There are several surveys and various anecdotal data indicating a growing fatigue among HCPs participating in virtual meetings and congresses. At the same time, the almost immediate shift from physical conference to fully virtual congresses has been challenging for congress organizers and healthcare companies. To add to this, the measurement of ROI congress success is being revisited after decades of partial dormancy due to a hitherto almost universal buy-in to an intrinsic positive business case of aggressive congress investments.
First and foremost, it is often useful to remind ourselves that the Healthcare company and the attendees typically have very different agendas for the event – as depicted below. If the Healthcare company’s communication is centered around its own agenda, then HCPs are going to tune out and perceive your communication as part of the overall “digital communication bombardment.” And if your digital presence is oriented towards communicating to rather than interacting with the HCPs, this lack of feedback often leads to inefficient “auto communication”. Given the challenges of regulations, e.g. leveraging key online influencers or KOLs who already have a follower base can be a useful way to attain reach and lower friction in terms of amplifying dialogues on topics relevant to the agenda of the Healthcare company in case.
Gap between agendas of the participants and the healthcare company
2. From (social) post focus to a customer flow mindset
In a crowded communication space, you may increase your communication to try to outperform competition. However, providing the right piece of content at the right time for the right HCP applies for event communication as in any other communication. We need to move from a post or channel focus to a customer flow mindset tying together all our congress touchpoints in a cohesive and tailored sequence across channels.
Sample customer flow for promotional part of the event
However, a classic challenge is that separate teams are responsible for the non-promotional part and the commercial part of the congress presence and the different digital channels have distributed ownership and thus are often somewhat uncoordinated. This inevitably adds to audience fatigue. In other words, the Customer Experience is suffering at digital events, which was also uncovered in Vertic’s digital event study. At Vertic we typically draw up the entire digital ecosystem of the events and define customer flows both within the promotional and non-promotional parts and define the interconnections for a seamless Customer Experience.
3. Prioritize premium content precisely matching HCPs event goals
In a digital event, participants are typically particularly goal oriented as they multitask and navigate between the digital event activities and the tasks of their everyday professional and private lives. Accordingly, serendipitous behavior is less prevalent than in the physical event. Vertic has made innumerous games, Augmented Reality experiences, and eye-catching visual concepts to grab attention - especially targeted at the end of the day at a physical congress where HCPs are getting hangry. Unfortunately, it is a much harder and resource demanding job creating creatives that goal oriented HCPs happily stumble upon in a digital event compared to a physical event where people have spare time. That does not mean you should refrain from creating that interactive 3D booth, but rather that it should not distract you and your budget from creating relevant, world class content.
So does “fatigue” exists? Absolutely! Everyone is tired of the lack of face-to-face interactions and limitations to our whereabouts at work or leisure and that almost everything needs to take place online. And yes, some HCPs miss the days of 3 days of deep conversations and pampering at an exciting event location. However, when we analyze the results of the events with our clients and partners in 2020, the number of participants and engagement have both increased universally and significantly. We have based our digital events presence on the above principles and the very simple understanding that HCPs will engage with premium content on topics they have been looking for (need) and content which surprises them in terms of adding new angles to their existing understanding, study, and practice. Reach HCPs via customer flows and dialogue in the digital channels and your event presence performance does not need to be the victim of general digital fatigue prevalent across most parts of the globe.