Make no mistake about it, technology has changed event planning in the healthcare and pharmaceutical space, and for the better.
The rapid shift towards virtual events is a sign of the times, with everything from health records to mobile health apps turning to digital technologies. It was only a matter of time before pharmaceutical events followed suit.
Many are turning to virtual pharmaceutical events for many reasons, the most obvious being in response to the pandemic. Physical events come with a level of risk, making virtual and hybrid event formats a must amongst various healthcare professionals to share innovations, health trends and more!
There are multiple applications for hybrid events, which is something we know all too well. At iVent, we specialise in virtual event platforms that benefit multiple sectors, including healthcare, making us the perfect guide to hybrid events and how they could be the future of pharmaceutical event planning.
The potential of hybrid events are off the charts, and there’s no better industry to act as a case study than this one.
Let’s begin with a quick hybrid events overview.
What Is A Hybrid Event?
Hybrid events bridge the gap between in-person events and virtual events in a very seamless way. The example we often use is this: a football match you watch on the television is a hybrid event as it takes place in another location only you’re still involved in some way or another.
It’s a broad description, we know, but there are just so many ways to approach hybrid events. It makes it kind of difficult to pin down only a few ideas or concepts.
We’re obviously going to provide some examples later, just know that these are but a few suggestions.
Basically, anything is possible with this type of event format, which is what makes it such a promising opportunity for healthcare professionals! Professionals who all have an exclusive list of wants and needs.
Why Go Hybrid For A Healthcare or Pharmaceutical Event?
Hybrid events allow event organisers to get the best of both worlds. By combining the virtual with the physical, event planning is made all the more easier from a cost and planning perspective.
Cost-wise, you’re saving money as you might not have to hire a large open space to run the event as you intend on having only a select number of people in the audience. Some might even choose to have a digital audience, shown on a screen in the background!
Just because your event is a hybrid one, doesn’t mean that you lose out on those interpersonal interactions. Delegates (those in attendance) will still be able to participate in these events via a Q&A section or polling, for example.
They can even view the profiles of other attendees, message them, and be actively involved in countless discussions.
These are but a few benefits of hybrid events when applied to healthcare and pharmaceutical event planning, should we look at some others?
Your Events Are Global
Having that virtual element means that any pharmaceutical event planning you do is always reaching the most number of people possible.
All your attendees need is a computer or phone with an active internet connection to join! It doesn’t matter where they currently reside, all that matters is that they’re interested in the topic of your event, and can access it.
This works for many health-related events as the audience for them often span the globe. This gives professionals a virtual entry point will only increase how many find their way to your events. And that’s a blanket statement that applies to most virtual event types!
On-Demand Is An Option
Adding an on-demand element will only add to your viewing figures — something our platform is more than capable of handling.
On-demand is simply that, it’s ‘on-demand’ allowing delegates to approach your events whenever they feel like it 24/7.
Giving delegates the option of watching your events at their own leisure is great for those living in a completely different timezone — or those who couldn’t catch the broadcast when it was live due to other commitments.
Of course, this also applies to hybrid events where training is the primary focus. The ability to access event footage at a later date, allows trainees to go back and rewatch certain sections for clarification (important for product training purposes where knowledge of said product is key).
Cheaper For Attendees/Speakers
We’ve touched on costs briefly above, but for now we want to highlight how much money your delegates and speakers might save by going with a hybrid event.
Healthcare conferences, webinars, and workshops are constant, but think of how many you can’t attend due to the geography of where you’re currently located. Not to mention, how much it might cost to travel from one country to the next to participate or be a spectator.
Hybrid events cut through this directly, allowing speakers and delegates to take part from the comfort of their office spaces at home — or from anywhere they think is comfortable, as long as there’s signal.
This has to be one of the main reasons why you would choose to run a pharma event this way.
By running the event on a digital platform, you open the door to professionals, stakeholders and any other interested parties. People who might not have been able to attend otherwise due to time or travel constraints.
Again, just because you’re online doesn’t mean that your delegates can’t engage with others in the same way. Q&A sections and polling are great ways of getting involved, the same applies to those that gamify their hybrid events in some way or another.
Another way to increase engagement in a hybrid setting is to offer your delegates resources that they’d typically be handed if they were at the event in-person.
And if they’d like to speak with you directly, they can. With the right platform, you can host private chats, set up interview rooms and so much more — all in the name of engagement!
Bringing your pharma events online shouldn’t be considered a downgrade. In fact it’s an opportunity to reach more people and get them engaging with you.
