Love and New Leads: ClinicalKey’s “Searchless in Seattle” Tradeshow Campaign

Love and New Leads: ClinicalKey’s “Searchless in Seattle” Tradeshow Campaign

David Ogilvy famously said, “The best ideas come as jokes.” We’ve found that to be true (see: Business Prom), and our latest tradeshow campaign for clinical search engine ClinicalKey was no exception.

This past spring, the ClinicalKey team asked us to dream up an iPad-based booth activity that would capture leads at MLA 2017, the Medical Library Association’s annual conference.

The joke occurred in our initial brainstorm. Since this year’s conference was being held in Seattle, we were riffing on Seattle themes and pop culture moments: coffee, grunge, rain, ferries, that infamous season of Real World, and, finally, a certain romantic comedy from 1993. Someone said, “More like Searchless in Seattle.” A big, weird idea was born.

We imagined a medical librarian in Seattle wishing he or she could find the ideal clinical search engine – a perfect “searchmate” – at MLA. What if ClinicalKey was also looking for a match – an amazing medical librarian – and put personal ads in the MLA conference booklet, or stuck flyers up on the walls of the conference center? What if those ads could lead librarians to the ClinicalKey booth, where they would take an interactive quiz to find their “searchmate”?

Hand drawn heart over the classified ad for ClinicalKey

We knew from our research that medical librarians, while serious about the clinical impact of their roles, are more open than other audiences to playful marketing messages. Our unorthodox concept would stand out in a crowded conference hall, reinforce the friendly voice we had established for ClinicalKey during our rebranding, drive curious attendees to the Elsevier booth and enable the ClinicalKey sales team to capture prospects’ email addresses – not to mention information from the quiz that would help personalize their sales conversations.

The websites design created for ClinicalKey's marketing campaign


Quiz questions that seemed like pure fun were designed to educate prospects on the product. Others were designed to obtain relevant information about prospects’ pain points and preferences. For example, we asked about “past relationships” with ClinicalKey’s competitors. Throughout, we kept the tone light, funny, and – in true Atomicdust fashion – a little peculiar.

The direct marketing pieces for ClinicalKey's Searchable in Seattle campaign

To drive people to the booth to take the quiz, we created personal-ad-themed pre-show direct mail pieces, emails, a program guide ad, and postcards that were handed out at a party ClinicalKey hosted at the Pacific Science Center. Everyone who took the quiz would receive a Starbucks gift card and the chance to win an Amazon Echo.

To help spread the word further, we created a photo backdrop for the booth and encouraged visitors to share their photos with the official MLA hashtag.

The direct marketing pieces for ClinicalKey's Searchable in Seattle campaign

The Elsevier Tradeshow booth

The “Searchless in Seattle” campaign was a huge hit. ClinicalKey exceeded their goal for the show, capturing more leads than they had at MLA 2016. And because we ensured that the quiz structure and logic could be re-themed, ClinicalKey can repurpose it for future trade shows or digital campaigns.

Once again, ClinicalKey helped us prove that healthcare marketing can be memorable (and funny, too).

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Jazzy Danziger

As a senior copywriter at Atomicdust, Jazzy is dedicated to crafting compelling strategies and stories for brands and their audiences.

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