The medical meeting landscape continues to evolve – whether it’s the increasing use of technology to bring to life disease states and better engage attendees, on demand reporting via social media or decreasing onsite media attendance due to shrinking budgets. Therefore, how we communicate around these conferences must evolve too. Hot off of tour from summer/fall medical meetings, we’ve provided a round-up of the most interesting medical meeting trends we’ve seen in 2018:
- Blurring the lines of healthcare provider (HCP), patient and reporter. As media outlets are no longer sending as many reporters to cover medical meetings onsite, we’re seeing an increasing number of freelance reporters. Taking this one step further, at The American College of Rheumatology, we saw sponsored content from HCPs live reporting from the meeting on behalf of a trade media outlet. Additionally, patient advocates joined in to take the role of reporter – by setting up a desk to interview HCPs on their data presentations.
- Utilizing social media to reach broader audiences. We’re seeing companies move away from using their social media channels to drive attendance of their events or data presentations, but rather to bring medical meetings to audiences who aren’t able attend live. Whether it’s through unique data visualization to contextualize high science or video content with man-on-the street interviews and behind-the-scenes footage – we’re seeing more high quality content over quantity.
- Moving media from the press office to the exhibit floor: We like the approach of trade media outlet, Medscape, which set up a private, soundproof booth in the middle of the exhibit floor to simultaneously promote their outlet and materials and to conduct interviews with presenters on their data at the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO). We found the approach interesting as it takes Medscape reporters out of the press room and places them among pharmaceutical companies and the foot-traffic that comes with an exhibit hall. It also served as great promotion for the editorial and educational material Medscape publishes regularly, hopefully building their audience base. The ESMO exhibit hall also featured a booth handing out fresh-baked cookies – the smell of baking cookies succeeded in luring our on-the-ground team to the exhibit hall when they may have otherwise chosen to sit in the onsite coffee shop.
- Reinventing the traditional medical meeting booth: Pharmaceutical companies are leveraging dynamic content and experiential activation in their conference booths to drive engagement. Using immersive content can help deliver messaging and facilitate conversations in an authentic and meaningful way. It also drives foot traffic to the booth and provides an opportunity to encourage people to share their experiences on social media, helping to quantify booth participation and extend reach beyond the meeting.
- Offering mobile apps to provide on-the-go conference access: Some conferences offered applications designed for mobile devices, such as iPlanner and conference evaluations, to help members, non-members and those unable to attend the conference easy access to vital conference information. For us, having a suite of mobile applications enhanced and customized our medical meeting experience.