Creating and building a virtual or hybrid event in a heavily regulated sector such as the pharmaceutical industry requires a certain expertise. Throughout your project, you'll be thinking about every step it takes to achieve your goals. This could be stressful, especially if it's your first time planning a virtuel or hybrid event, but we've got your covered. Follow this 7-step process to create a successful virtual or hybrid event in the highly-regulated pharmaceutical industry.
1. Define your event objectives
Which tool will you use? To recreate a physical meeting room, a video conferencing tool will do the work just fine but will not be sufficient to create an optimized virtual event. For a top-notch rendering, you will need a suitable tool such as an event management software.
What message do you want to communicate? Your message must be clear and well defined beforehand. Are you going to talk about new regulations? A product launch? An organizational change? A regulatory change? The standardization of regional practices?
Who are you addressing? It's important to tailor your speech and the flow of your event to the people you want to reach. The approach will be different depending on the target: health professionals, field teams, management, employees... And also according to the type of event: conventions, seminars, regional meetings, product launches, advisory board, congresses, symposium, team building ...
Who will be presenting? Are they trained to speak in front of an audience? Are they comfortable in front of a camera? Do you need to provide them with advice or do you need to rehearse the event under controlled conditions?
2. Secure your event
During your event, you will probably reveal confidential information that you would not like land in the wrong hands. You should therefore ensure the security level of the tool you are going to use for your virtual or hybrid event.
After several cases of spiteful intrusions into video conferencing software such as Zoom, the issue of data security has become top-of-mind for Event Managers.
Luckily, the Eventdrive platform is 100% secure. Firstly, a personal secure link is sent by email to each participant to access your event live stream. Secondly, no download is required. In addition to these advantages, your event's audio and video data are encrypted and hosted in Europe on French servers in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).
3. Communicate before your event
Before building your virtual or hybrid event, it is important to define the pre and post event communications, but also all important messages for the big day.
The common mistake is to think that, given the digital aspect of the event, everything happens immediately. Don't make this mistake! Just like with a physical event, communication beforehand is essential and should take place at least two weeks before.
- Event website
You will start by creating your event website, including all the information you want to share. This could include: a brief introduction, speaker bios, your event registration form, and your event agenda. By using Eventdrive, you will be able to create your event website directly within the platform, without a single line of code.
- Email invitations
An essential element: the Save The Date. To be able to pique your guest's interest and ensure they've written down your event date, you should not forget this email. It's the start of your entire event communication. This first approach will introduce your event and invite them to register or simply explore the website.
Regarding emails sent to speakers, you must provide them with a special "speaker" link to access your event. You can also provide them with your event agenda, including the parts where they will talk. As mentioned before, do not hesitate to send them additional resources so that they can be a rock star in front of the camera.
Your events can sometimes be international. It's necessary to take into consideration all the regional constraints. Therefore, you will need to send participants your event schedule in their time zone. When building your registration form, don't forget to activate the geolocalization feature!
- Email reminders
A single email is not always enough to convince your guests to register to your event and those who have registered can easily forget about it. Even if the event seems interesting at first glance, they can easily forget to sign up. To prevent this from happening, invitation reminders are ideal.
Attendees who have registered can also have forgetful minds. To keep your event top of mind, they need to receive regular email reminders that keep them hyped up for your event and reinforce the need to attend.
You should plan to send different types of email reminders:
- One week before: by highlighting a speaker and an important topic that will be discussed;
- One day before: by reminding them that the event is imminent and cannot be missed;
- One hour before: something unexpected can happen quickly, so to prevent them from going out to eat at the exact same time of your event, an hour reminder is definitely worth it!
- Five minutes before: asking them to go to your virtual event space so they are already waiting before the official start.
If you want to organize a successful event in the pharmaceutical industry, it is important to keep up with the latest news. Use the power of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) to convince your guests to attend your event. You can specify that what will be discussed at your event will not be available on demand. They'll have to attend if they don't want to miss out!
4. Adapt your session lengths
To ensure you're adapting to shorter attentions spans and to keep your participants awake, you will have to find the perfect length!
Never exceed 60 minutes for your plenary sessions, this is the golden rule. Seeking the attention of an audience, often very large, requires carefully managing speaking times and planning regular interactions. A break of at least 5 minutes and a maximum of 15 minutes is highly recommended after each hour.
Regarding workshops and breakout session, they should not exceed 18 to 20 minutes for maximum impact.
Mastering the length of your event will have a positive affect on its performance. Since pharmaceutical laboratories demonstrate exemplary precision, it is important to organize events that exceed expectations!
5. Organize your sessions
Facilitating the participants' journey is essential so that they can easily find their way around your event.
For example, after your main plenary session, where you introduce your speakers, topics to be discussed and the course of action of your event, you want your participants to proceed to the next session without a hitch. Here is a typical program that you could follow for a pharmaceutical event:
9:00-10:00 - Plenary
- Introduction of the speakers (5 min)
- Introduction of the topic by Mr. Pharmacist (15 min)
- Audience engagement: Q&A/Quiz/Word Cloud (5 min)
- Debate opening (30 min)
- Audience engagement: Q&A/Quiz/Word Cloud (5 min)
10:00-10:05 - Coffee Break
10:05 - Workshops
- Workshop 1: Led by Dr. Jekyll
- Workshop 2: Led by Mr. Hyde
- Workshop 3: Led by Prof. Dumbledor
10:30 - Plenary: round table on workshop findings
Going from one session to another can overwhelming, especially when there are a lot of them. In the pharmaceutical industry, events often involve presentations from many specialists in different fields. Which entails several interventions and multiple sessions. With an event management platform like Eventdrive, participants will be able to switch from one session to another with a single click thanks to the “Next session” button which appears right before their next session begins.
It is common to set up workshops after a plenary session to make your event more engaging and less monotonous. For example, in workshops you could present practical cases of real-life situations to share best practices or perhaps learn how to manage a product-related complaint. If your event welcomes a large number of participants, the advantage of an event management platform is that you're able to organize several sessions simultaneously. Eventdrive allows you to accommodate many participants without loss of performance.
6. Involve and engage your participants
The best way to create a memorable event experience for your participants and ensure they absorb important information is to involve them. For this, there's one word: interactivity.
During your plenary sessions, a dynamic speech flow is key to keeping your participants from dozing off. A presenter should interact with them every 2 to 3 minutes. As we said above, you need to make sure that your speakers are at east with presenting in front of a camera. If not, you can always prepare your speakers in advance.
To keep the interactions flowing, you can ask a simple question to the audience, have a discussion between speakers or use the interactive features your virtual and hybrid event platform offers.
There are ways to boost your interactivity. For example, you can launch word clouds to find out in real time what your participants think about a specific topic or question, or even launch a quiz to test what they have learned. After your workshops, you can organize a round table to allow speakers to answer all the questions collected in the live Question & Answer feature (which you can also use in your workshop sessions) during your final plenary session.
7. Gather feedback and analyze your event performance
You'll want to obtain feedback on the quality and overall appreciation of the virtual and hybrid event you've carefully and thoughtfully organized. This will help you improve your future events and of course increase your overall event-planning efficiency.
To do so, do not hesitate to send out, either at the end of the event or at the end of each session, a small survey to find out what your participants thought.
To study the performance specific to your event, you will need to assess your event's KPIs. Virtual and hybrid KPIs events are not yet inherit for event professionals, but we we've got you covered.
You now have all the steps to create virtual or hybrid pharmaceutical events that are both effective and without "side effects" 💊 😉 for your collaborators as well as other health professionals!