Each year there are hundreds of medical conferences, hosted by media associations, which bring together thousands of physicians, researchers, and exhibitors from all over the globe to exchange ideas, theories, and new information relating to the specific medical specialties. Doctors wait all year for these meetings where they can learn from their peers and take the industry’s innovations back to their own practice. Not only do these annual meetings promote chatter within the medical industry bringing specific disease states to the top of mind, they serve as prime advertising opportunities for pharma companies looking to capture the attention of their key physician.
Regardless of the drug indication and HCP target audience, there is a medical meeting out there hosting thousands of doctors in one city, in one room. Advertising at medical conferences is a competitive way to get in front of your target audience to increase your brand’s exposure and provide education surrounding the drug. Increasing exposure of the brand at medical meetings will establish the drug as a key player in the marketplace, resulting in an increase in doctor recommendations therefore scripts. Conferences also allow pharma companies to educate the HCP community on the benefits and efficacy of a drug. Brands can take advantage of booths, product theaters and symposiums to further show case the drug, educate on the services of the parent pharma company and promote a drug franchise, if there is one, for the specific disease state. Even if a drug has not yet launched, pharma companies can use conferences to announce soon-to-be approved products and increase momentum surrounding soon-to-be therapies.
Not only do conferences offer media opportunities within the conference center, there are countless opportunities to advertise outside the four conference walls. Depending on the regulations and guidelines set forth by the hosting medical association, dominating airports, buses, billboards, hotels via elevator wraps and escalator clings and after-hour activities are all free game for advertisers. Increasing brand presence outside the conference venue allows for multiple touch points with the target. When an HCP gets off the plane, into a taxi, passes a billboard, and checks into their hotel they are surrounded by your brand before stepping foot into the convention center. If that isn’t enough, brands can leverage mobile to geo-fence the convention center. Obviously, there will be some waste as you cannot pinpoint a target a physician versus a resident within the preferred mile radius of the center or conference staff, mobile geo-fencing is a way to stick with the target once the conference is over.
However, some associations have stricter guidelines than others in an attempt to control revenue and ban advertising outside a set mile radius of the convention center. Penalties for doing so include an increase in the medical association fee or being banned from owning a booth at the next conference. How can a brand get creative at conferences with strict limitations? Get creative and amp up the design of the booth within the guidelines set by the medical association. Regardless of a medical association’s conference media regulations, there are multiple ways for pharma companies to take advantage of medical conference advertising to increase their brand’s exposure and educate the target audience in a unique setting.