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The Importance of Pre- and Post-Event Engagement Strategies Developed Around Pharma Conferences

The new rules of engagement in pharma have been established on the basis of the fact that there are fewer in-person connections. These rare interactions should be fortified using pre- and post-event engagement strategies developed around pharma conferences. With 2 major conferences around the corner, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO), the time is ripe to reevaluate your current engagement strategies. A lot of effort and money will be spent to inform oncologists of the new products and emerging therapies that pharma companies are touting, but partnering with a medical communications agency can help you focus your resources and engage more effectively.

Cross-channel marketing efforts can certainly disseminate information quickly; however, many physicians feel bombarded with messaging even if they demonstrate preferences for certain digital channels. That said, it’s time to go back to the fundamentals of pharma marketing. You should look at these big oncology conferences as a central opportunity to start engaging with your target audience before the event begins, and continue engaging them after. Following the pre- and post-event engagement strategies discussed in this post will ultimately result in a higher return on investment.

HCP Engagement in the Era of Accelerated Approvals
Consider the sheer amount of information on new therapies and disease insights that pharma companies wish to disseminate and share among healthcare providers (HCPs)—and this in addition to all the other professional pharma voices flooding the market. So how do you stand out, and how do you get your exclusive information in the hands of HCPs? Another problem with a record number of new drugs and treatments available in the healthcare space is how to keep HCPs from projecting their concerns about quality, safety, and efficacy that stem from a saturated market onto your products?

More than ever, HCPs will rely on experience and access to newly published clinical data in the pharma future of accelerated approvals. Educating HCPs will be a new priority for pharma marketers; this trend has a place among digital strategies, but traditional engagement approaches may be seen as even more effective. While online platforms have boosted physicians’ access to self-learning tools, and enabled the availability of valuable content in the click of a mouse, there is a point where brand engagement tactics should be delivered in a targeted, more personal manner.

Traditional Engagement Opportunities Go Hand-in-Hand With Pharma Conferences
A major pharma conference marks an incredible opportunity for pharma companies to manage engagement using a more traditional, systematic approach. HCPs have less time overall, between seeing more patients, navigating paperwork, researching new treatments, and accessing valuable medical information. In fact, their ability to do the latter is often undermined by outside time constraints or being overburdened by marketers vying for attention. While most of a physician’s time spent learning about what’s new in the industry is after-hours, a medical conference is an exclusive event that many HCPs look forward to, immersing themselves in a specialized and tailored experience.

Many HCPs know going into a conference that they will benefit from being open to engagement opportunities that offer them value. In order to assure any kind of in-person commitment, pre-conference engagement tactics should impress on HCPs the value of a potential interaction. Beyond promoting the exclusive content that your company can provide, the main point of engaging with HCPs early (as well as following up with HCPs during and after the conference) is to establish memorable interactions, which requires multiple touch points and builds trust.

Best Ways to Engage HCPs Around a Pharma Conference
Understanding what physicians want is important in engaging them effectively. A meaningful engagement experience should provide HCPs with educational information that helps inform their practice or aids them in clinical decision-making. Digital platforms of engagement tend to offer shortened or abbreviated content, which is meant to make engagement efforts more concise and easier to digest. In pharma, however, sacrificing content for a snappy message can backfire. While we know why HCPs attend big medical conferences, it’s appropriate to engage potential attendees with a preview of the content that will be available to them at the conference.

Starting a few weeks before the conference, encourage the physicians in your network to engage in more traditional ways—even if that ultimately means digital platforms are involved. Establish an ongoing dialogue, but present data in a fresh way each time. For example, you may engage your HCPs with interactive platforms, quizzes, slide decks, videos, or invitations to e-learning modules that can be customized to their preferences. Recorded digital interactions, quiz answers, and more can be leveraged to better understand what material is compelling to your audience and help you better target specific HCPs.

Continue HCP Engagement by Building Trust
Based on the pre-conference engagement strategies, you can easily expand your body of content and messaging for the conference. Continue to cultivate the interactions you’ve established prior to the conference, and make them even more targeted during the live event. Ultimately, you are not only building consistency by maintaining relationships with HCPs, but you are also building trust in your brand and company.

After a conference, continue to engage with HCPs by empowering them with credible and cutting-edge information. An effective engagement strategy is to involve HCPs in the sharing and creation of specialized content. Consider asking the physicians in your network to contribute an independent editorial, or invite them to be involved in an educational panel or online forum. The primary goal of pre- and post-event engagement strategies is to establish genuine relationships with a network of HCPs. Ultimately, this will advance your company’s reputation for innovation and trust, and promote the value of your product, resulting in a higher return on investment.