We’re seeing some interesting results for our poll regarding how frequently tech transfer offices (TTOs) attend industry conferences and events to market their technologies or partnership opportunities. As you can see in the chart, nearly three-quarters of all respondents use trade shows minimally or not at all.
These responses are not surprising. Attending industry conferences and trade shows is an expensive way to do tech transfer marketing, regardless of whether you have a booth in the exhibit hall. Even if they are local events, which eliminate the travel and hotel costs, there’s the registration fees and, more importantly, the time that the marketing leads spend at shows—time that they can’t be negotiating a deal or marketing another tech in their portfolio of active projects.
So you really want to be sure that the effort and cost will be worth it when it comes to trade show marketing. How? Ask yourself these questions:
- One fell swoop: What proportion of my prospects are likely to be at this show?
- Seeing is believing: Is the value of this technology more easily recognized and more fully appreciated if the prospects can see and touch it?
- Maximizing the impact: Are there multiple technologies or collaborative R&D opportunities that I can pitch to them?
- Not wasting time: Will this be a good show for discussing tech transfer with these prospects and will the right decision makers from their organization be at this conference?
My recent experiences at the 2011 AdvaMed conference as part of my work for AUTM® give a good example of the value of industry conferences. The goal was to connect universities and industry for tech transfer by talking up the value of working with AUTM members as well as university technologies that can bring new opportunities to their business. I was able to have one-on-one meetings with eight medical device companies and chatted with dozens of company reps who stopped by the AUTM booth. (That’s me in the calm before the storm. ☺)
So what about you? How do you decide whether to go to an industry/trade show to market your technologies? If you attended more than half-a-dozen shows last year, how did that work out for you? If you attended none, was it primarily an economic decision, or was there another reason your TTO chose not to market at any trade shows? Share your experiences by leaving a comment below or by sending me a private message via our Contact Us page.
Thanks to everyone who took our poll. The new poll will launch later this week.