My last few posts were a general look at exhibiting at scientific conferences. In case you hadn’t heard, we recently released our latest report, “Conferences & Exhibits in the Life Sciences: What’s Working Now.” The bottom line appears to be that exhibits at scientific conferences and trade shows are an essential element of the marketing mix, but calculating return on investment (ROI) remains elusive for most vendors. Among the many unique elements of this report is that it compares and contrasts the perspectives of scientific customers attending conferences with the objectives and expectations of leading life science exhibitors.
My colleague Tamara Zemlo, Ph.D. laid out her objectives for this report in this way: “We created this report to address vendors’ key questions about deciding which meetings are best to attend and exhibit at, how to budget for meetings, what booth elements attract scientists, and how to ensure the best return possible.”
The report has a number of encouraging findings for scientific and lab equipment suppliers. Of the 1,000 life scientists who participated in the study, only 1% claim that they do not visit exhibit halls at scientific conferences, suggesting that, in theory, vendors have an opportunity to interact with almost all of the scientists in attendance. Additionally, 76% of the scientists surveyed report that visits to exhibit halls have influenced their purchase decisions in the past 12 months.
Tamara believes that vendors providing the right kind of information that scientists need, who allow them to physically examine products, and who answer their questions in an unhurried manner will be better able to positively influence the products and instruments they buy for their labs.
In addition, scientists and vendors were asked to identify which conference organizers have the best exhibit halls. The American Association for Cancer Research and the Society for Neuroscience were ranked tops by both scientists and vendors; however, scientists and vendors reported different opinions with regard to 3rd and 4th place exhibit halls.
While the top two choices were the same for both vendors and scientists, it’s important to note that no single entity received the majority of votes for best exhibit hall. Additionally, while write-in answers for the organizer of the best exhibit hall comprise 24% of vendors’ answers, they constitute 41% of scientists’ answers, reflecting the wide variety of conference options available to scientists.
I really believe that our clients will find this report to be an invaluable report to be a roadmap for implementing a successful exhibition strategy. In “The Scientist Perspective” section, the beliefs and attitudes of 1,000 life scientists are featured, including how they select and why they attend scientific conferences as well as their expectations for exhibit halls. This section also provides information intended to help vendors attract scientists to their exhibit booths and tips to increase lead generation. In “The Vendor Perspective” section, marketing and sales executives from life science companies share their insights on how they select conferences to attend, exhibit and sponsor. This section also describes how vendors measure their conference ROI and how the emergence of new media may affect the future of trade show exhibiting. If you’d like more information, we have a freeExecutive Summary available for download at our website.