Gone are the days when you could pop up a tradeshow booth, hand out cheap tchotchkes and reel in the leads. The competition is too stiff and you don’t have a one-dimensional audience. If you are looking for quality over quantity, rethink the fish bowl raffle and create an experience that will make people stop and take notice.

The best tradeshow marketing strategies we’ve seen provide a balance of entertainment and information in a way that aligns with your brand and tells a story. And consider letting the attendees solve a challenge or contribute to the conversation. That said, we still expect your bowl of candy and mints!

VIRTUAL CONFERENCES

Trending up the last few years has been virtual life science events, such as the series put on by LabRoots. While many are skeptical at first, virtual conferences have shown to be a great way to generate a lot of new leads at a fraction of the cost of in-person conferences and trade shows. You’ll be surprised at the quality of the content being presented and the numbers of people participating.

CUSTOM EVENTS

Why pay big bucks for a tradeshow booth when you can run the show? User group meetings, technology symposia and many other events can be an excellent way to get some quality time with your customers and prospects. Set an agenda that offers value to your audience and watch the registrations come in. Then record or broadcast the sessions to share with those who couldn’t attend through apps like Periscope.

REGIONAL EVENTS

Annual meetings are great at getting an international audience together, but sometimes it’s more valuable or cost-effective to sponsor smaller events held in key hot beds for your target. It also gives your sales team an opportunity to better engage their audience whether it is regional or institution-specific.

GO MOBILE

Some companies are even taking the show on the road…literally. Outfit an RV or Sprinter van as a mobile demo unit that you can take from prospect to prospect to show off your innovative technology in a fresh new way. Or just hire a food truck to reskin with your creative and park outside of a convention center during a big life science event.

BE CONTENT

Make sure to have something for prospects in each stage of the buyer’s journey. Attendees could just be becoming familiar with your brand, constructing a perception, assessing your strengths and weaknesses or wanting to wave your flag.

BE A SOCIAL BUTTERFLY

Don’t wait for the expo floor to open to make contact. Pre-show marketing for trade shows is a great way to drive booth traffic. And don’t be bashful on social media, particularly with engaging the trade show organizer who would love to see you using their hashtag and may even help boost your post. Social media is a two-way street, so take a minute to observe the conversation and dialogue, not just talk.

BE LIKE YOUR AUDIENCE AND EXPERIMENT

The fun thing about marketing is that there is no single right or wrong method. But we’ve all seen some campaigns go viral while others bomb. Use tradeshow marketing and life science events as a way to try on new ideas and learn from the market. There are a lot of new opportunities to explore, so give it a go and wow us all!

This excerpt is adapted from Chapter 8 of our Life Science Marketing Field Guide. Ready for more? Get access to the full Field Guide below.

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