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Jumpstart Your Planning for the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference

Posted on August 13th, 2014. Posted by

JP Morgan Healthcare Conference

While most of Wall Street is focusing on second quarter earnings and squeezing in vacations before Labor Day, it’s never too early to begin preparing for the J.P. Morgan 33rd Annual Healthcare Conference in San Francisco this January, the premier healthcare investment conference of the year. If you are planning to attend but haven’t started thinking about logistics, you are already a little behind. Much of the meeting space and hotel rooms are already spoken for, so the time to start making arrangements is now.

Logistics are only part of the puzzle, however. A lot can happen at the conference, and you need to plan now for what you want to achieve — and how you can achieve it. Here, a quick look at essential questions to ask and steps to take now so you can make the most of this incredibly important conference.

What team members will attend?
As a first step, quickly figure out which management team members will attend, how many days the team will attend, and how many rooms you need.

How will you spend your time?
Keep in mind that the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference is known for the significant amount of business development meetings that occur there. A lot can happen, and you need to figure out how you plan to devote your time at the conference. Are you only going to meet with the buy-side? Most of the research analysts attend, so do you want to dedicate a day attempting to garner additional coverage? As I’ve discussed before, developing a relationship with sell-side analysts takes work but can bring real advantages. So it’s worth the effort.

Is your corporate presentation in good shape?
Many companies will use J.P. Morgan as an opportunity to utilize a refreshed corporate presentation. Whether you plan to do this work internally or with an outside investor relations (IR) firm, take steps now to make sure these resources are available and in top form. Before you know it, Thanksgiving and end-of-the-year holidays will be upon us, and there is little time after New Year’s before everyone will begin traveling to San Fran. Prepare your management team now so these efforts can begin no later than September.

Are you partnering with an IR firm?
Outside IR firms tend to get a large number of requests for presentation updates, messaging, target lists, and more in the months leading up to the conference. Line them up now, too, so they can allocate the necessary attention to your project.

What are your goals for the next 12 months?
Some companies use time at the conference to outline goals for the coming year. Start the conversation with your team now, and know what you want to achieve over the next 12 months before everyone heads off for the holidays.

Do you normally provide guidance?
If so, develop a plan for dealing with the possibility of the results not tracking, either on the upside or downside. It might be best to update guidance ahead of the conference. This can limit Reg FD risk and allow your management team to have more productive discussions in meetings.

What investors are you targeting?
Finally, it’s never too early to think about targeting. Analysts and investors begin booking meetings in early December, so you want to refine that targeting list soon. Remember to develop a targeting list that includes buy-side analysts, sell-side analysts, and other companies.

J.P. Morgan shouldn’t just be busy, it should be productive. If you need help planning for a successful conference, Westwicke can help. This year, we’ve booked an entire floor at the Prescott Hotel, located one block from the conference at 545 Post Street. Our clients are using this space to arrange investor and business development meetings. To learn more or to start a conversation about how we can help, reach out to Westwicke.

John Woolford

John Woolford is a Managing Director on Westwicke's life sciences team. He has extensive experience in investor relations, as well as IPOs, capital raises, M&A, and other business development activities. He has a BS in microbiology from the University of Maryland at College Park and an MBA from the R.H. Smith School of Business.

View full bio   |   Other posts by John Woolford, MBA

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