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Countdown to BIO 2021:
A marketing survival guide

Welcome to our BIO Countdown Calendar. Our biotechnology and life sciences marketing agency has helped dozens of companies succeed at the industry’s preeminent trade shows, including BIO. Follow this month-by-month guide to ensure your team is prepared for the big event.

The countdown to BIO 2021 (June 14-17) is on:

13 months out: Planning for the future TODAY

When it comes to your industry’s biggest trade shows, don’t leave booth position to chance. Successful exhibitors and attendees think 13 months in advance to secure the best booth spaces and plan show-stopping campaigns.

  • Determine WHY and IF you want to exhibit at BIO. Establish evaluation criteria you can use at the current show to quickly decide if you want to reserve a booth space for the following year.
  • Prepare a show budget for the FOLLOWING year.

12 months out: Rinse, repeat, SUCCEED

As crazy as it sounds, you have to start thinking about next year’s show while you’re in the throes of this year’s event.

  • Reserve next year’s floor space from the current show if exhibiting next year supports your strategic plan. This will improve your chances of securing the most in-demand floor space. Watch the traffic patterns at the show to understand where you’ll get the most visibility.
  • As soon you are back from BIO, set high-level lead generation and brand recognition goals with the sales team for next year.
  • Debrief with the sales team on the show, get your new contacts into your CRM, and strategize to effectively follow up with hot leads.

11 months out: Get your $@&%! together

  • Devise an integrated marketing plan.
  • Select a theme and brand positioning for the show. You can use the same theme for all of your shows in the coming year, if it makes sense.
  • Reach out to possible co-presenters. A client or customer will usually boost your chances of being selected to present. Sessions that encourage audience interaction are also favored.

10 months out: Prepare to shine like a superstar

  • Submit speaking proposals if you are interested in speaking.
  • BIO has several speaking and presenting opportunities for companies of all sizes. Calls for speakers usually open up about 9 to 10 months ahead of the show.
  • Cleanse your in-house email and direct mail contact lists.
  • Book after-show party venues and hotel concierge suites.

9 months out: Being prepared is half the battle

8 months out: Prepare for the future TODAY

  • Select a booth exhibit vendor and design agency.
  • Secure advertising campaigns.
  • Secure sponsorships.

7 months out: A GOAL without a PLAN is just a WISH

  • Select primary vendors (exhibit house, transportation company, installation/dismantle supplier).
  • Plan advertising campaigns.
  • Decide if you need a new exhibit. If so, begin the design process if your booth size is larger than 10’ x 20’.

6 months out: Cleanliness is next to Godliness

  • Cleanse and update your media contact list. Don’t forget about influential bloggers.
  • Plan your booth draw campaigns. Get advertising contracts in place.
  • Decide on your lead collection method.

5 months out: Aim for higher standards

4 months out: It’s the journey that matters in the end

3 months out: The excitement of possibilities

  • Begin booth draw email campaigns. Give away great content before asking folks to stop by your booth.
  • Send direct marketing (postal) pieces.
  • Print collateral.
  • Approve your booth design.

2 months out: The finish line is in sight

  • Schedule personal demos/meetings with prospects. An “Ask the Experts” session attended by your current clients and their peers is very effective.
  • Schedule meetings with existing customers. 
  • Brief the sales reps and other show personnel on messaging, roles, etc.
  • Keep up social media visibility daily!
  • Distribute press releases regarding speakers, special events, etc.
  • Make lunch and dinner reservations for meetings.

1 month out: Expect the best. Prepare for the worst.

  • Pack a trade show emergency kit. Some simple things like aspirin, bandages, and duct tape can save the day and make you a show hero.
  • Schedule meetings with editors, journalists, bloggers, and analysts.
  • Prepare media kits.
  • Ship collateral, kits, etc. to show storage.
  • Distribute briefing packet, including training materials, to all booth staffers.
  • Finalize show booth/hospitality suite staffing plan.
  • Create a back-up plan in case the event is canceled or your team is unable to attend
  • See “13 months out” list above to start preparing for NEXT year!

1 week out: The final stretch

  • Confirm meeting times and dates with prospects, customers, media, and analysts.
  • Confirm shipments and receipt with your logistics vendor.
  • Hold pre-show briefing meeting with staff.
  • Rest up!

At BIO: There’s no business like SHOW business

  • Check with freight upon arrival to make sure everything has arrived intact. Contact your booth vendor ASAP if there are any issues.
  • Send meeting reminders to confirmed booth visitors.
  • Tweet and blog LIVE from the show floor. Make it interesting and personal.
  • Collect leads.
  • SMILE!  No one wants to enter the booth of a grumpy Gus or Gina. Thank visitors for stopping by.

Post-BIO: Don’t let exhaustion win

  • Send follow up emails and thank you notes.
  • Place booth visitors who are not ready to buy into nurture workflows.

Need biotech event marketing help?

Our biotechnology marketing agency knows all the ins-and-outs of trade shows and can help you succeed no matter your experience level. If you want to rock BIO or your next life sciences event, get in touch with us.

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