“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin
Why does it always seem that there is a rush to get ready for tradeshows when you know months in advance when the meeting will occur? There always seems to be a last minute need to change booth graphics, or as is always the case, coordinating changes to the rooming list and working with a hotel to update arrival and departure dates for company employees who will be attending the meeting (with additional changes once the meeting has started!). While it’s difficult to anticipate every possible hiccup in advance, preparation is key to successfully managing tradeshows.
Companies who wait until the last minute (e.g. the month before the show is scheduled) or assign the responsibilities of coordinating the company’s efforts at the meeting to inexperienced individuals are destined to have everyone running around in circles before the show, disruptions to their day to day business operations (can you say “decreased productivity”), and a high likelihood of reducing the possibility of having a successful meeting.
Since most tradeshows often require the same types of preparation activities in advance of the meeting, obtaining/reviewing the show manual (provided by the meeting organizers) and the creation of a tradeshow checklist which details standard action items for these shows are musts. The identification of who is responsible for each action item and the associated deadlines for these to be completed by are absolutely essential. At The Atticus Group we create this checklist in Excel and then maintain it as a file on Dropbox, continuously updating the file based on the completion of assigned tasks. Tasks which are overdue are highlighted in red to ensure they are called out and addressed in a timely manner.
It is also important to not limit the above checklist to booth associated activities (e.g. booth design, shipping, installation, materials) and staffing (e.g. who will attend, room reservations, booth schedule), but to also include other activities which can drive a successful show. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Development and distribution of pre-meeting communications to customers in order to drive booth traffic (e.g. pre-mailers, e-mail blasts, website content specific to the meeting).
- Planning and implementation of presentations by product champions during the meeting (e.g. satellite symposia, booth presentations, dinner meetings).
- Public relation-related initiatives in conjunction with the launch of a new product during the meeting or the presentation of new clinical data on your product(s).
- Development of multimedia content which can be leveraged during the tradeshow.
In conclusion, preparation is the key to success with tradeshows and medical meetings. Advance planning, as much as 9 to 12 months before the meeting occurs, is the most important first step. If it is a scientific meeting, this includes the identification of abstract submission deadlines and working with your clinical group to submit data which supports your product messaging (these deadlines are often months in advance of the meeting) and making strategic decisions on which meetings you should exhibit at and the scope and scale of your involvement each meeting.
“If you believe you can accomplish everything by “cramming” at the eleventh hour, by all means, don’t lift a finger now. But you may think twice about beginning to build your ark once it has already started raining” – Max Brooks
Check out our White Papers
Medical Technology Insights is an ongoing series of white papers developed by The Atticus Group addressing key topics of interest to companies developing and commercializing novel medical technologies.
Volume 1, Number 1 – October 2016
Avoiding a False Start: Marketing Tips for the Successful Commercialization of Novel Medical Devices
A failed product launch can be disastrous, both financially and to the reputation of the brand. The development and timely execution of a comprehensive strategic launch plan is required for the successful commercialization of new medical technologies. In this paper we review four areas where advanced planning by marketing individuals can assist with a successful product launch.
Volume 1, Number 2 – January 2017
Predicting the Future: Forecasting Initial Product Demand and Sales Revenue for Novel Medical Device Technologies
Sales forecasting for new medical technologies is both an art and a science. This paper reviews the benefits of developing a spreadsheet-based forecasting model and how various market factors and company-related parameters can influence forecasting for sales revenue and initial product build.