AMGA 2011: The Dodge team selects best and worst in the exhibit hall

By Brad Dodge on April 18th, 2011

Hope you all were able to attend the AMGA annual conference at the Gaylord National Harbor in D.C. What a refreshing upgrade from the Marriott on Canal Street in New Orleans from last year. And we're looking forward to heading back to San Diego to the Manchester Grand Hyatt in 2012! The AMGA conference is interesting from an exhibitor perspective because all the booths are 10-bys. Lots of 10x10s, plenty of 10x20s and a few 10x30s. Just more than 100 exhibits. But it seems some companies--especially larger companies-- pay little attention to their brand when they're in a smaller setting like this. Take a look at the pictures of the behemoth brands and their paltry performances. We wonder: Are the marketing departments in these companies aware of what's going on in these exhibits? OK, here we go:

BEST IN SHOW. GE Healthcare. Why did we like the booth? Open, clean, contemporary. Messaging was clear and simple. You clearly felt that this show was important to them.

HIMSS best in show

TAGLINE MOST LIKELY TO MAKE YOU GO "HUH?" Turning Science into Caring from Abbott Laboratories. Here's the rest of it: "A Promise for Life. Turning Science into Caring. We are here for the people we serve in their pursuit of healthy lives. This has been the way of Abbott for more than a century – passionately and thoughtfully translating science into lasting contributions to health." 

MOST CAMPY BOOTH THEME. CompHealth. CompHealth is a successful locum tenens firm. The genie in a bottle theme runs throughout their website, too. Many companies adopt themes like this, and many are very successful. We're not big fans of the campy motif in general.

HIMSS best in show booth

CLEAREST MESSAGE. Lumeris. Our team gives kudos for making the message simple and effective, while keeping the area around it free of clutter.

HIMSS Lumeris booth

MOST WORDS, LOGOS AND MESSAGES IN A 10 FT SPACE. CSSN-SnapShell-MedicScan. They were showing some slick scanning devices to help accuracy and efficiency at the front desk, and if you talked to the reps, it was easy to understand. But the booth itself? Not so much.

HIMSS Best in show booths

BOOTH MOST LIKELY TO ELICIT THE RESPONSE, "OH, WE NEED TO STAFF THE BOOTH, TOO?" Anodyne Health. Now, granted, there were times when the attendees were in general sessions, but this pic was taken at the height of all the action in the exhibit hall. If the staffers had missed the flight, the booth wouldn't have been set up, right? Could they have overslept? Had another meeting? Could they have been touring the Washington Monument? (We hear it's open, thanks to the heroic efforts of... never mind)

best booths at HIMSS

BEST FOOD IN THE BOOTH. Med3000. Gourmet cupcakes were a nice idea, but the logo on the frosting said "Love my RCM." Our team scores that as a lost opportunity to reinforce the primary Med3000 identity. Very tasty, though.

HIMSS cupcakes

BOOTH MOST LIKELY TO BE CONFUSED WITH A DIPPINDOTS STAND. It's actually the Humana booth, we were surprised to learn. If you're reading this and had anything to do with the design of that booth, we'd love to talk with you to understand the strategy. Or, if you're the marketing person who decided it would be an ideal way to represent the Humana brand to hundreds of the world's largest medical practices, give us a holler.  The boothers were very nice and friendly folks that agreed to our taking the picture. Thanks for that!

Humana booth at HIMSS

BOOTH LEAST ALIGNED WITH THE MASTER BRAND. GSK. We decided to suggest an edit to their tag line based on the performance at AMGA. Instead of "Do more, feel better, live longer," we suggest making it "Do more, feel better, live longer, send the old crappy booth to that little show." Did we already mention that AMGA represents hundreds of the world's largest medical practices?

gsk booth at HIMSS

BEST THROWBACK TO THE 80S BOOTH. Pfizer. Really. You might think this is a little startup from Peoria or something. But Pfizer is the world's largest research-based biopharmaceutical company. Maybe the exhibit planners thought they could get another few years out this little booth if they added a really cool sign scattered with yesterday's industry buzzwords. Who knows? But Pfizer and GSK are two really big brands that showed up with less-than-inspired booths at AMGA. Our team was disappointed.

Pfizer HIMSS booth Pfizer HIMSS booth

LARGEST MISSED OPPORTUNITY. Emdeon. The opening reception on Thursday night was teeming with people loosened up by beer and wine. But the Emdeon booth just sat in its case watching the buyers pass on by. Maybe the boothers missed their flight? Or did they miss the memo that the opening reception is in the exhibit hall, with the vendors? And an open bar?

bad booths at HIMSS

We had lots of tweets coming from the panel on Friday. An outstandingly informative discussion on ACOs. Kudos to AMGA for putting that together. Even though one of the main panelists was a no-show, the program was loaded with timely, relevant info. We're proud to represent AMGA as a client. Our other clients that exhibited included NextGen Healthcare, Capario, Ancillary Care Solutions, Culbert Healthcare Solutions, MPV and Alpha II. We enjoyed seeing them all and catching up. Thanks to all those that worked so hard to put the show together, and certainly no disrespect intended for those that worked the individual booths whose exhibits we felt could be better. And we encourage all of the companies to step back for a minute and ask if their brand was properly represented. Whether it reflected the type of company that they each want to be.