Last week was the 5th annual Global Pharmaceutical and Medical Meetings Summit in Philadelphia. While I wasn’t able to attend all sessions, I did have a chance to sit in on several and learn from each.
Simplifying the Complex
I kicked off my time at the three-day event with an intensive, strategic meeting management (SMM) focused workshop, Simplifying the Complex World of Life Sciences Meeting and Events which is part of a three-part series on this topic. The workshop was hosted by Kristen Dierickx (VP, Client Solutions, BCD Meetings & Events) —who was unfortunately unable to attend, Abby Fogarty (Senior Strategic Account Analyst, Enterprise Professional Services, Cvent), and Melissa Nahama (Director of Business Development, BCD Meetings & Events). Among other topics and audience discussions, this session covered the following:
- Recognize the importance of continuously promoting the value of meetings and events to the executive management team
- Discuss considerations for including services, support, funding, tech/reporting and globalization for the future
- Provide you with actionable take-away tools to move your meetings program forward immediately
One notable portion of the workshop was when Nahama and Fogarty likened a SMM program to a “house,” with compliance as the foundation; strategy, service delivery, change management, and evolution as the pillars; and technology and analytics as the roof. After diving into the first few pillars, Nahama made the point that event technology should not be part of the SMM plan just for sake of having it, but should serve the the overall strategy.
The audience in this session had the opportunity to participate with several Q&A’s focused on buyer and supplier needs. Several participants spoke about SMM success, stating that it begins with truly understanding the client’s goal for any given meeting. “Starting at the end” is something that seems to be a required tactic for any meeting department or organization in meeting the expectations of their customers.
Global Clinical Meeting Best Practices
I hopped over to the Establishing Best Practices in Running Global Clinical Meetings workshop with Becky Cavanaugh (Associate Director, Global Clinical Education and Strategic Programs, INC Research), Emily Cook (Senior Clinical Trial Manager, Trevena, Inc.), and Mozelle Goodwin (Meeting Planner, Global Clinical Meeting Planning, Corporate Operations, Eisai Inc.).
After some a general overview of what clinical trials look like from Goodwin, Cook challenged the idea that investigator meetings are just for training. She suggested that, rather than aiming solely to train, meeting planners should shoot for active engagement from the study leads. “We want [study leads] to be excited about the work they are doing,” said Cook.
As with all industries, our Pharma folks are faced with the pressure to go virtual. Goodwin discussed the importance of interactivity during hybrid meetings using event technology that has features to ensure all participants are attending a session and are engaged. She sited ongoing, required polling as one method to gauge retention and attentiveness of participants. For all meetings, though Goodwin stressed the importance of developing strategic partnerships and relationships with all parties involved in the investigator meeting.
We closed the day with remarks from Educational Measures (EM)’s own, John Santaferraro (Chief Analytics Officer, EM) who predicted that the hot topics of the event would be meeting technology, data, and analytics.
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