by Matt Binnington, Marketing Communications Specialist
Ever wonder what goes in to exhibiting at a major analytical science tradeshow? I’m glad you asked! Earlier this year I had the opportunity to travel to Pittcon 2018 (Feb 26–Mar 1) for my first scientific conference as a member of industry, and an exhibitor rather than as an academic. I’ll take you behind the scenes of ACD/Labs’ conference machine to give you an idea of what it’s really like to exhibit at a conference.
One major difference between meeting attendance as an industry representative versus a student is the amount of planning that goes into participation. However, whether preparation takes 1 month or 8, the first step in any successful tradeshow is getting to the correct venue. Pittcon 2018 was held in sunny Orlando, FL at the Orange County Convention Center. Here we are arriving for Day 1, or perhaps ‘landing at the Pittcon mothership’ ;)
A productive exhibition experience requires an organized, eye-catching presence, so our first job is set-up. Although it’s far more complicated than simply putting up a scientific poster, we have gotten packing and assembling our various equipment down to a science. Via effective teamwork, a bit of muscle, and a dash of elbow grease, my colleague Maria and I transitioned from “organized chaos” to exhibition-ready booth in no time at all.
Another important aspect of tradeshow success is the ability to stay flexible. Logistical snags, organizational mix-ups, and unexpected issues are going to crop up, and it’s important to remain patient and keep things in perspective! For example, our first Pittcon 2018 snafu arose when I was unable to track down our printed booth documents that had been sent ahead to the convention center. These materials are key, as they help us to explain how our software tools address the challenges scientists regularly face. Thankfully cooler heads prevailed and we eventually found the boxes, alongside the source of the problem; flyers intended for “Robert Hoffmann or Matt Binnington” were hilariously mislabeled.
Our home at any tradeshow is the exhibition booth, and once the meeting has started it’s showtime! Here we have Arvin and Mary available to introduce attendees to our company and products, answer any questions, provide more information on our solutions, and reconnect with current customers. As a recent graduate, it was especially fulfilling to chat with students who didn’t previously know of our software solutions—I know how much they would have helped during my PhD! We always list our exhibition booth number on our events webpage, so the next time you’re at a tradeshow you’ll know where to find us.
Pittcon is one of the largest conferences we participate in annually, and this year was no exception. Over 11, 000 people attended the meeting, and a stroll throughout the exhibition hall demonstrated the size of the show: hundreds of booths that covered a wide range of analytical science products. It was meaningful to be part of a collective that demonstrates the breadth of ways that scientists can save time and effort on routine analyses – in our case, automating data processing and interpretation tasks, for example. Some booths even featured replica Back to the Future props—unfortunately I had to explain to Arvin that this DeLorean was not in fact a working time machine ;)
This year at Pittcon we were promoting Luminata™, our enterprise software for the efficient and comprehensive management of impurity data. As our show focus, we presented a platform session and a live demo to introduce the power of Luminata to scientists that work in pharmaceutical development. We were excited about the amount of interest this generated and the number of conversations we had with scientists as a result. It’s always satisfying to introduce new functionality to current and prospective customers to show how they can get more out of their data. Here we have Arvin promoting the live demo with a postcard,and later getting ready to launch the session at the Demo Zone.
You never know who you’re going to meet at a major tradeshow, and even more so when your exhibiting right next door to Universal Studios! This year we were lucky to run into Dr. Pete Conn again as he toured the hall, and even got a photo with two of the Minions—thankfully they kept the hilarious hijinks to a minimum this year.
Also, in speaking with the Minions I was bit surprised to learn they struggle with the same challenges as many scientists we spoke to at Pittcon: consolidating experimental measurements from multiple sources, interpreting analytical data efficiently and efficiently, and leveraging the intelligence gained from analyses to make informed decisions. I tried to explain to the Minions all the ways ACD/Labs could help them solve these problems, but unfortunately their attention spans were cartoonishly short.
After a long day, nothing beats a relaxing meal together with the team. It’s a chance to catch up, debrief, and plan for the next day’s events. And hopefully the chance to try something new and delicious—at ACD/Labs we fondue, do you?
After four eventful days at Pittcon 2018 it was time to say “Later Alligator” to another successful conference. Keep an eye on our events page to find out where we’ll be next, and make sure to say hi the next time we’re at the same show. Who knows, you may just end up in our next conference photoessay ;)
Until next time,