Regular events are one of the best ways to boost your pharmaceutical brand. Whether you’re hosting a training, conference, product launch, board meeting, peer dinner, or investigator meeting, high-quality pharmaceutical events can put your business on the map. Regardless of your pharma brand’s size, events can be a brilliant addition to your marketing mix, boosting awareness, engagement, and sales.
Pharma event management is no joke, though. From balancing a budget to finding the perfect venue and speakers, you’ve got to juggle a lot to put on an all-star event. Follow these ten tips to master pharma event management and boost your brand.
Set an Event Goal
Why are you planning this event? What is the purpose? This event should benefit your pharma brand. You need to see a return on the time, money, and resources you spent planning the event.
Goals like “Promote the launch of our new product” or “Connect with industry leaders” are a good place to start. But if you want to take things a step further, create goals with the SMART goal-setting framework. SMART goals ensure your goals are actionable and deliver value to the business.
For example, a generic goal like “Promote our product” could become a more measurable SMART goal with this framework: “This event will lead to one hundred press mentions by the end of Q1.” That will help you plan a cohesive event that matches your target goal.
Invest in Proper Project Management
Organization is the key to successful pharma event management. Once you know your goal, you must determine critical tasks and milestones for executing your event.
Decide on a date for the event and work backward from there. Set up a project management solution or spreadsheet to assign deadlines and tasks to your team. This way, you can delegate the work with the added accountability of due dates to stay on track.
Remember Ethical Guidelines
The pharmaceutical industry has to follow specific ethical guidelines. Healthcare providers can’t always accept gifts like meals or accommodations. Consider who you invite to this event and check which professional codes they follow. Ensure your event doesn’t conflict with any of these guidelines. The last thing you want to do is cause an awkward ethical quandary for your attendees.
Set and Follow a Budget
Your budget will affect everything from your venue to your programming and marketing. You want to plan a high-quality pharma event, but you can’t bust your budget, either. You need to generate a return on your investment, which means keeping a close eye on expenses.
Create a spreadsheet to track every expense for the event. Create categories in the spreadsheet for food, entertainment, the venue, A/V, and anything else you’ll need to buy for the event. Set a budget for each category and stick to it. If something you need exceeds your budget, see if you can bundle the cost with another service or reallocate money from a different category.
You’ll pay for some expenses upfront, like your venue, while you might pay for other expenses after the fact, like catering or alcohol. Don’t forget to factor in taxes and fees. When in doubt, add at least 10% to your total event budget to account for incidentals.
To maximize your budget, shop for at least three quotes for every line item. You can always try to negotiate with suppliers for discounts or freebies. The worst thing they can do is say no, so it can’t hurt to ask.
If an in-person event is still too expensive for your pharma event, opt for a virtual event instead. All you need is the right event technology platform. You don’t have to pay for a huge venue, food, or other high-ticket line items. Having a virtual component also helps attendees cut down on pricey airfare and helps busy pharma executives make the most of their full schedule, so it’s a win for everyone.
Create a Solid Agenda and Speaker List
What’s going to happen at your event? Even if it’s a small get-together, it’s best to have a schedule of events.
Give your attendees a clear agenda on your event booking page. Share information on times, locations, speakers, and topics.
Pharma events aim to position your brand as an industry leader. You want people to remember your event for years, meaning you must create a truly awe-inspiring experience.
For starters, try to feature industry leaders or experts at your event. They might cost more, but they can promote your event and draw a larger crowd. Try to get speakers as early as possible because subject matter experts’ calendars fill up quickly. If there’s someone you have in mind, reach out to them as soon as you have an event date.
With that said, make sure the speaker is a fit for this type of event, your audience, and your brand. For example, if a high-profile speaker specializes in microbiology but that has nothing to do with your product launch, choose a different speaker.
Include Networking Opportunities
Networking allows your attendees to connect with each other. Try to facilitate these connections by carving out time in your schedule for networking.
Create dedicated areas at your event for networking. You only need tables, couches, and a reasonably quiet space. If you want to keep the conversation going, cocktails and conversation cards are the way to go.
For virtual events, create unique networking rooms where people can sit at virtual tables for video or text-based chats with other attendees.
Promote Your Event
Where is your audience? Market your event where more pharma folks will see it. Use targeted pay-per-click ads, email marketing, social media, and influencer partnerships to get people talking.
If you have sponsors for this event, ask them to promote the event to their audience as part of the sponsorship deal.
Conduct an Event Post-mortem
Even if your event went off without a hitch, there’s a good chance you learned something while planning this pharma event. Meet with your marketing and event team to review the pharma event management process.
What went well? What can you change for next time? Are there any opportunities you can capitalize on?
You can also send post-event surveys to your attendees. Keep it short and sweet to increase response rates. You can always create a giveaway or a raffle to incentivize more responses.
Make It Fun
Pharma is a serious industry, but that doesn’t mean your event has to be all work and no play. You can integrate games, challenges, giveaways, and other fun activities to make your event both engaging and memorable.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money, either. Check out these fun, affordable, and creative breakout session ideas to keep your attendees entertained and engaged.
Add a Wow Factor
Pharma is an innovative industry, so every event needs a little sparkle. Even a small meeting can become an ample opportunity to promote your brand and create great experiences.
The correct wow factor depends on the nature of the event and who’s attending. Try these ideas to give your guests something to talk about:
- Balloon drop
- Champagne toast
- Limo rides
- Luxury accommodations
- Gourmet meals
- Cultural experiences and entertainment
Master Pharma Event Management With Endless
It’s crucial to plan pharma events to a tee. That’s the best way to get the most return on investment on your event marketing budget. Whether you want to boost approval for your newest drugs or train your team, these tips for proper pharma event management will help you reach your goals. Endless Events offers end-to-end event management for pharmaceutical companies. We worked with Life Sciences Trainers & Educators Network (LTEN) on their annual learning and development conference. See how Endless helped LTEN create an inspirational event without the huge price tag.