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IAEE Spotlight on 2023 Outstanding Marketing and Sales Award Winner American Academy of Neurology

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The American Academy of Neurology celebrated the 75th anniversary of its Annual Meeting by surpassing revenue and attendance goals. Learn how this Outstanding Marketing & Sales Award winner succeeded at growing its show and what it has in store for this year.

By Mary Tucker | Sr. Communications & Content Manager | IAEE

animated image of 2023 IAEE Outstanding Marketing & Sales Award Winner American Academy of Neurology

The American Academy of Neurology (AAN), founded in 1948, is the world’s largest association of neurologists and neuroscience professionals with over 40,000 members. The organization’s mission is to promote the highest quality patient-centered neurologic care and enhance member career satisfaction. The AAN has hosted its marquee conference – the AAN Annual Meeting – since 1949. The meeting is open to members and nonmembers, and provides programming across career levels and neurology subspecialties.

In 2023, the AAN celebrated its 75th anniversary at its Annual Meeting which took place in Boston, MA, occupying the entire Boston Convention and Exhibition Center and live online. The AAN team executed an exceptional strategy that exceeded revenue and attendance goals critical to attracting attendance from industry partners (i.e., pharmaceutical companies, biopharmaceutical, medical device companies, recruiters, hospital networks, publishers, associations/non-profit) to the meeting.

AAN’s adept performance earned it the IAEE Outstanding Marketing and Sales Award last year, for which it was recognized this past December during Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition in Dallas, Texas (watch the acceptance speech delivered by AAN Associate Director of Industry Sales Andrew Halverson here).

Here, Andrew shares with IAEE how the AAN team designed a highly effective game plan for meeting and exceeding their goals as well as how it plans to build on its success for this year’s Annual Meeting.

Congratulations on celebrating your 75th anniversary last year! Obviously, your Annual Meeting enjoys a long history and established reputation. What were the top priorities for this milestone meeting and how did you determine them?

Andrew: Our top priority for the 2023 Annual Meeting was to enable participants to choose their own meeting journey by offering the full spectrum of education, science, networking, industry therapies, events, and more during the meeting. Specific to our industry partners, we focused on finding ways for industry and members to meaningfully engage so that members could learn about the latest products and services that improve patient care. These priorities align with the AAN’s mission as well as our vision to be indispensable to our members.

The team created a separate marketing plan to drive registration as well as help attendees navigate the meeting. What strategies in your attendee acquisition plan resonated the most with attendees and/or yielded the best results?

Andrew: The AAN focused on a digital-first marketing strategy to promote awareness and drive registration to the meeting. This allowed the team to be nimble, updating information as planning progressed. We also focused on tailored, targeted communications, speaking to the specific attendee directly about the value of different aspects of the meeting. This meant that while we were speaking to potential attendees, we were also speaking to registered attendees, as well as involved industry partners – all while coordinating timing and messaging across these different audiences and communication channels.

One of AAN’s primary objectives for the 2023 Annual Meeting was to find ways for industry members to meaningfully engage. What tactics best met that goal, and do you see any of these carrying over/being expanded into this year’s meeting?

Andrew: In 2023, we introduced an emerging neurologic care presentation stage within the exhibit hall, allowing companies with a smaller booth footprint the space to discuss current products within a high-traffic environment. Our Industry Therapeutic Update program continues to foster excellent engagement. These programs provide an opportunity for pharmaceutical companies, medical device companies, or other appropriately related organizations to share information about current and pipeline activity, promote emerging therapies and projects with Annual Meeting attendees. In 2023, we expanded these evening programs with lunchtime slots, providing more convenience for attendees and industry to connect within the convention center in between educational and scientific programs.

What new initiatives will AAN launch in 2024? And, what developments can attendees look forward to at this year’s Annual Meeting?

Andrew: We have a few new initiatives being offered to industry partners at the 2024 Annual Meeting. Based on attendee feedback, we are introducing meeting pods to provide a private space for attendees to network, take phone calls, and unwind. Companies will gain increased visibility with graphics and messaging outside the pods. We’re also expanding our offerings on our scrolling social media wall to allow companies to sponsor a post via the AAN’s account. In addition to seeing their own messages real-time, attendees will also have increased visibility to information about products and services. Broadly speaking, the AAN is focused on hosting the best professional gathering of the year, so all attendees can look for opportunities to celebrate the community and have their own place within all the offerings people have come to expect from the AAN Annual Meeting.

The Call for Nominations for this year’s IAEE Awards is now open! Check out all of the award categories here and be sure to submit your nominations by 30 August!

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