It was a really refreshing break from the yellow grass locales of California to be able to spend 5 days in lush green Savannah. Having been born and brought up in a tropical country helped me adjust faster to the sweaty, sweaty heat of Georgia. Of course, it really helped that the HCEA team had the AC turned on high and served iced coffee and other cooling drinks. It was fabulous to see the familiar faces from my first HCEA Marketing Summit trip earlier this year and also make new acquaintances in the healthcare event fraternity.

Some of the highlights and learnings from the event were:
  • Diane Benson getting the Annual Distinguished Service Award. Was that acceptance speech lovable or what! Aaron and I have always been fans of Diane’s affable nature and greatly benefited from her advice about the healthcare event industry. More recently I was exposed to some of the great work she’d done as the HCEA president. I also greatly benefited from her sound advice for my first ever education session at HCEA, something she prefaced rather humbly with – “I must warn you I’m not great with presentations.”
  • Seeing more education sessions around metrics and measurement. It felt like we really took off from where the close quarter discussions in Chicago had left us. The Mike Kelly and Michael Young presentations seem to have had their impact as attendees filled up sessions rooms hosting topics about the usage of technology to measure and establish value from medical meetings and congresses. I hope to see more such topics, themes, and activities arising out of our ranks through the year and promise to do my bit to further them as a volunteer. 

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  • Great conversations on 1:1 HCP / Buyer Meetings. Having a booth usually, means driving traffic and educating people about one’s product. But I was luckily accompanied by our Head of Sales, Aaron Karpaty, a long time HCEA member and attendee. He wears his “Always Selling” tee shirt with enormous pride because it really represents him. This though helped me talk to event planners from some of the world’s largest healthcare/ pharma corporations as well as associations. I was happy to see the increasing interest in being able to measure how 1:1 conversations and interactions during events can be used to establish value within the company or to an association’s key exhibitors.
  • Education session on sales advancement via events. I had the pleasure of co-presenting on this topic with Debi Smith from McKesson. Even having spoken on the phone with her a bunch of times had not prepared me for the whirlwind that Debi is. I thought her smack-in-the-face, forthright speak about meeting planning, execution, and measurement was very well received by the audience.
  • Participating in the CSR activity. The HCEA Connect was probably the tenth event industry gathering for me this year. And none of them begin their proceedings by giving back to the community in the silent and unpresuming way in which life falls in place for some of us. I hope our service helped build good karma for all HCEA members and the year that we  and our families will have, till we meet again next year.

I hope all of you had the pleasure of taking the genteel boat ride across the river and tasting some of Savannah’s colorful and mysterious food. Mysterious because you can never guess whether you’re having breakfast or dinner, and also because you’re never sure if it’s entrée or dessert. All the pains of travel and the inconvenience of being away from family feel righted when one meets friends learns such a great deal and goes back better equipped to deal with life. HCEA Connect did all that for me. I hope it did for you as well.

For the latest in event marketing news, visit the Jifflenow blog.

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