COVID-19 happened, but that didn’t stop virtual healthcare events. They come as an alternative to the new panorama that struck the industry. The pandemic has permanently changed the way meetings and events are happening in a variety of industries.
The question is, ‘What will the future look like for many healthcare events from now on?’ Let’s have a look at the current panorama that we have before us.
Without a doubt, throughout 2020, many meetings had to take place online due to the confinement circumstances affecting all continents at a global level. The pandemic helped to boost a shift. Which, at that time, was predicted to only come by 5-7 years from 2020. The “What” of many live events had to be reconsidered, but the “how” is a question many of them are still debating.
Virtual Healthcare Events: So what’s the plan for a remote event to work?
Many companies are on board with the idea of fusing the best of virtual and online models at events. The main problem? The fact that there are still many doubts in the air:
- What will be the right extent?
- Under what circumstances should we make a live, hybrid, or simply an online event?
- Who is the audience that will play along?
The key element here is to properly plan a well-structured set of decision flows to help make the creation of a process clearer. There is a way to shape a meeting format mix that will meet the new needs of many audiences, including those involved in pharma.
Create a meeting strategy adapted to new needs for Virtual Healthcare Events
To start your plan we need a decision flow to be in place. Start by identifying key external and internal meetings and understanding their dimension. We are referring to key elements such as:
- Main objectives of the event;
- Its participation mix;
- The event’s dimension;
- If there’s a geographic scale to it;
- The duration in scheduling and days.
Next up, you need to visualize and develop some of the main guidelines for critical meeting parameters. This element will be of use for you to understand if an event makes more sense as being hybrid or online. For example, if the event has an angle more fitting for information dissemination, then a remote option would be more fitting. In case there are training or networking segments, perhaps a good option would be to make it hybrid.
Lastly, after you analyze these elements, make sure to codify them in a user-friendly decision engine. So as users can see their needs met depending on the format in which they will be participating in your event.
Refine the process to meet the growing demand for virtualization
The virtual factor is a key element in this game. In recent years it’s well known that there are policies and processes to meet the demands for in-person events. Such is the case in pharma events for years, but now new questions have arisen.
It’s still a challenge to organize hybrid meetings in this area due to a variety of doubts such as:
- Who will be responsible for not only sending the invitations but also managing on-the-ground and on-video logistics?
- Which agency or supplier will be coordinating with virtual HCP vs. in-person HCP?
- Which stakeholder will be in charge throughout the whole event?
- Will separate purchase orders be needed or will there be a way for them to be combined?
Some of the previous proceedings may still apply to the participants who go to an event in person. Yet when it comes to the online participants, there’s a need for readaptation. Through the use of elements such as automated messaging flows, chatbots, and some video tutorials you can communicate with the participants at home in real-time.
Speaking of video content, some of them can truly keep your live audience (in-person or remote) engaged. Presenting a video to share complex data will be a plus to introduce the participants to a new pharma topic in a unique style.
One more thing: make sure to have the KPIs tracked throughout the promotion, duration, and aftermath of your event. They will be an element to measure the success of the virtualization of the initiative. Not to mention the fact that they can be a guide for new possibilities in a new edition of the event.
Think of the supplier strategy and explore new tools to help you
Where does that leave the suppliers though? The good news is that they are progressively adapting to the new reality. Many agencies have the possibility of increasing virtual meeting offerings, not to mention the medical communication agencies that are turning to end-to-end solutions. When it comes to virtual tools for events, they are also rapidly enhancing a variety of capabilities.
However, before asking for a resource a supplier can provide you with to adapt to the online needs, ask yourself the following questions:
- Does my event need this element?
- Will this element make the experience more enjoyable for the virtual participants?
- What obstacles will the element help to overcome during the event?
- Will this be an element that could work in the long term?
Plan regarding future needs
For an event to be successful in more than one edition, one must always plan. As well as have a strong organizational structure. It may not seem so at first, but these changes will have implications for this very same structure.
Among some of these implications are the aforementioned supplier options, as well as the need to shift from an “efficient” event to an “agile” one. This will be possible with another element: a common leadership ready to propose and provide end-to-end meeting solutions to deliver an integrated customer experience.
Don’t let yourself stagnate when it comes to event planning, even in pharma and medical areas. Very soon you will be surpassed by those who have started to adapt for a future with virtual and hybrid meetings. The way an event adapts to the new needs will be vital in a post-pandemic world.
Hence the need and demand for you to be more and more customer-centric. This way you can find new solutions to develop a holistic framework to eventually surpass the competitors who chose to stay behind in this game.
There are more and more possibilities rising with virtual events. More and more healthcare organizations have a myriad of opportunities waiting to be unveiled and previous boundaries to be taken down. It’s a chance for both the organizers and the audiences in virtual healthcare events to evolve and experience an event in a new reality being built before us.