DIA continues to be the largest conference in the drug industry. Washington D.C. was a gracious host to the 2010 event.
1) I heard several attendance numbers, and the consensus was that attendance was down from 2009. Budget cuts are certainly responsible for some of the decline.
2) Session attendance was very good. Our Managing Editor tells us many of the sessions she attended were packed, and some sessions had to turn away would-be attendees. So while companies may have sent fewer people to the conference this year, the attendees took full advantage of the educational opportunities.
3) Optimism has returned after a “desperate” 2009. Last year, the motto regarding revenue was “Flat is the new up.” There were a large number of people in 2009 who didn’t know if they would have jobs from one month to the next, so quite a few conversations focused on career issues rather than business issues. 2010 had much less of a “Doom and Gloom” vibe.
4) Conversations were deeper and more forward moving this year. While economic factors still weigh heavy and many budgets remain tight, it seems as though more deals are being made now. This may indicate we’re moving out of survival mode and back into growth mode.
5) Smart companies are revving up their marketing engines to establish strong positions in their space. While doing more with less is still necessary, the need to brand your company and market products and services is more important than ever.
6) Networking and fun were as prevalent as ever. There were numerous entertaining activities after the show closed each day. From the DIA Networking Reception, to the massive Transperfect and UBC parties, group dinners, and numerous other receptions, good times were not difficult to find.
7) People are already talking about DIA 2011 in Chicago. The Windy City should once again be a magnificent host of the conference. We hope to see you all there. Until then, keep hustling.