BIO 2019 Recap: Biotech Convention Strategy – Some Say Challenging. Poretta & Orr Says, Different

BIO 2019
So what do you get when you invite 16,000 plus to an event that has over 1,800 plus exhibitors in a 160,000-square-foot exhibit hall? Excitement! And that is just the vibe that was emanating from the Pennsylvania Convention Center this week during BIO International 2019. 

The exhibit floor was packed with the all the latest trends and technology and showcased the latest and greatest in biotech and pharma. Attendees represented over 67 countries and they were there to learn about the next “big thing” in biotech and for some, how they might be part of it through their investments. And Pennsylvania had a great pavilion! 

BIO 2019 Pennsylvania Pavilion

Pennsylvania Convention Center
And as someone working in the healthcare convention marketing industry, I wouldn’t be doing my due diligence if I didn’t highlight the fact that the Pennsylvania Convention Center has made great strides to make exhibiting in their city even easier to do business. Philadelphia continues to draw large healthcare/biotech meetings to their city because they have made a commitment to listen and understand those working in this sector and to continuously make improvements. Take a look.  

Venture Cafe
Poretta & Orr was quite busy this week with activities and appointments that aligned our expertise with the Biotech community as it relates to convention and exhibit marketing. Poretta & Orr is active in both PhillyBio and MassBio, and we welcomed the opportunity to mingle with all kinds of people from biotech community. For instance, did you catch our session at Venture Café located at 3675 Market Street on Convention Strategy: Development of Strategies for Biotechs from Pre-Launch Through Product Maturity? We had an opportunity to meet a lot of great people and it was just exciting to interact with those in this ever-changing and ground-breaking industry. 

Biotech Convention Marketing Strategy
But, it was also really exciting to educate. What became very clear was the similarity between how a start-up company must educate themselves regarding how to optimize the pitch experience to venture capitalists (VC’s) and how that same mentality applies to developing an exhibit strategy. I’ve read so many articles about how a company can have the most brilliant of scientists or researchers pitch a new biotech discovery to roomful of hungry and rapt VC’s but it falls flat. Failure typically has nothing to do with an inferior product or service but more with delivery, style, and presentation. The good news is that these are relatively simple pitfalls that can be easily avoided, and the same holds true in the exhibit setting at conventions. 

Let’s say your company is now ready to attend conventions to reach HCP’s and educate them on your new medicine or product or service at conventions. Well, the analogy, build it and they will come, just doesn’t apply. You need to have a strategy and that includes short term, long term and a strategy for each convention you attend. It doesn’t matter if you have the greatest new medicine, product or service invented … if you don’t work with a vendor that understands how to help you maximize your convention and exhibit marketing, it is a wasted opportunity. Are you interested in the receiving our Biotech Convention Strategy executive summary or discussing your exhibit program needs further? We’d be happy to talk to you. 

Poretta & Orr enjoyed sharing our expertise and we often found ourselves explaining to the attendees, you often just don’t know what you don’t know. Which makes working with the right vendor partner critical to your success. And it wasn’t just Poretta & Orr saying this, Rob Metz, from Horizon Therapeutics reinforced this message throughout our presentation. Why would a company gamble all their hard work, research and investments by not working with experts in this field? 

Biotech Industry Exciting Times
From Venture Café, Poretta & Orr moved on to BIO 2019 and as I mentioned earlier, what an amazing collection of companies showcasing amazing breakthrough medicines. The words, CRISPR, Sequencing, Immuno-oncology, Gene editing were prevalent throughout. And what was so amazing to me was the energy and excitement that hung in the air throughout the convention center. As an attendee and exhibitor, you just kind of knew people felt they were taking part of something really important. 

As the biotech industry continues to grow, it is important for those of us working in the healthcare convention marketing industry to continue to offer valuable ways for our clients to engage and continue to market to HCPs. Reaching HCPs continues to be an increasing challenge as more and more physicians limit access to sales representatives by way of office visits. This makes tradeshow marketing even more necessary to integrate as part of your overall marketing strategy. It increases the value of face-to-face engagements at conventions. 

Optimize Your HCP Engagement
Convention marketing for biotech companies, while extremely valuable, is very different from other industries. Others like to point out how challenging biotech or healthcare convention strategy is. But at Poretta & Orr we say it’s just different.

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