7 Pharma Events Transformed by Engagement & Analytics

February 11, 2021 Array Team

Pharma Meetings Transformed by Engagement & Analytics - Man in white lab coat

In the pharmaceutical industry, the stakes are high. Time is money, and money is survival. Billions of dollars and decades of investment result in a handful of successful rollouts, and a disproportionate number of failed attempts.

With these hefty costs, company stakeholders are looking for new ways to maximize opportunities and minimize expenses.

As we work with pharmaceutical companies, we see industry leaders moving beyond traditional methods. From management culture to event processes, opportunities abound to implement technology and introduce better ways of doing business.

Everyone is looking for value, and we know how to provide it through event transformation.

The limited duration of drug patents demand that pharmaceutical companies increase productivity and get to market as quickly and effectively as possible.

A simple way to maximize value is by streamlining the series of live events that precede a drug’s approval. By capturing engagement and knowledge retention, we can now measure effectiveness and justify how content delivery provides lasting results.

Drug patents last 20 years after the invention of the drug. While this may seem generous, eight years can easily be consumed by development and education processes that happen before the drug reaches the public. To maximize the protection of this patent, pharmaceutical companies must increase productivity and get to market as quickly and effectively as possible.

A series of live events, from advisory boards to product launches, precede a drug’s approval. If engagement cannot be captured at these events, effectiveness cannot be measured. The critical deficiency during the drug development process has been the inability to justify and explain how content delivery provides lasting results. This frustration can be seen in reduced budgets for these in-person events, as well as more virtual events.

While the objectives of these preliminary events vary, they can universally benefit from live event technology.

1. Investigator Meetings

Individual sites must educate potential trial participants, and the information gathered in Array® content engagement technology can help them do this more effectively. It identifies how these sites might need to supplement their information or training by showing knowledge gaps between meeting engagement and information retained.

More productive investigator meetings are the first step toward more effective clinical trials and faster drug approval. With this increased efficiency, drugs can reach the market more quickly to maximize limited patent time.


Engagement technology can bring new excitement and energy to routine agendas. Many investigator meetings rely on old templates that become dull and lose functionality with age. With surveys and engagement opportunities, biotechnology companies can improve event impact, create personalized learning, and improve clinical trial success rates. Investigator meeting audiences are captive audiences, and their continuing interest hinges on active participation. Surveys, polling, and other engagement tools can help identify the right potential research topics, make changes in the clinical trial process and meetings, and ultimately, let participants know that they have been heard.


Once this new information has been gathered, analytics provide the necessary centrifuge for distilling value. When organizers understand their audience, they can meet needs specifically.

While offering targeted sessions may add costs to the event, the improved knowledge retention can quickly justify the expenses with long-lasting benefits. Decisions for future events can be based on value and actual insight, not hypothesis and cost alone. Analytics deliver the “why” behind the “what” happening at events. This understanding can inform strategic decisions with amplified impact.

2. Advisory Boards

Pharmaceutical advisory boards hinge on discussion and input from external expert advisors. Instead of delivering information, they are critical sources of data that require security and confidentiality. Additionally, Sunshine Act requirements demand accuracy and justification from planners, both areas where live event technology reporting tools and support provide significant value.


Because of the more intimate nature of these events, catalyzing engagement is easier. Often times, these experts are being paid for their opinions and ideas, so capturing information is critical. Using innovative education design, a simple PowerPoint presentation can be an opportunity to increasingly improve content for future events. Participants can make comments, give feedback on specific slides, and present ways that they would address an individual topic.


From these responses, event planners can create a booklet of ideas and an audio recording of the event. They can analyze the ways that participants rated slides and then build better versions for upcoming speaker trainings. Ultimately, this leads to more designed feedback and dictated engagement.

3. Speaker Training

This promotional aspect of drug marketing and sales depends on paid speakers who can represent the brand and the message effectively. As these individuals receive training, engagement technology ensures that the content is delivered in an intelligible way. By measuring and analyzing comprehension, we can provide better overall training and more effective speakers.


At speaker training, participants are in a controlled environment where speakers all receive the same message and can engage with it simultaneously. These events often happen in a series, so updating information is critical for crafting better, more effective trainings. Event organizers can see how participants engage with the information, what slides they saved, and what aspects generated response or interest. From this, they can alter the presentation for optimal engagement in the future.


After speaker training events, drug companies need to know with certainty that the speakers are competent and capable of delivering information. In the past, only retroactive evaluations provided this information—and this method had limitations. With engagement technology, we can now see what speakers know, how much they know, and how well they know it. We can easily identify who may need retraining and who is ready to begin selling effectively.

