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Pharmaceutical sponsors ‘eager to invest’ in in-person meetings

Pharmaceutical and biopharma sponsors are eager to invest in face-to-face meetings as lust for online drops, according to a recent survey.

Congress organiser AIM Group International has released the results from the survey: Events in-person, hybrid or digital? Trends and perspectives from the Sponsors, which polled 200 representatives from pharmaceutical and biopharma companies.

The results revealed that half of the respondents are ready to sponsor in-person events next autumn and only 16 per cent exclude it as an option entirely.

As to be expected, 37 per cent said they would prefer to make the decision at a later date.

In contrast to online events held in 2020 and the beginning of 2021, 43 per cent of respondents indicated that the majority of event budgets for the remainder of this year will be for in-person or hybrid events.

For those remaining online for the foreseeable, it is clear that enhanced engagement tools were desirable for sponsors with 60 per cent indicating they would prefer short e-learning videos published before and after the event.

Meanwhile 38 per cent of respondents also flagged forms of gaming such as quizzes as an interesting way to engage delegates.

In addition, 76 per cent of sponsors said they would prefer to sponsor virtual events that were short, between 6-12 hours and 82 per cent said sponsoring scientific sessions that gave visibility to the brand would be preferable.

“From the analysis of the responses and from the dialogue that we carried out with company representatives, we clearly noticed a strong trend to favour the return to in-person events, or at least to some sort of hybrid formats. In addition, we noted that enriching virtual aspects of meetings with new engagement tools was also considered important,” AIM Group International head of sponsorship, Gaia Santoro said.

“With this in mind, we can predict that events next autumn will involve a move towards more sophisticated event features, which we are calling “an augmented event”.

When it came preference on attending a live event or remaining in the virtual audience of a hybrid event, the majority (52 per cent) would prefer to attend in-person, whereas only 17 per cent said they would attend online, given the choice.

“The pandemic will act as a game-changer for the events market, where the experimentation, innovation, flexibility and courage evident during the pandemic, is now paving the way for new formats to evolve, adapting them even more to the specific needs of each target and client,” AIM Group International VP, Patrizia Semprebene Buongiorno added.

“In short, we are seeing several positive signs that suggest that once the pandemic is over, that events will emerge from the crisis stronger and even more effective.”

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