David Logue, Senior Vice President of Commercial Strategy at Veeva on how to make HCP virtual events a success.
A co-ordinated strategy is critical to delivering the virtual events healthcare professionals have come to expect in their educational mix.
Appetite for online access to content is growing among healthcare professionals as digital-native healthcare professionals (HCPs) take over the workforce. Already, 78% of HCPs have shown a preference for a mix of online and physical events, according to a 2018 white paper from Ashfield Meetings & Events1.
The Rise Of The Virtual Event
HCPs have embraced virtual events as increasing demands are made on their time. The challenge of time pressures can be side-stepped using virtual events that offer HCPs and sales representatives the flexibility to network and stay informed about new product releases and scientific trends – regardless of their location. For life sciences companies, these virtual events can also reduce overhead costs, as neither travel nor a venue is required.
Sharing high-quality content produced for traditional events through virtual channels is an increasingly popular option for life sciences companies looking to reach, engage, and educate a greater proportion of HCPs. Factoring webinars and digital meetings into a customer engagement strategy can go even further to meet a customer’s needs.
Two must-have ingredients for online events are: a blend of live and on-demand online connectivity, and content optimised for online consumption.
Mix It Up
Companies need to consider the right balance of programmes, blending live, on-demand, virtual, and hybrid – in-person events with an online component – approaches. While online meetings offer the benefit of accessibility, nothing can completely replace the connection that is achieved through face-to-face meetings with industry experts, company representatives, and like-minded HCPs.
Having a range of event types enables participants to build their own schedules and cherry-pick those that suit their needs. Lowering logistical and geographical barriers between events and HCPs in this way can lead to more registrations, higher levels of satisfaction, and a better return on investment.
Optimised Content For Digital Viewing
Livestreaming alone cannot guarantee the success of virtual events. Engagement is key, particularly when attendees can drop out of your event with the mere click of a mouse. Content needs to be compelling and designed with digital viewing in mind.
Avoid small, dense text and test the appearance and colours of presentations on different devices, as these may show up differently from screen to screen. Be clear and concise to communicate the most important messages to participants. The built-in analytics offered in many online meeting applications can be a useful tool to track performance and adjust content accordingly – even in real-time – depending on what resonates with the audience.
Using virtual channels allows life sciences companies to bring digital into the core of their HCP engagement strategy.
Digital First Engagement For Digital Natives
Demand for digital engagement will increase as digital-native generations account for a growing portion of the workforce. Millennials (1981 to 1996) and Gen Z (1997 to present) are expected to account for 35% and 24% of the global workforce respectively by 20202. Despite being outnumbered, Baby Boomers (1946 to 1964) and Gen X (1965 to 1980) still constitute a large (41%) and extremely powerful proportion of the workforce, particularly in terms of decision making. Organisations need to be mindful that while many actors in the life sciences industry are digitally savvy, different levels of ‘digital dexterity’ need to be recognised and accommodated to ensure no one is left behind in the drive to digital transformation.
Elevated Content, At The Right Time, To The Right People
The pharma industry has held on to traditional outreach methods, like physical events, but is now embracing a multichannel approach. Life sciences companies are realising that there are major benefits to rolling out digital first content. Digital engagement enables sales representatives to do what they’ve always done but more efficiently and with a greater level of reporting.
The onus is on life sciences companies to provide HCPs with access to valued content in the most relevant format to suit their needs. For businesses embarking on a digital transformation journey, a simple place to start is streamlining efforts and budgets to create approved and off-the-shelf components for local content construction. This suite of materials can also be extended to include clinical papers, scientific material, or outcomes of drug treatments. It is also essential to understand the changing needs, content demands, and opportunities emerging in existing and new marketplaces. One of the most effective ways to achieve this is by giving stakeholders the ways and means to easily engage in two-way communication.
From traditional client management to future digital prospects, simplifying the customer service model and engaging with stakeholders on digital platforms will give life sciences companies an edge in an increasingly competitive environment. The result is a more collaborative, cost effective, and compliant suite of materials that can be accessed and shared with appropriate audiences through the right channels in the right format at the right time, improving the journey for every stakeholder.
- Ashfield Meetings & Events. 2018. The Science of Healthcare Professional Meetings. http://pharma-fortbildungsforum.de/index_htm_files/Whitepaper%20Ashfield.pdf
- Statista.com. Employment worldwide by 2020, by generation, viewed 9 Sept 2019. https://www.statista.com/statistics/829705/global-employment-by-generation/