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This article was prepared for the July 11, 2001 edition of U.S. 1
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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
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.
Here are some of the tips she will give:
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 www.genomics-bioinformatics.com
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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