Without promotion, something terrible happens… nothing
The American Association of Orthodontists Annual Session is a glimpse into the specialty’s past, present, and future. You have the representatives of the past (AAO Leadership and the American Board of Orthodontics), the representatives of the present (that would be you!), and the representatives of the future (Hint: think exhibit hall). Am I being mean and disrespectful?
No I am not. The longevity of the specialty is not going to be determined in the House of Delegates sessions but by the continued efforts of our corporate partners. Yeah that’s right. Think about how much money these enterprises spend on advertising the benefits of orthodontics. Their multimedia campaigns focus on the importance of the human smile. Enhancement of appearance has now become part of the cultural bedrock. The specialty’s approved messages focus on the importance of your bad bite and the life-threatening dangers of do-it-yourself orthodontics. I don’t see winning the hearts and minds of the consumer with pictures of denuded bloody roots protruding from the anterior maxilla. Who designed the brand ambassador training program, a forensic pathologist?
So here’s my 50 cents of advice. Hug every sales rep, VP of whatever, and CEO that you meet in the exhibit hall. They are working for a mutual goal: profit. Talk to them. Many of these companies have membership in the Association of Dental Support Organizations (ADSO). For those of you unfamiliar with this group, think of it as the dental illuminati. At the ADSO meetings, the future is not speculated about but rather decided. Now I am not suggesting that you hug every bracket harlot giving an infomercial at the booth. They too serve a purpose but their mattress only sleeps one.
I guarantee that if you approach the exhibit hall with an enlightened mindset, you’ll get much more out of the meeting than you would in the lecture hall. To quote Brian Fantana, “They’ve done studies, you know. 60 percent of the time, it works every time.”