The 68th AACC  had over 750 exhibitors displaying the latest diagnostic technology and advances in medical testing . The show ran for 5 days consisting of guest speakers, networking opportunities and conferences for the 20,000 attendees. Please see the below blog about Tim’s experience at the AACC:

Tim Bernard shares his experience at the exhibition via an interview with Kristie Brown, Marketing Assistant at Pivotal Scientific

1. Tim, run us through a typical day at the AACC

Typically my day would start with an 8am breakfast meeting in my hotel – One of them was with  Rockland Immunochemicals – It was a perfect opportunity to catch up and discuss new projects. Then I head to the exhibition where I spend the whole day. My base at this year’s AACC was on the Innova Bioscience booth; I held all my meetings there. I had pre-arranged 90% of my meetings well before the show and hold these on the hour nearly every hour, leaving some free time available to fit in impromptu meetings.  If I have any free time I’ll to go for a wander, check out the company stands, observe new technologies and introduce myself to potential clients.

After spending the day at the exhibition I’d normally invite clients to an informal dinner meeting, in a relaxed environment that would encourage in-depth discussions. It’s always fun to venture out of the hotel and try different cuisine; One evening myself and Innova Biosciences (PSL Alliance member) went to a very nice Greek restaurant called Estia which serves delicious yet reasonable priced food.

I tend not to have lunch as I find time is more profitably spent speaking to clients and new customers; not to mention having breakfast, lunch AND dinner would wreak havoc with my waistline!

2. What was most beneficial about attending the AACC meeting?

With the new technologies on display and lots of people representing distributors, manufacturers and consultants like myself, there were many opportunities for networking – all of which provided a very positive vibe to the meeting.

3. Was the show well organised?

Yes, overall I think the AACC did a good job managing all of the exhibitors and attendees. The AACC is held within a massive hall which can take 15 minutes to walk through. Most of the meetings are held on a booth but sometimes you arrange a meeting point  and from there find a convenient place to sit and talk. This proved a little tricky at the AACC so I would advise finding a place where you can have a private conversation early on and preferably outside the conference hall.

On the subject of meetings, due to the physical size of the show I would recommend you pre-arrange meetings every hour rather than every half an hour as the latter is too short. By giving an hour for each meeting you will allow yourself time to get a cup of coffee and walk to your next meeting. My top tip – try to arrange meetings with companies that have booths next to each other if you can otherwise you might be in for a lot of walking!

4. Who usually attends the AACC?

The AACC has a lot of academics attending.  They spend their time listening to technical lectures and then walking around the exhibitions to get an insight into new technical developments.

It is these academics who attract the exhibitors which are usually manufacturing companies of life science products who want to display their products to end users while also gaining business to business opportunities.   It also gives them a chance to meet the end users face to face.

You’ll also find a lot of distributors attending to meet up with their suppliers, consultants who come along to catch up with their customers and other biotech companies who want to see what’s happening in the industry.

I go to gain business to business connections with other biotech companies and distributors. The AACC is a very good meeting to facilitate networking and it’s not too expensive.

5. Who would you recommend attends the AACC?

The AACC not only has companies selling products but also selling services as well so there is a good mixture.  I would say the AACC is not a key event for research reagent companies to exhibit at but it is an event where they can make connections with other companies.

6. Why did Pivotal Scientific Limited not exhibit at the AACC?

I feel the AACC is too broad for us. We are within the research regent market and there are too many diagnostic and clinical companies who attend the AACC which are not our target audience. The research reagent companies which were there this year were corporations like Primerdesign, Medix Biochemica and Innova Biosciences.

7. Are you planning to attend the next AACC meeting?

Yes, I believe the next AACC is in San Diego so I am planning on attending. One of the deciding factors for me is that the AACC meeting must be in an attractive city that people will want to visit ensuring that there will be a high turnout and great networking opportunities. If the meeting were in an awkward location I wouldn’t go as the number of attendees would be fewer. Furthermore there are a lot of research reagent companies based in San Diego so I add extra value to my trip by visiting other companies at the same time.

8. Finally, are there any other tips you could share for those planning on attending next year’s AACC?

First and foremost: pre-meeting preparation is key. By pre-arranging important meetings and taking an agenda along with you allows yourself and the people you are meeting to get the most out of your time together. These shows are very busy and you may have several meetings within a short space of time so it is easy to get information overload.  You have spent considerable money and time attending the show so you do not want to find you only manage to exchange pleasantries with people and don’t maximise your time and theirs.

Regarding the dinner meetings I find the restaurants around the AACC always become very busy so make reservations a while before you attend then you won’t find yourself desperately searching for somewhere to eat at the last minute!