MARCH 2024
meetings & organizations newsletter
I can't tell you how many times I have spoken to meeting planners who are surprised that exhibitors didn't take advantage of certain sponsorship offerings, or that they are unaware of specifics regarding schedules, etc. I also can't tell you how many times I've heard exhibitors admit that they don't read the emails that come from meeting organizers.

I have to admit that in the past, after I had registered to exhibit at a meeting, there were a lot of emails from the meeting organizers I didn't read either. When you have exhibitors who attend your meeting year after year, the general consensus is that it's going to be: copy/paste (especially if the meeting is at the same venue).

Another reason I believe exhibitors do not engage heavily in emails from meetings is... they are toooooo looooooong.

I totally understand wanting to put the totality of exhibitor information into a single email/document that vendors can save and refer to when they have questions. The main issue with these all-in-one emails is AT FIRST GLANCE, they are very overwhelming. Copy-heavy emails result in deleted emails.

I am not recommending you completely eliminate those messages. Instead, I am recommending some different ways to format them, as well as ways to send.

ONE: less bold formatting
So many of these emails have a most of the content bolded. If the majority of the text is emphasized by bold lettering, then really none of it is bolded. Additionally, this is strenuous on the eye and can cause a reader to close.

TWO: less red and highlighted text.
The same principle of the bolding applies here.

THREE: use more section headers
Exhibitors want to find specific information and it is frustrating to sift through several paragraphs that don't start with a clear subheading (i.e. HALL HOURS; SHIPPING INSTRUCTIONS; ELECTRICITY; ATTENDEE LIST; SPONSORSHIPS; MEALS, etc).

FOUR: more single-point emails
Many organizations feel they send too many emails; but this is usually not seen as an issue as long as the emails are short, sweet, and easy to absorb. Slice up your long email and send shorter, individual emails with single-section details only.

FIVE: specific subject lines
Subject lines tend to be a bit to general (i.e. Exhibitor Details for Meeting X). If I am a repeat exhibitor, I am not inclined to open the email because I feel like I know the ropes. Use specific subject lines to tell me what new information is enclosed and critical for my event success.

After reviewing these quick tips, I think the biggest take-away would be to send each email as if everyone is a return exhibitor. I say this because I am circling back to my earlier point - repeat exhibitors simply copy and paste. You have to make it extremely clear that there are new details to acknowledge and - most importantly - unique sponsorship opportunities.

Therefore, it is imperative to use:
  • Extremely clear subject lines that emphasize new information
  • Extremely short emails that don't take long to digest
Thoughts? Questions? Email Me!
Sarah Breymeier:
Two things we know to be true... nobody is getting any younger and running meetings is not getting any cheaper.

This is a massive issue that plagues meetings year after year and it always seems that the simple fix is to increase fees - primarily on the exhibitor side. I believe, very strongly, that these vendor fee increases have to stop.

Exhibitors are getting more and more frustrated with rising costs, especially when foot traffic in the hall is not increasing at the same rate. The cost per lead is getting too high to be able to achieve ROI.

Below are some meeting elements I believe are high-cost, but low-value. Keep in mind, this is my personal opinion, but consider taking this list to your meeting committee to gain a stronger sense of whether these items can be cut from the budget. You would probably find useful information by surveying your previous attendees as well.
Badge printers
Super convenient? Yes. Totally necessary? No.
I recognize the desire to use this fantastic tool, but if you're trying to cut expenses, this is one of those where we can suck it up and do the printing ourselves before registration.
Ann is going to scold me for this one as she is a big fan of soda on site, but we have all seen the ticket price on a single can. With hotels gauging items like soft drinks, my vote is water and coffee ONLY. Anyone who would like anything else has options in the hotel gift shop.
Unless a sponsor is providing breakfast that consists of more than bread, this is another "nice to have," but an easy one to scratch off the list. At any rate, lessen the amount of food provided. Simply put, nobody is up and at 'em to eat the amount of food that is ordered. Then, by the time people do start coming in droves, the food is usually getting rolled out of the room by hotel staff.
This is another one that may ruffle some feathers and to be honest, I'm on the fence about it. If apps can cut down on your printing costs, great, but I also know that the developer fees can get really high. Plus, most meetings that utilize apps continue to print materials anyway. Until the development of apps is easier/cheaper and/or can completely replace printing, my vote is old school.
Pipe and drape
Depending on the size of your meeting, this isn't always possible, but I have exhibited at small-to-medium sized events with pipe and drape when the 10 x 10 space, alone, would have sufficed.
Faculty members with high honorarium demands
This one, like some of the others, is a case-by-case situation. If you have a speaker that is critical to your meeting success, then there may be no wiggle room here. Additionally, this may only become an issue if there are multiple faculty members who are breaking the bank. Continue to keep your eyes peeled for up-and-comers who are engaging in innovative and interesting research and are excited to take advantage of any speaking opportunity regardless of honorarium. DO PAY PEOPLE WHAT THEY ARE WORTH! I am not recommending to under-value speakers; just make sure that everything adds maximum value and it makes sense for your goals.
Thoughts? Questions? Email Me!
One meeting challenge that never seems to change: difficulty attracting young physicians. Over a year ago, we shared some insight from surveys collected from young DPMs with the following summary:

  • Young physicians are drawn to conferences that have engaging speakers. My recommendation – when you are creating promotional materials (especially via email and on your website) highlight your faculty and emphasize their expertise. Also, avoid choosing the same faculty members every single conference. Get some new blood on your podium!

  • Young physicians are seeking educational content that they can use immediately – practical applications! Hands-on experiences are also ideal.

  • Young physicians find meetings that are held during the holiday season difficult to attend, so if you’re striving to get more young blood in your seats, avoid December. Spring and Fall seem to be the months that have less conflict with young physician schedules.

  • Young physicians prefer meetings at vacation/tourist destinations if they are traveling to a meeting (vs. online education)

Another blast from the past is an interview Ann & I recorded two years ago with Dr. Alton Johnson as we were trying to crack the code to this consistent obstacle. Check it out:
This challenge is not unique to podiatry. In fact, I recently stumbled upon an article at addressing this issue, confirming that this is an across-the-board dilemma.

The main points are generally summed up in the articles subheading:
"What’s in: Plenty of personal interaction, mentoring, and great storytelling. What’s out: didactic learning, packed schedules, not knowing “why.”"

Thoughts? Questions? Email Me!
There cannot be any argument which debates that your faculty members are the most critical aspect of your meeting. The educational content is THE PRODUCT your organization provides (at least at the time of the specific event). If your faculty is not delivering top-quality content, your reputation is at risk.

I highly doubt members of your scientific/education committees are not working to recruit the leading experts of the profession, as well as anyone who is uncovering novel research and methods. Once you've got great content, though, there are additional areas of speaker management that are imperative to either protect your brand/reputation or elevate it.

My personal recommendations, that are separate from the article I am sharing below, include:

  • Presentation uniformity; meaning provide speakers a PowerPoint master slide deck so each presentation contributes to your brand consistency.

  • Select speakers who provide a healthy balance between name recognition, but isn't perceived as recycling content from meeting to meeting. Attendees get tired of paying for registration year after year just to hear the same voices and perspectives.

  • Get your speakers involved in the promotion of your meeting. Again, the educational content is your product; the content is coming from your faculty. Provide them resources to not only promote your meeting, but showcase their personal brands.

These are just some quick tips from me, but below is an article worth sharing given the importance of speaker compliance:

Thoughts? Questions? Email Me!
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