The Australasian College of Dermatologists

The Australasian College of Dermatologists

Marketing more than skin deep.

The Australasian College of Dermatology is the peak medical college for the training and professional development of medical practitioners in the specialty of dermatology. The college provides authoritative information about dermatology to government, the media, other health professionals and the general public.

The Mission

The Australasian College of Dermatology (ACD) decided to bid to host the World Congress of Dermatology in Sydney in 2023. Sydney’s business events experts, BESydney, worked with ACD on this bid.

Due to our ongoing partnership with BESydney, pepperit was engaged to manage the social media campaign promoting the bid to voters. The social media component was the final element in what had been a long running and complex bid campaign.

With voting scheduled in Milan within a couple of months, we had limited time to make a big impact. This was to be a collective effort between pepper, BESydney and ACD.

Our Approach

The target market was the voting contingent. This was the International League of Dermatological Societies (ILDS), made up of 170 members, from more than 80 countries, representing 150,000+ members.

The goal of the campaign was to build awareness among the targeted audience. We also had to drive that audience to the bid website and build awareness around the two main hashtags used for the bid. Having identified that our competition was a field of six other bid cities, we chose to promote Sydney’s bid by implementing several key themes and campaign messages. To overcome language barriers of voting delegates, the campaign statement and messaging was crafted to be intently bold and clear.

Our positioning statement “Vote for Sydney! Bring the WCD community to Australia in 2023” was supported with the ideas of diversity, accessibility and a unique and memorable experience.

Key campaign messages included:

  • We are a diverse group of dermatologists treating diverse conditions.
  • While we may seem remote, we are quite accessible.
  • Sydney has some of the most iconic landmarks in the world.
    We are walkable city.
  • Sydney is an amazing city for busines and leisure.
  • Bring your family for a once in a liftetime experience.
  • Come to experience our unique wildlife and natural beauty.

To bring life to the campaign, the creative used was a mix of images and videos promoting a diverse Sydney.

Broken into two distinct stages, the first concentrated on organic social media posts, and the second, on paid social media advertising. For the organic part of the campaign, content was developed and posted for use across Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter and focused on building awareness and driving website traffic in the lead up to the commencement of the Milan conference and the all-important vote.

Keen to get all staff at ACD and other stakeholders supporting the bid across our strategy, we produced a customised social media guide that addressed appropriate types of captions, tone and frequency of posting.

Just before the vote, it came time to roll out the paid advertising plan. This is always a fun day for a marketer as it provides greater granularity in targeting and means you can be even more confident of hitting the right audience.

To target those attending the conference and the ILDS voting members, we implemented:

  • Social media geotargeting, targeting visitors within a radius of the convention venue and preferred conference hotels throughout Milan.
  • Social media pixels for the bid website, retargeting across all social media platforms.
  • Demographic and interest profile matching for dermatologists worldwide, who may have been at the vote (or influencing those who were) but not have their location services switched on.

The ensure that budget was maximised during the campaign period, campaigns across the three platforms were set up for impressions, rather than for link clicks. With such a short space of time to geotarget the Milan region, this approach ensured the campaign was delivered to as many targeted social media users as possible.

The Upshot

Pleasingly, our website and social media reports highlight the success of this campaign on several fronts.

As expected, website traffic in the form of both users and sessions was significantly higher during the campaign period. There was also a spike in website traffic when paid social media campaigns peaked during the conference.

Our favourite stats include 1015% increase in traffic from social media and a 25% increase in traffic acquired from organic search (a testament to reaching and building brand awareness with the targeted audience).

Aligning with the capability of Facebook to be very targeted, Facebook was the largest social referrer of traffic to the website (+1542%). And true to our targeting, comparison of website traffic for pre and during the campaign period showed a significant increase in website visitors from Europe, especially Italy.

Regrettably, Singapore led the winning bid for this congress. While disappointing not to have won this time around, BESydney and pepper gained valueable knowledge and lessons in bid campaigning budget allocations.