The Coffey Blog

SHSMD Connections 2016: Tips for healthcare marketers headed to Chicago

Posted on: Friday, September 9, 2016

Whether it's your first time or you're an experienced attendee of SHSMD (Society for Healthcare Strategy and Marketing Development), it helps to have a strategy for getting the most out of this important healthcare marketing meeting.

We have a few conference pointers and some fun ideas from a local on savoring your time in Chicagoland.

6 steps to SHSMD success

1. Plan ahead. There are a lot of great sessions offered during this four-day event. You can't attend them all, of course. So spend some time studying the conference agenda before you go. You can do that—and many other fun and valuable things—on the SHSMD app (available free on iTunes and Google Play).

Do you want to focus mostly on digital marketing? Are you looking to maximize ROI? Is building a better patient portal high on your list? Find sessions that will help you move your hospital's marketing goals forward.

2. Keep an eye on the time. Once you're at SHSMD, be mindful of when sessions start and plan to arrive on time—or even a few minutes early. You don't want to miss out on popular keynote speeches or concurrent sessions—they tend to fill up fast.

3. Tune in—not out. To get the most out of your SHSMD experience, resist the temptation to check emails or listen to voice messages while attending a session. This is a time when multitasking is not a good thing! Tell your staff or team members in advance that you'll be actively participating in the conference and that you'll check in during breaks or in the evening. Set your email to out-of-office reply.

4. Make the connection. The people you meet at SHSMD are worth the price of admission. We're all in this challenging field of healthcare marketing together. Take the time to connect with others who have similar goals and outlooks. Share, listen and learn.

5. Meet and greet the exhibitors. The exhibit hall at SHSMD is a must-see and -do. A variety of vendors who can help you implement your strategic plans will be there—including Coffey. Come meet our team of healthcare marketing experts at booth 1000.

6. Reflect and repeat. You're going to hear a lot of information at SHSMD. Before you head home, take time to reflect on what you've learned. What applies to you and your team? Is there even one idea you gleaned from the conference that can make a difference in the lives of the community you serve? Commit to making those ideas happen!

Deep-dishing on Chicago

Chris Widell, a Business Development Consultant for Coffey, lives in Chicago. We asked him for some of his favorite things to see and do in his hometown.

For the most authentic slice of Chicago-style pizza, Chris recommends heading to Lou Malnati's Pizzeria, though he admits it's hard to go wrong with most any pizza spot in the city. Other dining options high on his list: BIG Bar, located in the Hyatt hotel, and Siena Tavern, an Italian restaurant about four blocks from the Hyatt.

Michigan Avenue is famous for its world-class shopping. But it's also home to Millennium Park, a public park that boasts free concerts and other events along with spectacular displays of art.

Speaking of art, the Art Institute of Chicago has almost a million square feet of wonders to explore. If you're pressed for time, how about a fun mini-tour? There's even one dedicated to the Windy City. You can see the same mesmerizing works as Ferris and his friends in the 1986 classic Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

Want to take in a ballgame? Catch the Chicago White Sox vs. the Kansas City Royals (Sept. 9 to 11) or vs. the Cleveland Indians (Sept. 12 to 15). Sadly, the Chicago Cubs are playing on the road until Sept. 15.

See you there!

For our team, SHSMD is always a highlight of the year. We love learning new things, meeting so many health marketers in one place and seeing our clients when they visit the exhibit hall. Again, come by and see us at booth 1000.