SOURCE: Red Cedar Marketing

May 07, 2008 09:34 ET

Red Cedar Marketing to Turn Pharmaceutical/Biotech Trade Shows Inside Out

With the Increase of Foreign Doctors Visiting the Exhibit Halls at U.S. Shows, Pharmaceutical, Biotech and Medical Device Companies Need to Re-Think Their Marketing Strategy or Be Left Behind

CHELTENHAM, PA--(Marketwire - May 7, 2008) - Red Cedar Marketing, a firm that specializes in the life science trade show industry, is re-shaping the way Pharmaceutical, Biotech and Medical Device companies exhibit. Given the trends in meeting attendance and the future of communication, these companies are going to have to stop hiding behind FDA regulations as an excuse for the status quo if they want doctors to take notice.

More non-U.S. physicians are attending U.S. conferences because of the low dollar exchange rate and the high quality of education U.S. based conferences provide. According to the Healthcare Convention and Exhibitors Association 2008 Special Report on Healthcare Meeting Globalization, international attendance for 2007 was at 29 percent up from 19.9 percent in 2003. A majority of meeting organizers are saying they are seeing a higher growth rate in medical professionals in their industry faster outside the U.S. Only 14.3 percent of exhibitors are accommodating these non-U.S. attendees. This is a chance for life science companies to get a jump on building brand equity in future markets.

There is also perception in the life science industry that doctors don't value the information provided by their companies. Just the opposite is true. They want data, not spin. The delivery method and venue needs to change. In a recent presentation to the Healthcare Business Women's Association, Daniel Palestrant, MD, founder and CEO of Sermo, said their research shows that physicians are seeking information from pharma companies, but they want it on their terms. Manhattan Research analysts found 481,000 physicians report they have used or are interested in using a customer-service portal from a pharmaceutical company. This trend can transfer to the trade show floor.

Traci Browne, founder of Red Cedar Marketing, asks, "With all this research at their disposal, why are companies still insisting on having a marketing/sales booth at shows where attendees line up only to get an engraved pen? Only 10 percent of their booth space is dedicated to medical information if any. Exhibitors at these conferences need to switch that up and dedicate 90 percent of their booth to medical information staffed with physicians and scientists who can deliver the information docs want."

Having that honest dialog and exchange of appropriate, legitimate and factual information will demonstrate to physicians that your company is committed to education and support the treatment of a specific disease, not just one product. The company that incorporates this into their strategy will reap the benefit of adding the labels of honesty and service to their brand.

Will big pharma do it? "It's going to take a forward thinker and a maverick in the company to make that leap. In the near future someone will, and the rest will be left behind trying to play catch-up," says Browne.

Red Cedar provides exhibit strategy consulting with a focus on the life science industry. Their consulting services include program development for companies just entering the exhibit arena and program evaluation and re-development for companies struggling with their current program's return on investment. Red Cedar also provides services such as comprehensive booth staff training, lead processing, call for presentation submission, trade show participation evaluation and booth management.

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