October 17, 2018

Technological advances mean that virtual meetings are cheaper than ever to execute, and their sophistication has improved to the point that you can see and hear people half a world away as clearly as if they were in the room with you. This progress has benefited the Life Sciences industry, giving educational programming managers the freedom to be more flexible in their scheduling and opening up the opportunity to offer a truly omnichannel experience to participating HCPs.

But these advances don’t diminish the importance of face-to-face meetings. On the contrary, creating opportunities for professionals to network without a pair of screens between them is one of the key selling points program organizers can tout today, according to experts.

Although millennials are stereotyped as a tech-obsessed generation, this population also craves real-life interaction and is driving the resurgence of appreciation for real-life interactions. In an increasingly digital world, Life Sciences companies have the opportunity to deliver just that to them. Opportunities for building networks, establishing mentoring relationships and deepening knowledge are enhanced when people are in the same room together, according to a recent article for Meeting Professionals International highlighting the results of a report written by meetings technology consultant Corbin Ball.

“Meetings…take people to a more focused environment with fewer distractions,” Ball’s report says. “The opportunities for networking, brainstorming and relationship building are usually far greater at face-to-face events than online.” In the context of a compliance-centric promotional education protocol, facilitating the development of these deeper bonds enhances the value for the HCPs who are taking time out of their increasingly busy schedules to learn about new therapeutic opportunities.

There are other benefits as well. Ball’s report points out that face-to-face events give organizers “a goldmine of data detailing attendee preferences, interests, movements and interactions.” As more robust analytics tools give organizers more visibility into how that data can be deployed to achieve best practices, the value of that captured information will only increase.

“These data can help meeting planners make mid-course corrections on existing events and improve future ones,” Ball says. “They can provide attendees with a much richer and more personalized experience.”

Providing the best and most relevant information for HCPs to utilize in their practice is the goal of Life Sciences promotional educational programming, and even in an undeniably digital age, it’s those face-to-face connections that form the backbone of the richest educational programs.

Contributed by:

Matthew Derner, Global Director, Strategic Meetings Management, AHM

Matthew joined AHM in 2016 and has 18 years of Life Sciences experience. He leads AHM’s Strategic Meetings Management (SMM) Department and is responsible for engaging current and prospective clients about our SMM compliant meeting solutions across their organizations. Matthew also leads a team of Event Managers & Coordinators that are responsible for the planning and execution of any meeting type outside of Speaker Bureau. Prior to joining AHM, Matthew has worked for Pharmaceutical Companies as well meeting planning agencies in various roles.

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