Through a single Internet connection, life science marketers can now connect with thousands of customers around the world, engaging their audience through LinkedIn, banner ads, blog posts and more. It’s safe to say that our scope for communication has grown significantly, but despite all the advances many of the old-fashioned approaches remains the most compelling. We’re talking face-to-face interaction; having your team show up in person.

Whether it’s an intimate panel discussion or a large industry conference, marketers need to anticipate where their audience will be, to position their key opinion leaders (KOLs) front and center. In practice, there are plenty of event calendars to keep you up-to-date, but how do you determine the best company representative? Below we share some tips for science-star searching, within your life science team, or in your broader science field.

Before we tackle the technicalities, a word of warning: Be prepared. The largest life science event BIO just released their call for next year’s speakers, a full 9 months before the actual event. Ideally you’ll be working one year in advance.

What defines you as a life science company?

Before you begin searching for your perfect speaker, think about the culture of your company, your audience, and how you want to be received at any given event.

Know your audience. The most common mistake science speakers make is talking disproportionately about their products and services. Don’t start the search by looking for a brand manager or product expert per se. Look for a KOL that’s in tune with the problems and challenges of the audience. He/she can speak to them, not at them, and provide true value with their talk.
Know your content. What unique insight does your company and speaker have? Why should they give their time, what take-away messages will you have?
Who can get the job done? Do you want your speaker to be a well-known scientist or a great presenter? Unfortunately, some famous names become famous for putting an audience to sleep! If you have an established scientist it’s great to use that klout, but consider supporting his presentation deck and preparation to get the best result. Alternatively, rope in some charismatic speakers if you want to example your company’s customer service expertise and relatability.
Strike a balance. If you are looking to fill the whole panel of speakers, make sure you have a good balance of science and entertainment. Again, think about your audience; people are going to spend their time trying to follow the presentations. How can you make the panel both educational and enjoyable?

Speaker recruitment

With this brief in mind, it’s time to recruit the very best speaker. Below we’ve compiled some top tips that will help you make the decision:

Start with networking. Ask your colleagues, friends, and people you know in your field if they can recommend someone.
Google is your best friend. Track some of the latest publications in your field, perhaps on Google Scholar, or see if there is a fresh list of “the most influential people” in your industry.
Research on ResearchGate. Often overlooked, this is a great site for networking and engaging very specifically with science thought-leaders.
Do some market research. Check if there are professional conferences in your area and sit in on some of those sessions. You’ll soon get an ear for the good and the bad presenter traits.
Explore speaker bureaus. This route relies on a significant marketing budget, but the option is there to work with speakers bureaus. There are plenty you can find online that specialize in life science.
Scroll through TEDx speakers. For the cream of the crop, TEDx is a great database. Narrow down a good outside speaker for your event, or bookmark some examples to empower your own company presenters.

While it may seem overwhelming trying to network with many people, watch hours of TED talks, read many articles and google a number of speakers bureaus, it’s worth it to build a solid list of speaking candidates. A winning presentation will influence your audience on a deep, deep level. Particularly outstanding talks can even be videoed, to live forever on YouTube or your company blog.

With your database intact, the next step is to start sending emails, checking presenters’ availability and speaking requirements. And at last, after some days/weeks of writing and negotiating, you will have your perfect speaker ready to present at your event.

The whole process is logical and easy to follow, but starting from scratch is highly time-consuming. If you need help, tag Chempetitive Group in. We’ve got the connections and decades of combined experience in the life sciences marketing space. Heck – some of us even give talks ourselves!