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Consilium share their top tips on how to prepare for the JP Morgan 33rd Annual Healthcare Conference in January 2015. More to follow soon from BIA on how to maximise the opportunities for those heading west next year.

It’s back to school and that means the JP Morgan 33rd Annual Healthcare Conference is just four months away.  Planning should have already started.  By the time you are reading this, you should have your hotel room(s) booked – make it a suite!

Not everyone will receive an invitation to present, or even attend, this event.  Don’t fret, there are plenty of other conferences in town that dove-tail off of JP Morgan and may be better suited for the smaller cap company. Conferences such as The Biotech Showcase have grown in popularity over the years and provide an excellent forum for emerging companies to tell their story.

The best way to secure a coveted invitation to the “Main Event,” however, is to start laying the ground work a year in advance by forging relationships with the appropriate bankers and analysts.  Contact them and tell you your story and be sure to update them throughout the year.  You will not get an invitation if the professionals at JP Morgan don’t know you.

Whether or not you are presenting, before you travel half-way across the world, you want to be sure time spent away from your office is maximized.  Items for your check-list:

  • Have a game plan. What are you trying to accomplish – fund raise, partner with other companies, promote your product through trade media?  Have a reason to go and then develop a plan of attack.
  • Schedule, schedule and confirm. Scheduling of meetings should start in November. (This is where the sought after suite will pay off.)  Diaries do fill up quickly as do restaurant reservations.  Begin to develop target lists of investors, analysts, bankers, VCs, reporters, potential partners, etc.  If you are not sure who the right players are, hire an investor relations or business development consultant who specialises in the sector.  Also, please realise that nothing is set in stone and up to the day of the meeting, schedules will change.  Being able to “go with the flow” is the best advice we can give.
  • Don’t forget to network. Besides arranging your own meetings, there are an abundance of soirees that take place in San Francisco that week.  In fact, more business actually gets conducted outside of the hallways of the actual conference.  Many banks, VCs and industry gurus plan cocktail parties at some very interesting venues.  It will be important to pace yourself.  Be selective and prioritise.  Priority should be given to invitations extended by current investors, potential partners and current analysts.  You will get the most out of networking at these events while showing appreciation and loyalty. There is one prestigious weekly trade publication that hosts an “invitation only” event – try to do what you can to snag an invitation – it is almost as hard as getting into the Conference itself.

When networking, be sure to have your “elevator” pitch ready.  Make eye contact and know when it is time to move on.  Always, provide your business card.  The week following the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference (also known as the “hangover”) will be spent going through those business cards.

  • Follow-up. Between all the meetings, networking and travel, people tend to be too “hung over” the Friday and Monday after the conference.  With that in mind, begin to follow-up on the Tuesday following JP Morgan.   Be sure to send information to those who requested it and email people with whom you would like to continue discussions.  If you used an investor relations or business consultant, this is their time to gather valuable feedback.  You should receive a follow-up memo within a week.

Finally, make sure your mobile is charged (and that your charger is always with you) before you start each day and have an energy bar or two on hand.  Also, don’t be afraid to block out a half-hour meeting with yourself to regroup each day!

If you would like to discuss planning for JP Morgan with Consilium Strategic Communications’ US partner Rhonda Chiger, please do not hesitate to contact us at info@consilium-comms.com