
Creative/Production: Catalyst Exhibits Inc., Pleasant Prairie, WI, 877-204-6208, www.catalystexhibit.com; Fred Blurton Productions Inc., Naperville, IL, 630-904-2802, www.fbptv.com; Live Marketing Inc., Chicago, 312-787-4800, www.livemarketing.com; M1 Interactive, Chicago, 312-291-8068, www.m1interactive.net
Show: Healthcare and Information Management Systems Society, 2014
Budget Range: $300,000 – $399,000
Lure 750 key provider contacts to the booth.
Generate 25 new leads from the federal health-care community.
Secure 30 press mentions and 15 in-exhibit media interviews.
Attracted 800 targeted contacts.
Scored 50 federal health-care leads.
Garnered 43 media mentions and 20 media interviews.

PHOTOS: BizBash Media Inc., Live Marketing Inc., Siemens healthcare Health Services
Connect the Docs
To relay a connectivity message about its new product, Siemens Healthcare Health Services devises a one-off presentation featuring a wall of integrated iPads. The aisle-side attention getter exceeds press-mention and key-target lead goals by 43 and 100 percent, respectively. By Linda Armstrong
The health-care industry has taken a booster shot of innovation as of late. As recently as the '90s, most doctors' offices used everything from hand-pumped blood-pressure cuffs and mercury-filled glass thermometers to rubber patella mallets. Plus, many practices relied on paper to document patient records, which not only generated a filing nightmare but also meant that sharing patient data between caregivers was difficult.

Today, however, most seemingly archaic tools have been modernized. And while some practices still use paper record-keeping systems, the majority have switched to electronic versions, making their use as commonplace as a long wait in the exam room. In fact, electronic information-sharing systems have recently taken another step forward, thanks to companies such as Siemens Healthcare Health Services (which in February 2015 was acquired by Cerner Corp.). In 2014, Siemens launched a product called CareXcell, which connects different types of electronic records and various care organizations. The product links myriad facilities – from preventative-health practices to diagnostic centers and from hospitals to long-term care facilities – so a patient's records can be shared across them and thus care can be improved.

So going into the 2014 Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society show, held in Orlando, FL, Feb. 24 – 26, Malvern, PA-based Siemens wanted to launch CareXcell to the show's IT professionals. At the time, the product was the first of its kind to hit the market, so providing product info to attendees – particularly to people from federally funded care facilities, a key CareXcell market – was paramount to the launch and to getting out ahead of what would no doubt be a pack of competing products nipping at Siemens' heels. Plus, the firm also wanted to generate press attention and thereby enlist journalists to help spread the word about the new product.

Connective Tissue
Marketers at Siemens Healthcare Health Services opted for an ingenious, integrated iPad wall to communicate the connective capabilities of the firm's new CareXcell product. As presenters added individual iPads to the magnetic structure, five previously unconnected groups were linked, and all content across the board began to function as a collective whole.

Problem was, however, CareXcell would have to share the exhibit spotlight and still make an impact. "Since Siemens offers countless products within various markets, the HIMSS exhibit would focus on more than just CareXcell," says Jerrie Ames, senior creative director at Live Marketing Inc., Siemens' live-engagement agency. "So we needed a self-contained experience within roughly one-quarter of the 80-by-100-foot booth that would attract the masses without completely taking over the entire exhibit. And, whatever we did had to be high tech yet seemingly effortless, just like CareXcell." Thus, Live Marketing and the Siemens team, along with Fred Blurton Productions Inc. and M1 Interactive (which provided media creation and hardware programming, respectively), began strategizing with one main goal in mind: create an in-booth launch activity that not only educated attendees but also drew them to the booth like plastic surgeons to Southern California.

Developing a Care Plan
Facing this list of chronic ailments, the marketing team eventually settled on "connections" as a theme to represent how the product links almost every facet of the health-care continuum. So how best can you communicate "connections" in a manner befitting a high-tech product?

According to Roger May, former senior marketing director at Siemens, the answer involved iPads. "After evaluating a number of different strategies, we decided an iPad wall was the most effective means to deliver the message in an informative, familiar, and eye-catching manner," May says.

But an ordinary static wall of tablets wasn't any more cutting edge than a wooden tongue depressor. Rather, the marketing team imagined a one-off live presentation featuring interchangeable iPads and a complex series of caregiver and patient photos, illustrated icons, and text that would communicate how CareXcell connects health-care providers and facilities. Ultimately, this vision would not only meet Siemens' needs, but also those of Sizzle Awards judges, who later called the award-winning project "unexpected," "effortlessly executed," and "spot on with the exhibitor's goals."