Pharmaceutical Event Planning Is Easier To Manage
The logistics of running a hybrid event is a lot simpler than you might think. A lot of the set up is virtually the same as that of any standard health-orientated event.
The only difference is, you’ll need the right event platform to run the event outright.
As experts in this particular field, we recognise the importance of event platforms that connect the relevant parties to your events. Platforms that we make by hand, in-line with all your pharmaceutical event planning requirements!
All we need is details on the event, from there we will discuss technical requirements with you to ensure that everything works seamlessly when you need it to. On the day of the event, the team will arrive on-site to help get you set up. We’ll also take care of filming and virtual integration, two very important areas.
That’s a quick rundown of how we work, but feel free to get in touch if you’d like to learn more about what we can do for you.
Now that we’ve explained ourselves, you should have a pretty good idea of how easy hybrid pharmaceutical events are to plan once you have a platform in place.
Pharmaceutical Event Planning: Types of Events
Saying pharmaceutical events is one thing, it’s another to recognise the various events that fall under the term. You see, pharmaceutical event planning isn’t as simple as it may seem.
You’ll know this if you’ve ever planned your own.
All range in size and intent — everything from small scale virtual workshops, to those large-scale conferences that champion networking and innovation above all else.
In this section we’ll be looking at these types of events in greater detail.
Healthcare and webinars have been intertwined for quite some time now, and with good reason. Webinars are optimised for smaller groups and events that share sensitive information.
When we talk webinars, this includes:
- Internal meetings
- Training sessions
Webinars are an interesting one.
While they do fall under the virtual event umbrella, they’re often limited to single stand-alone sessions.
They’re very traditional in a sense, whereas virtual events and hybrid events, generally, allow you to network in real-time and can run across several days (this is something you’ll come to learn as we cover more ways healthcare professionals can utilise hybrid events).
When we think of large scale events, we think of conferences — often grouped together with congresses and summits.
In terms of pharmaceutical event planning, organising a conference poses the most difficult challenge of them all from a size standpoint. Hundreds attend these types of events, thousands even.
It’s why many are turning to virtual and hybrid conferences, to counteract certain travel restrictions while maximising their ROI.
Hybrid pharmaceutical conferences would work nearly identical to those you’re familiar with. They’d include speakers covering a wide range of topics, from marketing strategies to clinical trials.
Since the event is a hybrid one, you do have the option of pre-recording certain footage and presenting it as if it were live. As-live footage works really well for large scale events where time is of the essence.
With everything revolving around a schedule, it’s important that sessions stick to the slots they’re given and don’t roll over into others. As-live footage is one of the ways you can ensure everything stays on track.
Pharmaceutical-orientated summits are slightly different to conferences in that they target key stakeholders from various companies. In other words, networking on a multi-country scale.
Delegates would exchange information to find solutions or simply to make connections. The fact that attendees come from all over the world only highlights the appeal of virtual and hybrid events, again, as delegates aren’t limited to one location.
Hybrid conferences also give pharmaceutical reps the opportunity to communicate with healthcare professionals directly to carry out round table discussions and answer any relevant questions.
Similar to webinars to some degree, podcasting in the pharmaceutical industry is a trend that we can’t help but mention. We say it’s similar to webinars in that it consists of a single session rather than a full scale event.
Many virtual and hybrid events these days have a podcast element at play. In fact, some actually record audio from the event and present that content in podcast form for delegates to consume that content in a completely different format.
Podcasts can be instructional or a direct source of information. We’ve seen some pharmaceutical events use podcasting to actively promote the event before it even begins! Are you ready to get started?
Get started on your events.
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Healthcare and Pharmaceutical Event Planning: Are Hybrid Events the Future?
So, are hybrid events the way forward?
You tell us, we’ve covered enough info above for you to form your own opinion. Besides, we’re biased, we’ve seen what hybrid events are capable of, more so in a pharmaceutical event planning setting.
Remember, a hybrid event could allow healthcare professionals to increase their reach tenfold, whilst maintaining the interactive nature of these events and maximising ROI.
That’s the appeal.
Hybrid events are often pitted against virtual events as the two have a lot in common, despite having a few differences. And while virtual events could also work in line with pharmaceutical event planning courtesy of our platform, we did try to keep this post hybrid focused to ensure that you get the best of both worlds.
If you’d like to learn more about what iVent can do for your next pharma event, feel free to get in touch with a member of our team.
Have an idea for your next event that we haven’t covered above? Tell us about it, we make a habit out of making the impossible possible.