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What to Expect at a Pharmaceutical Trade Show

By March 25, 2020 No Comments
What to Expect at a Pharmaceutical Trade Show

In 2020, attending trade shows has become increasingly beneficial for any business or pharmaceutical professional. With trade shows constantly getting larger and more robust, it may seem a bit intimidating to attend one. With some preparation, however, you can master the art of the trade show and make the best out of what the pharmaceutical industry has to offer!

If you are any of the following professionals, you may be thinking about attending a few pharmaceutical conferences:

    1. Pharmacy Professionals
    2. Medical Directors
    3. Health Care and Pharmaceutical Industry Board Members and Executives
    4. Compliance Executives
    5. Physicians
    6. Nurses
    7. Clinical Research Organizations
    8. Site Management Organizations
    9. Pharmacy Technicians and Pharmacists
    10. Pharmaceutical Manufacturers
    11. Private Employers and Public Purchasers
    12. Pharmaceutical Consultants

Use this helpful guide to learn what to expect from a pharma trade show, why you should attend one (or many), and which pharmaceutical industry trade shows to look out for in 2020. 

What to Expect at a Trade Show

While every trade show is a bit different depending on the industry, topic, and intended audience, all pharmaceutical trade shows have a few things in common. Here are some of the main things you can expect at a pharma trade show:

  • Listen to a diverse set of successful and engaging speakers
  • Network with like-minded individuals, industry decision makers, and senior leaders
  • Access news about new drug development
  • Learn about new pharmaceutical products and methods
  • Participate in training modules and simulations

Benefits of Attending a Pharmaceutical Trade Show

While the expectations of a pharma trade show are clear, potential attendees may wonder: what’s in it for me? If the above list didn’t strike your fancy, this one certainly will.

Here are the top 5 reasons to attend a pharmaceutical trade show in 2020:

  1. Forge new business relationships 
  2. Receive industry education to expand your knowledge and solve big problems
  3. Present your ideas and contributions to an audience 
  4. Perform some competitor analysis
  5. Have access to highly targeted leads and raise brand awareness

#1 Forge New Business Relationships

Everyone knows that networking is key. What better way to network than at a sprawling, diverse venue full of industry professionals, decision makers, and experts? Trade shows present an amazing opportunity to forge alliances both on the business side and technological side. These new relationships can help you break into otherwise impenetrable vertical markets or form vital partnerships that will skyrocket your growth.

Here are some networking success tips for good measure:

  • Plan ahead – Check out the exhibition schedule for any socials like luncheons, parties, or hospitality suites. Meeting industry leaders in a more relaxed setting is the perfect way to exchange contact information and spark new relationships organically
  • Be professional – Get acquainted with the dress code and expected business decorum before arriving. Although a bit of charm will make you memorable, approaching the trade show in a professional manner is vital for pharmaceutical companies to take you seriously and partnerships to blossom.

#2 Expand Your Knowledge with Education from Industry Experts

Just because networking is fun and beneficial for business doesn’t mean you should skimp out on education. Learning opportunities are a huge and often overlooked component of trade shows that help keep you up-to-date on the latest developments and tech in the pharma industry. 

Here’s why you don’t want to be too cool for school:

  • Knowledge of new developments enables you to enhance your business plan and financial trajectory
  • Awareness of novel products and strategies helps you stay competitive
  • Learn about concepts beyond your sector to become a more versatile communicator
  • Attending talks by prospective partners is an excellent talking point for networking
  • Gain actionable insights to improve your product and your business

Don’t forget to take notes!

#3 Present Your Ideas to a Valuable Audience

At many trade shows, you can speak at a workshop to showcase your expertise and gain some ever-important networking opportunities. Poster sessions are also available to present on more technical findings. Not only will attending these increase your own awareness of novel solutions in the field, but presenting your own findings will help others solve big problems. 

Speaking at a trade show is an excellent way to forge new relationships and find new collaborators to tackle the meaty problems the pharma industry is facing today.

#4 Perform Competitor Analysis

Not only will you be able to form new partnerships at trade shows, but you will also be able to peep the competition. Trade shows expose the best offerings and interesting strategies of the top brands in the industry. All of these booths will be at your disposal to garner insights that could enhance your product, exhibition strategy, and business plan. 

