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Tips of the Trade Show

A snazzy four-color-on-black brochure announces a

biotech symposium scheduled for October at the Doral Forrestal, and

it is being staged by an apparently brand-new organization, the


Technology Institute."

Princeton Technology Institute or PTI turns out to be an arm of the

world famous Hannover Fairs, which stages some of the world’s


expositions, including CEBIT, the world’s largest information


trade show. With an American office at the Carnegie Center, Hannover

Fairs has a new initiative — to stage this PTI symposium on


Genomics in Pharmaceutical Design" in conjunction with the Rutgers

Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine (CABM). "We find

there is so much going in the research area and would like to


in tying that together with what is happening in the industry. We

hope it is a wonderful opportunity for the two worlds," says


Petersen, the vice president for business development in North

America for Hannover Fairs USA.

Petersen has also been scheduled to speak on "how to make trade

shows work for you" at a workshop sponsored by the Princeton


on Wednesday, July 18, at 7:30 a.m. at the Nassau Inn. Cost: $21.

Call 609-520-1776.

Here are some of the tips she will give:

1. Do preshow promotion: show the location on your


do promotion to the press, issue specific invitations to the customers

that you may have, and get listings in the catalog, so you get as

much visibility as possible.

2. Assign at least two people to staff the booth, and

three is better. One person should be walking around talking to other

exhibitors and making contacts.

3. Stand in front of the booth, don’t be just sitting

in the chair, she cautions. "You may have literature that you

try to hand to people. Or ask them questions about what they are



The PTI/CABM symposium will offer lectures, exhibits and product

presentations, and scientific poster presentations, and it is expected

to attract from 200 to 400 people from leading companies in the


CABM does research in proteomics, genomics, bioinformatics, and NMR

spectroscopy, and one of the symposium’s financial sponsors is the

New Jersey Commission on Science and Technology.

"All our speakers are at a very high level," says Petersen,

citing Edward Arnold, Helen Berman, Ron Levy, and Gaetano

Montelione, all of Rutgers, Martin Rosenberg of


and David Waugh of the National Cancer Institute. Also scheduled

are Cyrus Chothia of Cambridge University, Mark Gerstein

of Yale, Marc Vidal of Harvard Medical School, Andrzej


of the Argonne National Laboratory, Stephen Burley of


University, and Ming-Ming Zhou of the Mount Sinai School of


CABM had staged its own annual seminars for 14 years, but they were

much smaller. "PTI’s conference is mostly academic with a small

commercial component," says Petersen. "We are making sure

that New Jersey’s biotech industry has a presence at the show."

Sponsorships run from $1,500 to $10,000, and to put up a tabletop

display will cost $995 including one person’s entry fee. Poster


if they meet with CABM’s academic approval, will be free. Scholars

can attend for $250 ($125 for students) and industry delegates pay

$495. For information call 609-987-0586, E-mail:,

or go to

Petersen comes from a long line of Danish physicians; her father is

a professor of radiology. After earning a bachelor’s degree from the

University of Copenhagen, Class of 1982, and a master’s from the


of London, she worked in Denmark for Hannover Fairs and came to the

U.S.A. 13 years ago. She and her husband, an international business

strategist who also has an office at the Carnegie Center, have two

teenage children. "We are bringing up our children to speak and

understand Danish, and to love the Danish heritage," says


Until last year Petersen worked with American exhibitors at CEBIT.

but forming Princeton Technical Institute is her current project.

"Our focus is to make an event, whether small or large, successful

for the participants, from start to finish, and to give sufficient

value for their money," says Petersen. Logistical aspects are

just a small part of that, she says.

Hannover Fairs clients pay $8,500 for a standard 10 x 10 booth in

the American pavilion at CEBIT. This is a turnkey package including

setup, furniture, lighting, signage, telephone, and use of the


facilities. Additional expenses might be $500 to $1,500 to ship


and literaature and $4,000 to $5,000 for three plain tickts plus


— often in private homes, opened just for the CEBIT fair. Other

extras are translators ($200 per day, also available by the hour),

Internet connections, and computer rental.

"The personal attention that we try to give is key, whether we

are in Germany or Australia." Good personal service requires


representatives to travel to the fairs with their clients. "We

are on the road a lot, to service our American customers," she

says, "so they have a contact person to help them out, whether

with translations or logistical."

Hannover Fairs personnel try to help their clients


these long-term relationships by making advance appointments for them.

"In the long term, PTI will be like that," says Petersen,

"making appointments in advance and allowing time for personal


"To the extent we can, we introduce clients to new business


she says, but she points out that European and American trade shows

vary widely in their networking schedules. Comdex in Las Vegas, for

instance, is the biggest computer show in the United States, and it

is full of crowds, booths, and hype. The emphasis at CEBIT, Petersen

says, is on actually doing business. Some exhibitors have their own

conference rooms and lounge space. "You can sit down with the

manufacturer and the service provider and go into detailed discussions

about contracts and distributors. And build relationships. CEBIT is

definitely a place to start to build relationships."

Petersen is accustomed to solving unusual problems at odd hours.


year, when we were at the fairground working all night to get ready

for a show, one of our customers showed up with four of his


They had not found any accommodations and asked for our help. Luckily

our director of housing services was still there, and an hour later,

at 3 o’clock in the morning they were able to check into a hotel."

Another exhibitor asked for references to good obstetricians. She

was eight months pregnant, but fortunately did not have to use those

numbers. Other customers have sought help for lost passports or


Sometimes the need goes way beyond the call of duty. Petersen


a CEBIT incident when an exhibitor got sick and went into the German

hospital. "She ran into various insurance problems and was in

and out of the hospital three times during the event. We helped out

a tremendous amount, by paying the deposit for her to be admitted

and making sure she got the X-rays she needed. And that she got onto

the plane after the show." That person left her job, but her


came back to the show the following year.

Says Petersen: "We have days that start at 7 and we are not back

until midnight, and then we are lucky. It is not that we count the

hours — we all know that part of the job is long working hours.

It is so much fun at the same time. You get to see the same customers

year after year, and renewing old friendships is affirming."

Princeton Technology Institute, 103 Carnegie


Princeton 08540. Mette Petersen. 609-987-0586.

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