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Alcon: Thinking Outside the Booth

By Freeman®

Some of the most valuable real estate in the world measures 10 feet by 10 feet.

The humble trade show booth is where many companies cultivate the relationships that turn into multi-million dollar contracts. Being successful at today’s trade shows, however, often requires thinking outside the booth, both physically and virtually.

We sat down for a chat with Erin Moore, manager of global conventions for Alcon and Event Marketer B-to-B Dream Team member, to discuss how her team is driving demand for Alcon products and services by re-thinking the booth experience. Erin oversees a conventions team that exhibits at over 500 events a year, putting together everything from six-foot table-top displays to giant 100 x 120-foot booths.

Q Hi Erin! You and your team manage a lot of trade show exhibits for Alcon. In your opinion, What do you get from a trade show booth booth that you don't get from other marketing channels?

Erin Moore: I think we forget how important the in-person experience is. We want doctors to be able to touch the medical devices, to feel how it will be in their hand, to walk around the medical equipment and try it out and really get a good sense of what it will be like to use.

Ultimately, we share the doctors’ goals. We're trying to help the patient see better, regain their sight, and feel their best. That’s why we want doctors to visit our booth and talk to us, try things out, and feel completely confident in what we’re building.

Q How do you define success for a booth experience?

EM: The way we define success for a booth experience depends heavily on the booth itself, but a major objective for the show tends to be interaction. What did the doctors interact with and how much time did they spend with us? Did they come away knowing that Alcon is there for them and that they’re important to us? Having those meaningful engagements with the right customers really lets us know if our booth and our event has been successful.

Q Are there any unique attendee engagements that you're excited about at your booths?

EM: We implemented VR in our booths a few years ago. Our customers are a niche audience, and this was new to them when we started it. We’re so excited about how well it’s been received and how the customers have responded to it in the booth.

We started with what was essentially a “Magic School Bus” trip through the eyeball, demonstrating the anatomy of the eye and how it works. It was new and exciting for the doctors to get such a relevant example of how VR works and how they can use it to educate customers.

Now we have evolved into other modules that look at different disease states of the eye to educate doctors and, again, to help doctors educate their customers when there's a diagnosis.

Q Immersive experiences can be a great way to maximize booth space. How are you growing your virtual reality experiences within your exhibits?

EM: We're continuing to evolve and adapt and add new modules to the VR demo so that it remains fresh and so that doctors keep coming back to our booth. They can always expect something new from Alcon and know that we are here to help them evolve as new technology comes to market. We want to present our products in a way that emphasizes how cutting-edge they are, so VR helps us make the presentation just as cutting edge as the products and technology are, which we’re really excited about.

Q Are you using this cutting-edge technology from your booths in other areas of Alcon marketing?

EM: Yes! We have the Alcon Education Center on campus at Alcon, where we bring doctors to educate them. We take the most successful engagements from the booth and put them in there.

We also take those successful elements from the booth and use them in ancillary meetings at conventions, and also in individual meetings with doctors. The idea is to present a consistent message and a consistent engagement experience with our brands.

Q To wrap up, can you share something that you’ve learned at your first job that you’ve carried through to your work at Alcon?

EM: I was 16 and working as the mayor’s assistant in my hometown of Decatur, Texas. And that mayor, Bobby Wilson, was just the nicest man. He taught me a lot about working relationships and how to establish meaningful relationships while still maintaining professionalism. He also taught me a lot about multi-tasking, which, as you can imagine, I haven’t used at all during trade shows!

Want to hear more from Erin?
Watch this video for her insights on exceptional exhibits.
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