Operation iPad
To prep HIMSS visitors for this experience, the marketing team sent attendees a postcard mailer roughly two weeks before the show. Featuring the image of a happy child, the front of the mailer also displayed the Siemens' logo, a call to action to visit the company's booth, and the thematic tagline "Connecting people to connect care." The back side offered that same tagline along with an introduction to CareXcell, and an invitation to visit the exhibit in exchange for Siemens making a charitable donation on each visitor's behalf. Siemens also launched a special HIMSS microsite promoting its show presence, and sent an email blast to its client base.

Arriving in Orlando, attendees discovered Siemens' logo and its connection-related tagline on everything from door clings and hanging banners on and in the Orange County Convention Center to electronic billboards and trolley signage surrounding the venue. In addition, the marketing team used promotional messages on the firm's Facebook and Twitter pages to drive people to the booth and introduce CareXcell.

As attendees approached the 8,000-square-foot booth courtesy of Catalyst Exhibits Inc., they noticed a theater positioned aisle side. Here, they found two multitiered seating structures with room for a total of 30 guests facing a brightly lit presentation wall. Bearing an illuminated blue Siemens logo across the top, the 25-foot-long structure held five groups of iPads (118 tablets in all), which were attached via a built-in magnetic grid system. As attendees paused near the structure, crowd gatherers scanned their badges and invited them to take a seat in the theater.

Every 15 minutes, the theater sprang to life as the wall of iPads, which had previously been showing static images, switched to blank white screens. Two presenters took center stage and welcomed the crowd. "The presenters began by talking about the various communities of care and how each is currently 'siloed' and virtually unconnected from others," Ames says.

As the presenters explained CareXcell's benefits, content on the iPads began to change. Images and illustrations depicting the main talking points popped up here and there along the wall, creating an eye-catching accompaniment to the speakers' words. At the start, the wall's five iPad groups were independent of one another both in terms of the content offered and their physical location on the board. But as the five-minute presentation wore on, presenters periodically grabbed one of the 20 iPads enclosed in almost hidden compartments on either side of the wall, and added it to the magnetic grid. As they did so, the new iPads formed physical connections between the five groups. But perhaps more importantly, the information on the iPads began to morph – as individual content from one group connected to another's. For example, as a specific iPad was clicked into place to join the first two groups into one, the newly connected groups then functioned together, perhaps displaying a single word or image across multiple tablets.

The content on each group's tablets seemed to work together as well. For instance, a series of 1s and 0s appeared to flow down from the top of the wall and through multiple iPad screens. More and more, then, the entire wall began to act as one entity and seemingly to exchange images and information between iPads and groups.

At the start of the presentation, the tablets featured a mostly monotone color palette, but by the end, the entire wall was bursting with brilliant colors, moving multipad animations, and a 25-foot mural of patient images (which mirrored those found in the various promotional pieces). "So what started as a bunch of individual tablets, which in a sense represented individual providers or care communities, became one large interconnected whole," Ames says. "It was a visual representation of the connections created by CareXcell."

According to Ames, however, the polished presentation required some rigorous rehearsal. "The entire process was carefully scripted and choreographed to appear seamless and effortless," Ames says. "The two professional presenters really made it look easy when the entire presentation was rather complex from a technical perspective."

Condition Cured
Following the presentation, crowd gatherers and Siemens staff scanned any late comers' badges and funneled everyone to representatives and information kiosks positioned throughout the rest of the exhibit. Staff also explained that for every badge scanned, Siemens would make a donation to Stand up to Cancer, a charitable program that uses online and televised efforts to raise cancer-research funds. All told, Siemens donated $10,000 to the program and scanned more than 2,500 badges, a figure May says "far surpassed Siemens' expectations." In addition, the company had set out to attract 750 provider contacts and capture 25 new leads from the federal health-care community. In reality, the promotion garnered 800 contacts and 50 federal leads. What's more, the presentation scored some serious press, as it generated 43 media mentions, exceeding the firm's pre-show objective of 30. Plus, reps held 20 one-on-one media interviews in the exhibit, a figure 33 percent above goal.

Finally, members of Siemens' management team, such as then marketing communications manager Rita Sprenkle, were impressed. "From the moment the show opened until the last hour of the last day, the iPad wall generated significant buzz at HIMSS," she says. "It literally stopped attendees in the aisle and lured them into the booth. The CareXcell story, told via an appropriate, eye-catching medium, then kept visitors there to learn more."

So if you want to cut through the show-floor clutter and educate people about your offerings, you don't always need an entire booth space or a multimillion-dollar special-effects budget. Rather, a product-centric idea, some talented presenters, and a couple cases of iPads can be a high-potency prescription for success. E

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