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What is the future of conferencing in medicine? How to reduce costs.

Conferences not only take time but are also costly. The more critical, with the broader list of outstanding speakers, the more expensive they get.

Anyone who attends conferences knows how crucial it is to be up to date with the newest data. What is even more critical, having a chance to listen to the most influential people and their current findings in the fields we are interested. But it is not effortless.

Conferences as seen from a pharmaceutical company perspective

One of the values of conferences that are crucial for the pharmaceutical companies is to build trust among the doctors.  Achieving this goal is easier when the keynote speakers are experts and have a perfect reputation. On the other hand, thanks to an added value, and the ability to deepen doctor’s knowledge, organizers could influence the most ambitious attendants to become a keynote speaker one day.  Not to mention that during medical conferences a lot of meetings and a backstage conversation took place, which in connection with the newest knowledge and the up to date research data are the key values for this group.

Both pharmaceutical companies and the doctors are aware of the fact that in today’s digitalized world the masses are dealing the cards. With so many troubles to maintain working and affordable health care system, everyone knows that refundable medicines are the most important ones. But to be a part of this system, the drug needs to have a support from the opinion leaders, which could be built during the conference.

A lot of companies find it crucial to becoming a partner of a significant branch conference, having the proper booth and a chance to make a prelection. Especially for pharmaceutical companies, the expenses for the Continuing Medical Education (CME) are enormous. According to an annual report from the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education, companies from this sector spends more than $700 million on that goal. About half of this spending goes just for the registration fees. It is huge. There are some two-day events that cost a single company about $750 000. [1]

We are facing a situation in which the majority of company’s marketing budget goes for fees, booths, logistics, travel, hotels and so on. Not to mention providing stuff to handle the conference. What are the outcomes of the enormous financial investment? Unfortunately, in the vast number of cases, potential revenues do not offset the costs incurred. Why is that?

The needs of an attendant

Conference attendants use new technology to peak information that is most important to them. Thanks to event calendars that are present all over the Internet, they can choose the conference that matches their needs the best way. What’s more, equipped with mobile applications, participants can plan their presence on the speeches or accompanying events that suits them best without the need of attending everything the agenda contains.

Shortcuts – the new beginning

It is a significant change, like comparing the old IKEA style. Everyone knows this pattern in which clients went through the whole store until they reached the check-out. The new model, on the other hand, allows you to get to know the exact location of the product you picked before you even leave your home and finally you can use the shortcuts to get them the fastest way.

The same is with conferencing. Let say that you spend a big part of your marketing budget on the proper booth. It may not be a bad idea if it is located on the main route that most of the attendants must walk every time they go for or back from the lecture. But what if you have not so visible but still expensive place in the second or third row? Your opportunities of getting the proper attention are decreasing. It is because people, especially medical doctors, are smart enough to assume that it is your duty to get their attention. On the overcrowded marketplace, and the pharmaceutical industry is one of such, especially in the era of patent cliffs and generic medicines, doctors know that companies will do everything they could do to contact them. So the option of even seeing the pharmaceutical company booth may seem to some them not very important.

How to be remembered

In that case, you may not reach your primary goals which are entering the broad group of doors and building the healthy and impactful relationship with them. What more, due to the vast numbers of companies like your at the conference it is more than possible, that your target group will quickly forget you and your message. A pharmaceutical company could try to gain maximum attention by organizing the conference by themselves,  but in this scenario, costs will rocket through the roof. Providing top-notch lecturers is expensive. While the company needs to reach the broad range of the healthcare practitioners, focusing on the few may not be the best solution. Thanks to the new technology, there is a solution.

Virtual Congress – the solution of the 21st century

The most important results of attending the conference are being up-to-date with the newest medical research and getting to know people, which means building face-to-face relationships. With virtual conferencing pharmaceutical company could easily reach both goals or rather provide the benefits of it to doctors, attendants of the event. Seeing the world as a global village is crucial.

Let’s suppose that company would like to target doctors from the US specializing in one medical field. After the research, it cames out that there are some great scientific authorities from Argentina, France, South Africa, Japan and New Zeland. It is usually costly to have them all in one country. With the virtual conference, you don’t need to worry about the logistics and its costs. What is more, you can not only invite few most prominent doctors from around the world but the whole groups from their countries. That could be very important for your US target group.  Building a relationship with the colleagues from other nations, that in another case wouldn’t come to the conference. That is an extra benefit which doesn’t make the organization of the conference more expensive.

How does it work?

The future of conferencing is in the video messages. That is how the system works. Virtual Attendants can have access to pre-conference materials – series of videos from the lecturers that could build an image about the topic of the conference speech. Next, during the conference, they get the highlights and after it, series of recalls. It is crucial to maintaining doctor’s interest through the more extended period. It also answers the need of providing knowledge on demand. Congres attendants could access materials whenever they like.

The crucial factor which determines if the virtual congress will end up as a success is simplicity. One of the best solutions provides Highp system. It simplifies the way that video messages get to the final recipient who only needs to have a smartphone without any particular application installed. That is a cost reduction as well.

For decision makers in pharmaceutical companies marketing departments, it is a game-changing ability. Knowing their budgets, they can now spend more time and money on activities that are crucial to generating valuable leads than spending a lot on other people businesses like hotels owner, airlines, booth producers and lots more.

 

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