Nothing is lost in translation thanks to video calling

How Pharma Communications Can Benefit From Virtual Meetings

Digital trends influence much of today’s marketing practices, and as they are applied to pharma communications, they can help inform robust engagement strategies.

Pharma companies should consider the benefits of incorporating virtual meetings into their HCP engagement campaigns. For one, virtual meetings can secure interaction with HCPs, especially when physician availability and access are prevailing obstacles for pharma companies today. This post will discuss how to lead virtual meetings with highly tailored content that encourages meaningful HCP engagement. Furthermore, we’ll touch on how to establish standards of clear communication and how to measure and analyze interactions from virtual meetings.

Select a facilitator to conduct virtual meetings as a strategy
The first strategy when conducting virtual meetings is to nominate a facilitator. This person can help execute a virtual meeting and ensure standards of communication are met in a larger, organizational context. But more than setting meeting objectives and establishing an agenda, the facilitator needs to be able to moderate the meeting and prompt a certain level of engagement among HCPs and pharma professionals. In order to motivate meeting participants, the facilitator should not only understand the team’s communication preferences, but also should be extremely knowledgeable on the therapeutic area or medical topic of interest. Ideally, the facilitator would also have a medical background, such as nurse, physician, or researcher.

The role of facilitator is also important to make sure everyone is contributing and communicating effectively. Because the meeting venue is virtual, recognizing the value and participation of all members is integral to the meeting’s success. If individual members seem disengaged, a facilitator may use coaching programs as a tactic. A coaching program should support interaction with separate members, be adaptable to accommodate members from physically diverse locations, and elicit constructive feedback to improve future meetings.

Fit virtual meetings with targeted messaging and quality content
Use targeted messaging and quality content to enhance virtual opportunities for contact. Virtual meetings should not only offer the type of knowledge that HCPs desire, like information on the newest medical practices, but also invite participation using interactive features such as games or collaborative tasks. They can also provide HCPs the rare platform to interact with other KOLs and ask specific questions about new products or treatments. Interactive content and open discussion forums further create an opportunity to evaluate meeting interactions and hone your approach to targeted messaging.

A virtual meeting rich in high-quality content typically encourages attendees to sign up to receive follow-up information. This presents a secondary opportunity for pharma communications teams to deliver syndicated content, share important clinical findings, and reinforce the marketing message. An email with measurable interactive content, for example a video link, can be used to further track who views the video and for how long. (According to a recent report on the consumption of digital sources by physicians, HCPs are said to spend around 3 hours a week just watching professional videos.)

Virtual meetings require clear, consistent standards of communication
The success of a virtual meeting depends on regular, clear, and timely communication by members, which should be promoted as a standard of seamless information-sharing. When members are spread throughout the world, clear communication standards are necessary to keep everyone in the loop. With a coherent set of rules, conflicts of communication can be resolved quickly in order to avoid interrupting the flow of information. In addition to advocating some sense of logistics order, consistent standards of communication ultimately help build better relationships among team members and create more quality engagement opportunities.

Measure HCP engagement by analyzing meeting participation
Another benefit of virtual meetings is the ability to evaluate and measure HCP engagement through platform metrics and by analyzing meeting notes and commentary. As mentioned, meeting hosts may further prompt attendees to continue the discussion and sign up to receive future communications. Measurable, interactive content included in these postmeeting communications can be used to help understand the interests of HCPs and other attendees. The ability to measure and analyze virtual meeting participation ultimately helps you tailor your message and gain insight into what information may be valuable to include in future meetings or workshops.

Virtual meetings not only embrace the technologic shift in marketing practices, but they also support syndicated content delivery and overall pharma communications strategies. They are much more convenient to arrange than face-to-face meetings, and are proving to be more cost-effective. Most importantly, it is thought that virtual meetings yield better HCP engagement due to scheduling convenience and accessibility to a more comprehensive well of information. With the convenience of virtual meetings, HCPs also experience improved ability and time allocation to see and treat patients.