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Special Project

Special Project
From the 10th Annual Shorty Awards

athenahealth 2017 HIMSS Conference Activation

Finalist in Business to Business


athenahealth is a Healthcare IT company that provides medical groups and hospitals with products and services for EHR (electronic health records), patient engagement, practice management and billing, care coordination, population health and more. The company mission is to help physicians focus on patients instead of paperwork. A relatively young brand, athenahealth has been recognized as an industry leader for its cloud-based technology solutions and services.

The challenge has been to increase market share against well-established competitors in the enterprise space. Furthermore, the healthcare technology landscape has experienced extra pressure from smaller providers emerging with similar value propositions.

As the target audience for healthcare IT is niche with limited scale across most media channels, athenahealth was looking for new ways to connect with decision makers and drive qualified leads to its sales team.

HIMSS ( is a major annual Healthcare IT event that brings industry leaders and decision makers together. It's the Who's Who of the Healthcare IT industry and a great opportunity for athenahealth to connect with prospects. Though athenahealth had participated in HIMSS in the past, 2017 marked the first year a Paid Social campaign was activated (February 19-23, 2017).

The objective of the Paid Social activation was to own the SOV around the conference on social media and raise the audiences' awareness around the athenahealth product suite, ultimately driving qualified leads to the booth and sales teams.

Strategy and Execution

Our target audience was defined as C-suite Enterprise Healthcare IT Decision Makers (with a focus on attendees of the conference) -- a unique challenge given the scale associated with such a narrow audience.


We used a two-phase approach to the HIMSS activation.

On Twitter, using C-suite targeting and geo-fencing around the conference, we targeted attendees with action-provoking content. We also targeted people actively talking/tweeting about the conference. With this approach, athenahealth could reach relevant audiences through targeting and engage with them online.

To encourage conference participants to actively engage with the brand, we leveraged Twitter's Conversational Ads (at the time a relatively new product offering). By doing this, athenahealth became the platform's first ever brand to use this tactic around a conference and gave attendees an easy way to actively engage with the brand. To supplement efforts on Twitter, we also used Facebook link ads to drive participants to the athenahealth booth and sponsored events at the conference.


athenahealth dominated the HIMSS conversation from a brand mentions perspective throughout the week. On both an aggregate and daily level, we superseded all other direct competitor SOV. Even as other brands entered the conversation, athenahealth maintained the highest SOV day-over-day (see graph JPEG)

Not only did athenahealth own SOV around the conference online, this activity positively affected our lead generation results. With no additional spend, athenahealth saw an 12% increase in leads captured during HIMSS, YoY. From these efforts, we were able to create a highly relevant audience to retarget post-conference, which further led to more qualified leads coming to the sales team.

Finally, in parallel to heightened brand visibility on Social platforms, we saw a 9% spike in branded search volume (comparing HIMSS week, YoY), and a 40% increase in conversion actions on the web-site primarily a result of a proportionate increase in site traffic. To ensure cross-channel support, we also activated a geo-targeted paid search campaign, again with the aim of owning SOV around the conference.


Entrant Company / Organization Name

Mindshare New York, athenahealth

Entry Credits