With some free time, walk around the venue to check out what the successful booths are doing to attract visitors. Even more useful: check out what the empty booths are doing. If people aren’t stopping by yours (should you have one), try to observe what your booths have in common. This simple strategy will teach you what pushes customers away and how you can avoid those same mistakes.

#5 Gain Access to Targeted Leads and Increase Brand Awareness

The lovely thing about trade shows is that, if you are there to sell a product, all of the prospecting leg work is done for you. Most of your potential customers and buyers will be there, just waiting to have their attention grabbed. All you have to do is take the advice laid out in item #4 and see the conversations blossom. 

Here are some tips on how best to meet clients and close sales:

  • The trade show generates an electric and action-packed atmosphere perfect for sales—try to capitalize on this mood by closing the deal right then and there. 
  • Design your trade show booth around your flagship products and services while highlighting their benefits to your target customer. 
  • If a deal doesn’t close right away, set up appointments for after the event to continue business discussions.

The act of being at a trade show is already a win. To make it even more impactful on your brand awareness, be sure to follow these guidelines:

  • Strategically place your brand name, logo, and message throughout your booth for optimized impact.
  • Take care in designing attractive graphics that engage audiences and catch the eye.
  • Choose a trade show booth location near blue-chip companies to capitalize on steady foot traffic and give off the impression that you are an industry leader.
  • Include contact and social media information so that potential customers can search you up later.

Most Popular Pharmaceutical Trade Shows of 2020

Whether you are a business hoping to set up a booth at a pharmaceutical trade show or an industry professional interested in attending one, here is a list of some of the most popular trade shows taking place in 2020.

  • Bio International ConventionKnown as “the world’s largest biotechnology partnering event,” this international trade show will feature top speakers from Microsoft, Audentes, and more to discuss topics like digital health, cell & gene therapy, leadership, and beyond. 
    • Date: June 8-11
    • Location: San Diego, CA
    • Expected attendance: 17,000+
    • Exhibitors: 8,400+
    • Number of speakers: 200+
  • EyeforpharmaThis event is one of North America’s leading biotechnology conferences in the pharmaceutical industry, bringing together professionals for outstanding discussions in pharma and medical products, innovations in curative therapies, sustainable healthcare delivery solutions, and cost optimization for personalized care. 
    • Date: April 15-16, 2020
    • Location: Philadelphia, PA
    • Expected attendance: 1200+
    • Exhibitors: 80+
    • Speakers: 150+
    • Tracks: 8 
  • DCAT WeekThis conference, organized by the Drug, Chemical & Associated Technologies Association, is one of the largest pharma business events in the world. At the 2020 event, its 94th year will be commemorated by an Annual Dinner hosted by Academy Award winner Matthew McConaughey. Important topics covered include US drug pricing changes, the implications of Brexit, China’s status in the global pharmaceutical trade, and more. Another draw: 1 in 4 attendees are C-suite executives. 
    • Date: March 23-26
    • Location: New York City
    • Expected attendance: 10,000+
    • Exhibitors: 700+
    • Countries represented: 50+
    • Just in case you forgot: Matthew… McConaughey. 

These are just three of the many biotech and pharmaceutical trade shows out there. Many have already taken place in 2020 but are just as valuable as those listed above. 

Make the Best of Your Next Trade Show

Clearly, there are many benefits of attending pharmaceutical trade shows, whether you are a manufacturer, salesperson, or any other type of pharmaceutical professional.

But before you set off on one of these thrilling and enriching conferences, here are some trade show best practices to get you off on the right foot:

    • Know What To Expect – This article already has you covered. Just for good measure, be sure to check that trade show’s website for specific expectations.
    • Prepare a Schedule Many conferences and trade shows will have interactive agenda planners on their websites that you can use to curate the ideal trade show experience for you.
    • Familiarize Yourself with Booths and Speakers Trade show websites will invariably contain a list of all booths, speakers, and workshops that you should certainly get acquainted with. Make a list of your top choices so you can take full advantage of the learning and networking opportunities available.

Are you inspired by any of these events and want to host your own? Check out Vario’s event portfolio to see how we can help you craft the perfect pharmaceutical event. With Vario’s help, you will be able to engage your audience with an efficient, highly-interactive, and memorable experience that attendees will never forget.


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