Spring Has Sprung: Bouncing into Better Approaches to Virtual Meetings

Post By Bill Cooney


Spring is in the air, the grass is getting green, and it’s the season for an invigorating change of pace.

There’s no better time to look for new approaches to your programs, and of course a big part of that is exploring digital alternatives. If you’re like many people in the biopharma world, your focus is on technology that can lower costs without sacrificing quality. In this spirit, you should consider a transition to virtual meetings for HCPs, including advisory boards, training initiatives and speaker programs. After all, the technology keeps getting better, and the cost savings can run as high as 90%.

Chances are, your company has attempted the use of virtual meetings (VMs), and chances are equally good that your company’s experience with VMs has been mixed at best. The track record for VMs is replete with negative experiences, ranging from bumpy-and-boring, to outright disaster. For those who have been burnt by VMs gone bad, resistance to “ever trying that again” can be strong.

Then again, the value proposition of VMs is too good to ignore. Metrics such as cost savings, time savings and even carbon savings are outstanding, and VMs are a more convenient way to convene your high-value HCPs. And as video platforms such as Skype, YouTube and Instagram become more pervasive, the idea of meeting via live webcam video seems more mainstream.

Before you get going, let’s take a moment to consider why past experiences with VMs have been so poor. A lot of it has to do with context: VMs to your VIP customers are different from VMs within your company or in your personal life. That’s because the same level of glitches and hiccups that are OK with your friends and colleagues, are not OK in front of your customers. In fact, they can be very embarrassing. Busy medical professionals have no tolerance for delays or disorganized activities, and if you’re the host of a glitch-ridden VM, the experience can be excruciating.

Why have so many VMs suffered from glitches? The answer is, in a nutshell: Under-production. Too often, VM programs have been conducted on a self-service basis, where the host uses a VM technology platform that is reasonably user-friendly. Often, it’s the same platform used for internal VMs, or one that’s been vetted by the IT department or similar. The thinking is, “This solution works pretty well, and the price is right. Go ahead and use it!”

The problem is, every VM platform is inherently susceptible to performance issues, which can arise due to hardware, operating system, web browser, firewall, bandwidth and other sources. If you’re using VMs as a platform to engage customers, this is not amateur hour: you need to bring in the pros. Skilled advance production and in-event support are strictly required to manage multiple sources of event risk. Not only that, but professional production results in VMs that deliver a much more engaging user experience.

Another word to the wise: work with a dedicated VM vendor, one that “lives and breaths” the technology. A meeting planning or Medcomm vendor may offer virtual meeting services, but only a dedicated VM technology operator is likely to excel at managing event performance and reliability.

So in this season of renewal, have renewed faith in the potential of virtual meetings. At the same time, renew the way you conduct virtual meetings: No more do-it-yourself. No more generic agencies. For VMs, work with the pros!

It just so happens that MedPoint Digital is one of those professional VM producers. In fact, we’re the best in the business! Please contact us and we’ll show you how we’ve renewed and re-invigorated the virtual meeting experience.