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Choosing the right event type for your healthcare product: a guide

By Alistair Barton, Project Director at SWM Partners

From investigator meetings and advisory boards, to steering committees, meetings and congresses, there are a number of options to choose from when it comes to hosting an event within the pharmaceutical, medical and healthcare industries.

With each of these serving a different purpose, it’s important to select the event type carefully, keeping in mind your core objectives and unique nature of your audience – this includes not only their job titles and location, but also views on matters such as COVID-19 health and safety, and what it is that compels them to attend an event.

Advisory boards and steering committees: from feasibility to success

Seeking impartial, expert advice is important throughout the R&D phase, which is where medical advisory board meetings and steering committees come into play.

Advisory boards bring medical professionals together to discuss key health issues and identify where gaps lie in the market. They therefore allow pharmaceutical companies to determine whether there is a need for the product they are planning to develop, and gain insight into product ideation and improvement opportunities.

Steering committees similarly involve the experts, however here their role is primarily to ensure product developments and clinical trials remain on track.

While a pre-planned agenda is set at these events, creating environments that foster open conversation and collaboration are key. This means roundtable style formats, visually engaging collateral, and seamless technology for showcasing research, product concepts and developments are incredibly valuable.

Investigator meetings: essential to clinical trials 

If you’re working on a new product and running, or planning to launch, a clinical trial to prove its viability, an investigator meeting is a must.

It provides medical professionals with an opportunity to gain valuable information about the trial and product in a way that documentation cannot do alone. At the same time, it allows pharmaceutical companies to physically demonstrate the practical uses of the product, ensuring medical professionals are well versed when it comes time to prescribe and/or administer it.

Workshops are an effective engagement tool during investigator meetings, as are Q&As with trial participants, where they discuss how the product has impacted their symptoms and overall quality of life.

Meetings and workshops: the key to training and development 

Meetings and workshops allow companies to educate not only medical professionals about a clinical trial or new product that’s set to go to market, but employees across departments such as sales and research, and all other relevant stakeholders.

Hands-on training workshops, accompanied by informative educational materials are an effective way to support the uptake of valuable data. Providing attendees with these tools also ensures they are well equipped to perform their roles once the product enters the launch phase.

Congresses: opportunities for product showcases

There are many large-scale medical and healthcare congresses that take place across the globe either annually or multi-annually.

For maximum resonance, it is recommended that pharmaceutical companies showcase their clinical trial or new product at the events that reflect its application, the event’s subject matter, and those attending. The right information, shared with the most relevant audience, all in a setting that encourages networking among like minded individuals, can prove incredibly powerful from both an awareness and education point of view.

Three success practices that apply to all event types 

While they are all unique in their own right, there are a number of best practices that apply to each and every one of these event types.

Conduct audience research to personalise the experience

We’ve become accustomed to personalisation across all aspects of our lives, and events should be no different. Conducting a pre-event survey will provide valuable insight into attendees’ individual preferences, and allows for further personalisation during the event.

Create opportunities for interaction

Inviting audience members to contribute to the experience and connect with one another is essential to a healthcare event, regardless of whether it’s in-person, virtual or hybrid. These might include a Q&A during an investigator meeting or training workshop, the use of technologies such as virtual reality (VR) to allow attendees to view a product or condition up close, or facilitation of live patient interviews.

Consider a multi-tiered approach to content

Sharing product or trial information electronically before the event can generate intrigue and interest among your audience, and in turn encourage them to attend. Then during the event, aim for short, informative videos – animated content of this nature is especially effective from a demonstration perspective. Meanwhile, the sharing of collateral during the event can help to ensure key information is retained once it ends.

Interested in hosting a healthcare related event, yet not sure where to start? Get in touch with the SWM Partners team at: hello@swm-partners.com

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