4. Product Theater

Drug companies often offer product demonstrations within the bigger context of an association meeting. With their desired audience already in attendance, they can promote their product and provide in-person education. These gatherings are the perfect place to implement technology to measure the impact of interactions and to create a link for follow-up contact and potential questions about the product.


Product theater offers direct access to customers. With engagement technology, we can capture the responses and reactions of a qualified group of potential customers.


By analyzing the results, we can see when audience members engage and identify themselves at the point of sale. We can see what they loved, what they saved, and whether or not they asked for follow-up information. These responses offer the best data available and provide optimal action items. From them, product teams can make changes and improvements, and sales teams can pursue likely sales.

5. Product Launch and Plan of Action (POA)

These gatherings are elaborate, lavish affairs that necessitate financial justification and residual benefits. Live event technology maximizes this investment by engaging the audience and measuring that engagement, transforming a passive audience of spectators into a valuable resource of ideas, opinions, and reactions.

After product launches, there are often updates or recurring issues that require additional training. POA meetings meet that need. Like many other training meetings, the salesforce gathers on a regional or national basis for a multi-day event to address feedback from the field.


Product launches are all about selling to the salespeople, generating excitement, and conveying information. In this context, feedback from advisory boards and speaker trainings can be implemented to teach salespeople what physicians want to hear in order to prescribe. During these events, engagement technology that capitalizes on “wow factor” aspects like interactive video and gaming opportunities can be implemented in smaller, breakout sessions. By using engagement technology at POA meetings, pharmaceutical companies can see how well they achieved specific training goals. They can use the technology to encourage participant questions and test knowledge of the plan of action.


During and after product launches, drug companies want to know that salespeople are trained effectively. By looking at questions asked and information testing at the event, they can identify any gaps in training or incomplete areas where they need to focus future attention. Analytics can reveal how well the material was retained and the overall effectiveness of the event.

6. Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Dinner Meetings

Another critical aspect in drug development is educating and explaining usage to local physicians. Unlike larger events, dinner meetings happen on a small scale in an intimate setting. Local sales people invite area physicians and a hired speaker addresses the group over the course of dinner. In the past, the effects of this presentation were relatively unknown, and the whole event hinged on wishful thinking. Engagement technology and analytics change that completely.


During dinner meetings, information capture is critical, but the setting is not conducive to full technology implementation. As a result, we developed a way for physicians to interact with and respond to the material on personal mobile devices. By simply logging in with an email address and event access code, physicians can answer survey and polling questions with ease. This can happen before, during, and after the presentation to capture a range of responses and test knowledge transfer.


Until today, there was no way to gather information from physicians in the dinner meeting setting. Now, the information is automatically gathered and arranged by location and can be analyzed a number of ways. It can be used to generate better marketing materials and examined to understand regional differences in response to the product. Ultimately, this new access to information empowers stakeholders and offers ways to improve event effectiveness, impact post-event behavior, and augment audience insight.

7. Continuing Medical Education (CME)

Post-approval, physicians and other medical professionals must receive continuing education with peer-reviewed, clinical-based information. CME gatherings offer an arena to deliver unbiased data on how a new drug compares to what is currently on the market. As with other events, we can now measure the outcomes of these gatherings through audience engagement and participant polling.


CME is shifting toward an audience-focused approach. Organizers understand that learning and information retention requires interaction with the material being presented. These gatherings are becoming active learning experiences where engagement technology plays a key role and even includes gamification and simulation centers. With audience polling, event data capture, and comparison surveys that link comprehension and post-CME performance, participants capture more benefits and have more fun.


By looking at information captured throughout the event, we can use the results of interactive technology to better understand the individual audience members. We can identify various learning styles and revise material to be relevant to their needs and interests. We can adjust content and pursue follow-up in a way that hits a sweet spot of long-term value, instead of just meeting short-term requirements. Analytics at CME gatherings are also immediate. Organizers no longer need to wait until weeks after an event to understand reaction. If the participants lose interest or react negatively, educators can immediately change course and pursue more effective methods or more interesting topics. They can then look at follow-up surveys and performance reviews to plan for better and better events in the future.

The Difference

The process of drug development can now be greatly improved through technology that wasn’t available in the past. By capturing valuable insights from audience members and consolidating that data into a single analytics platform, we can compare and contrast the overall performance of the team.

Second screen technology provides a useful link between the various phases a drug’s evolution, collecting and analyzing data from different events and easing compliance by providing consistency and continuity.

With a technology partner, pharmaceutical companies can harness the compounded benefits of an ongoing relationship and have all their data in one central repository. These capabilities ultimately catalyze the bigger goal of streamlining processes, maximizing event effectiveness, and bringing a new drug to market in the most efficient and productive way possible.

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