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Reinventing Success: Creating a Must-Attend Conference

Reinventing Success: Creating a Must-Attend Conference

Why change what's already working?

Picture this: you have a successful event with happy clients and engaged attendees. Then you decide to change it. Are you crazy?

Well, not really. I recently had the opportunity to present an incredibly interesting case study – our work with ACEP, the American College of Emergency Physicians –  at the ASAE Annual Meeting & Expo. Along with ACEP’s Bobby Heard and FreemanXP's Marc Pomerleau, we highlighted how we took a risk in doing something new when things were already successful. 

So how did the madness start? In 2012 Marc, Bobby and I were proud of the event we had developed for ACEP. As we stood watching attendees buzzing about the success of the show, we still weren't satisfied. We challenged ourselves, asking - how do we make this even better?

Our goals were simple:

  • Innovation: Create an emergency department area to highlight innovative products and services that demonstrate a commitment to improving patient care and treatment
  • Engagement: Provide an opportunity for emergency healthcare professionals to engage with industry thought leaders and technological innovators
  • Sponsorship Revenue: Create a new stream of sponsorship revenue and bring in new-to-ACEP sponsors
  • Thought Leadership: Establish ACEP as a forward-thinking organization in healthcare marketing

And so innovateED – a hands-on, experiential space to showcase, discuss and debate innovations in emergency medical care – was born. innovatED is a simulated emergency department—complete with patient treatment and trauma rooms, pre-hospital and remote treatment, patient check-in and waiting areas, staffing stations, and a communication and technology center. Here, the best-of-the-best products and services are showcased working together in a true-to-life environment. By considering each of the elements involved and how the attendee would interact with them, we were able to develop an experience that immersed those attendees without compromising the rest of the show.

But that wasn’t the only challenge. Seeing that we had this discussion at the 2012 conference, we had about 363 days to get this complete. But, like always, we were determined. We all agreed that we would do everything we could to knock down any barriers or bottlenecks that got in our way. 

So were we crazy? Why did we change that successful event? The answer is easy: even when you are successful, you have to keep innovating. You can’t get complacent, pat yourself on the back and then expect it to have the same results next year. Being cutting edge doesn’t mean going off the wall, though. Connecting the dots in a way that is meaningful is key. Our calculated approach to risk coupled with the commitment of our teams to deliver the best results helped propel a project to the next level.

Have you taken a risk and changed your approach even when the original was successful? Let us know in the comments.


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David Gauthreaux_FreemanXP

David Gauthreaux

EVP, Global Sales

He knows that in today’s world, every market is a global market. The opportunities are endless, and so he focuses on cultivating the talent, resources and cross-organizational efficiencies needed for dynamic programs. At stake is the success of our clients – and the entire industry as well; indeed,...

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