August 22, 2018

A steady stream of new and improved webinar and videoconferencing technology has given Life Sciences companies a powerful new tool for engaging with HCPs.  Although these technological advancements have not lead to a decline in face-to-face promotional educational programs—as the personal connection at meetings is of the utmost value—when used correctly, virtual programs can maximize investments in KOL relationship-building.

A 7% increase in virtual programming over the past year (among AHM’s diverse client base) makes it clear that Life Sciences companies are utilizing their Speaker Bureau resources to enhance the reach and the value of their educational programming.

Life Sciences companies have a number of ways they can incorporate virtual meetings into their program mix. The advantage of having an end-to-end solution that incorporates both turnkey Strategic Meetings Management for face-to-face and virtual programming, is that virtual events can be overlaid on an existing program. This does away with ROI-eroding redundancy or other inefficiencies, leveraging economies of scale while remaining within a compliance-centered framework.

Virtual programming can enhance a client’s HCP knowledge-base in a number of ways, depending on how the programs themselves are structured. A flexible framework allows initiation from reps or from marketing, and each of these programs are managed differently:

  • Rep-initiated programs are managed locally, with local speakers and sales representatives participating. This type of programming can be a good solution when representatives have significant territory to cover and face logistical or geographic challenges gathering their HCP base in a centralized location.
  • Regional-initiated programs, which are overseen by managers or directors with a larger geographic scope, use higher-level regional speakers and out-of-office venues. Having HCPs gather at a single location helps achieve economies of scale and offers a value-added benefit of networking among the HCP audience.
  • Marketing-initiated virtual programs tend to be national in scope and more extensive in duration—say, a set series of programs with a longer duration. The greater footprint of these programs not only offers the opportunity for economies of scale, but also consolidates the administrative and managerial functions at the national marketing level, freeing up the human capital of the sales representatives who oversee lower-level virtual programs. These programs are often deployed for more intensive educational needs, such as new product launches or significant updates about the client’s or a competitor’s therapeutic offerings.

Programs can be live-broadcast or web-based. Web-based programming has the flexibility of allowing for remote attendance, both on the part of attendees as well as the speakers. Web-based programming also can be conducted at an out-of-office venue. The greater scope of live-broadcast programming, during which the speaker is in a studio setting and content is disseminated to multiple HCP groups, is almost always conducted via out-of-office venues.

There is no one type of meeting or engagement that will fit every client, or every educational need, for that matter. But with an end-to-end system for disseminating this kind of information in a manner that is accessible for HCPs and simple for speakers and other KOLs, Life Sciences companies will ensure that their compliance-centric messaging is reaching all of the right people.


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 Stragetic 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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