Did you make the HIMSS best and worst list?

By Brad Dodge on February 22nd, 2011

One of the most challenging elements of marketing communications is that it can be VERY subjective. When vendors are considering their investment to exhibit at a conference like HIMSS11, how important is it to have a brand new booth? Sure, it’s cool, but also expensive. Does the incremental investment bring in a commensurate number of leads into the booth? And how on earth do you measure that? How about a question like, “Thanks for coming into our booth. Would you have come by if our booth was 20% less cool? 40% less cool?” Didn’t think so. So, no disrespect intended, let us acknowledge our best and worst of HIMSS awards. Don’t forget, there were more than 1,000 exhibitors, so if you think you were the worst in a category that we awarded to someone else, it’s probably because we didn’t see you. Which is for another conversation altogether on visibility.WORST IMAGERY: The see-through head with colored veins running down to the spine at Cattails Software. Turns out that the entire brand identity is centered on the see-through head. Maybe it appeals to physicians. Not us.

MOST SURPRISINGLY NICE THEATER AREA: CDW. Very engaging, close to the aisle, nice little talk-show-interview area off to the side and very clean presentation technology.WORST SIGNAGE: Merge Healthcare. A whole backdrop of patents that the company holds, we guess. They were too small to read, but big enough to look like we were supposed to be able to read them. If we hadn’t asked the guy what they were, we’d have never known. Lost opportunity.MOST OBVIOUS CASE OF LITTLE-BOOTH-IN-A-BIG-SPACE: Healthwise. Refer back to our comments in the opening paragraph. Our opinion: if you’re going to the black tie event, you gotta spring for the tux.MOST OVERUSED BRIBERY TOOL: The Apple® iPAD®. We lost count of how many vendors had stacks of them that they’d give/raffle to attendees who’d listen to the pitch. And don’t get us started talking about the misuse of the trademark.WORST FASHION STATEMENT: As in the shortest skirt. As in who thought that was a good idea? We saw her at the ACS booth. We thought that booth babes had toned it down? Maybe their parent Xerox forced them into it.WORST FLOOR PLAN FAUX-PAS: HIMSS interoperability showcase was WAYYY at the end of the hall, and it was a really cool exhibit. If you went a little bit past it, you’d be at Cape Canaveral. We think it should be the absolute center of the show floor.HONORABLE MENTION FOR LONGEST USE OF THE TRUSS BOOTH: We’re sure there were OLDER booths in the hall, but nothing says 1990 like a booth built using trusses. We guess they’re still paying off the loan. Award goes to  ESRI. At least the booth staff wasn’t wearing leg warmers.MOST OVERUSED ICON: The world. As in global healthcare. Get it? ESRI wins it again. Mainly because we didn’t write down the others.MOST BLATANT DISREGARD FOR TRADEMARKS: This list is entirely too long to publish. For a taste, go here. What was so surprising is that every one of these companies would go ballistic is their own IP or trademarks were compromised similarly.BEST GIVEAWAY THAT THE DODGE TEAM WANTED TO WIN: The waverunner at the SCC booth. We’re looking up SCC on Google, and once again are stumped by the acronym that’s shared by a zillion other organizations. Is it Spokane Community College? (first result) Scottsdale Community College? (second result) Seminole State College? (third result, and it’s not even an SCC!) Did you already see our opinions on the strength of acronyms in healthcare brands? So, we had to go to the HIMSS pocket guide to figure out who the winner is. SCC is SCC Soft Computer.FRESHEST GRAPHICS: IBM. We know it’s a challenge to have noticeable graphics at a behemoth conference like HIMSS. We think IBM did a nice job. Colorful. Different. Link to healthcare.BEST NOT-FEELING-THE-THEME: Epic. The stacked stone, jewel tones, solid-walled booth is obviously very expensive to build, ship and store. We felt like we were in the past. Does anyone care?BEST NEW BOOTH DESIGN: We have to say that we liked the way that the long, narrow Moss headers were used in a number of new booths to pull the exhibits together without cramping the space. Allscripts and Ingenix both did a nice job at this.All in all, we were thrilled to have a dozen of our employees at HIMSS11 meeting with clients, editors and others. We thought it was a great show and look forward to 2012 in Las Vegas.