After the Conference: Four Fundamental Follow-Throughs

Conferences are all-important opportunities for in-person conversations with investors, partners, prospects and others. Gearing up, scheduling meetings and ensuring up-to-date materials can absorb a lot of bandwidth in advance of the conference itself. However, unless you commit to spending an equal amount of time after the conference to follow through, the time spent up front will not have the intended impact.

Here are the four fundamental follow-throughs after a conference:

Make a Record of Important Conversations. Whether this is the first meeting, or another in a continued dialogue, make a record of the conversation. The record does not need to be a one-page document a
nd in fact is best as a summary. We recommend an introductory sentence, “First-time meeting with Taylor, holds position in PeerCo.” Then one or two bullets, “Will continue to monitor OurCo, in particular interested in pipeline.” With the final bullet summarizing next steps, “Make sure to reach out for next West Coast trip.”

Follow through on Commitments. Did you promise to make an introduction? Send a scientific study? Promises are meant to be kept. Jot down all deliverables in real time to ensure follow-through upon return to the office. Once back at your desk, ensure commitments are made within a reasonable time frame. That doesn’t necessarily mean the very next day as the other conference attendees are similarly re-engaging in their day-to-day work, but within a period commensurate with the request.

Stay Connected and Monitor News. Staying connected does not always mean sending a specific follow-up. Rather, it can mean noting a future conference at which you will connect, following the company for news and/or making a social media connection through Twitter or LinkedIn as appropriate.

Capture Insights into the Event. Make sure you write down anything you wish you had known prior to the conference as well as things you would have done differently. You may think you’ll remember next year, but you won’t. Was the conference productive? Do you want to participate again next year? Maybe you missed an early bird registration and/or were shut out of a favored hotel? These are all good notes to ensure you are prepared for the following year.

Sure, the pre-conference activities are important to ensure a successful trip, but don’t take your foot off the pedal once you return to the office. Commit to spend time after the conference to optimize the value of your on-site presence.

And the Winner is…. The Value of Awards

Did you watch the Academy Awards?  Regardless, I bet you know that Moonlight (eventually) won best picture and Emma Stone won best actress.   While accepting a health science award may not offer the same red carpet experience and drama, the opportunity for recognition is one that should not be overlooked.  As such, we recommend life and health science companies take the time to identify and apply for applicable awards.

Tangible recognition.  Winning an award is a tangible recognition of a company’s expertise.  As such, awards provide independent validation of a company’s credibility and work.   While some awards are initiated by third parties, others are awards for which you can submit on your own behalf.  In either case, an award can provide credibility and visibility in a crowded marketplace. Also, winning an award can be important not just for external audiences, but also for employees, partners and investors.

The award landscape.  There are an array of honors offering different types of recognition for different work. There are awards that recognize commercial success and others that celebrate pre-clinical development work.  There are also awards that celebrate innovation or scientific advancement. While some are general health science industry awards, others focus on categories such as biotech or biopharma.  Important too, some recognize the work of a specific person such as the Chief Scientific Officer.  Some recognize emerging companies, or even companies in emerging markets while other awards recognize market leading research.

Reap the reward.  While some awards are initiated by the grantor, many more require an application by the company.  Therefore implementing a good award program – planning, preparing and applying – can be a valuable addition to your company’s strategic communications program.

Spread the word.  Once you’ve brought home the honor, don’t forget to spread the word.  This includes everything from placement of the award in a prominent location to issuing a press release and ensuring distribution across social media channels.  While you may not get to walk the red carpet, awards can offer a valuable opportunity to extend credibility, raise visibility and ultimately contribute to business success.

LaVoieHealthScience helps advance health and science innovations. We have 16 years’ experience of specialized thinking and delivering strategic communications. Contact us today to learn what we can do for you.

Can Social Media Help You Meet Your Organization’s Communication Goals?

LaVoieHealthScience joined communications pros from around the world at the IPREX Global Leadership Conference and discussed – in person – how to help our clients with digital content and social media. The top 3 social media outlets are: Linked In, Twitter and Facebook.  If you’re not using them, you may want to reconsider. Here’s how:

Get started.  Start by thinking about your target audience:  What are management’s priorities and who are they trying to reach?  Investors, advocacy organizations, customers, media, potential and existing partners as well as the general public.  Today’s world is built by fostering relationships with these target audiences, and social media can help your organization communicate with these target audiences.  Also, don’t forget to check out what your competitors are doing.

Think about each audience and what they would like to hear from you.  Asking and listening are much more important than talking.  Investors want to hear about how your development projects are coming along, what your plans are to raise more capital and whether you will meet your financial projections.  Advocacy organizations want to hear about what you are doing to support their cause and lend your expertise to further develop visibility in that particular disease area.  Customers want updates and more information about the product or technology they are buying.  Existing partners want to hear about how the product they are involved with is progressing.  Potential partners want to know about complementary expertise in their specific disease areas.  The general public wants to know how your advancements are changing the world in your particular disease area.

How can you achieve your communication goals through social media?  Let’s consider your target audiences and what you can send their way that would address their needs.  Investors might like to hear about a milestone or quarterly financial results. Advocacy organizations might want to hear about the scientific paper you are presenting at an upcoming medical/scientific meeting.  Customers might like to hear about new enhancements to an existing product although you need to keep in mind the FDA Best Practices for Internet and Social Media Promotion.  Check out our FDA Best Practices for Internet and Social Media Promotion, Part 1 and Part 2.  Existing and potential partners might like any updates about the organization and/or its products.  The general public might like to know about any medical and scientific meetings where you are presenting and any advances you are making in a particular disease area.

How can you measure your success?  It is not about quantity.  It is about quality.  Are you addressing your target audiences’ needs?  Use Google Analytics (because it’s free) to figure out whether you reached your social media goals and try to link new trends back to your social media outreach.

Digital is an essential part of everything we do today.  Take advantage of this opportunity by building a relationship with your target audience through social media today!

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