Planning a pharmaceutical event, workshop, investigator meeting or advisory board can be overwhelming, but once you have these key elements in place the process will be a much smoother journey to the end result.
#1 – Plan and Coordinate
The nature of pharmaceutical events is that sometimes the lead time can be short and you only have a few weeks to organise the event. The key factors in any event management role is to be highly organised and work to strict deadlines. These deadlines can include setting up registration websites, marketing, print and supplier deadlines. A timeline is a good document to work with, which covers all elements of the meeting, key dates and deadlines. It is a good idea to set-up regular in house team meetings and calls to go through each element of the meeting and its progress.
#2 – Speakers and Agenda
Firm up the Agenda even if it is a draft as this will determine the event schedule for each day. With Pharma events there’s a process that you have to follow in order to invite a speaker to a meeting. Every business is slightly different in the process, so it is good to get an understanding from the beginning before the process of invitation has started. It is good to identify the speakers, ask for biog and pictures from the speaker or medical content agency. Study the pictures and this will help with your onsite speaker management to recognise your speakers as they arrive at the venue.
#3 – Thinking Ahead
Don’t think of just the here and now, to run a great event you need to always be thinking ahead, be ahead of the game. Think about all the possibilities and scenarios for each element of the event. In your kick-off call ask all the questions you can think of surrounding the event and all the eventualities. This avoids lots of questions throughout the planning, as most people are very busy and they just want to be able to rely on you and get on with their job. This also applies to your suppliers to avoid lots of emails, try and ask all the right questions in the outset and provide them with all the information they require.
#4 – Make Friends
In this industry you will work with many different suppliers and contractors all over the world and it is very important that you build a good relationship with them as they are in fact an extension of you. It is important that they deliver a high-quality service with a smile just as we do. So, make friends and build those relationships to deliver a smooth-running event.
#5 – Pester
Unfortunately, you do have to chase and pester your suppliers and even speakers for details in order to move forward on a project. If you don’t have all the information you require, do pester, chase and remind people of deadlines as this is the only way you can move forward, be the initiator, do not wait.
#6 – Negotiate
Everything is negotiable, always get around 3 quotes per supplier. Remember that with every event there will be unforeseen costs, so try to negotiate as low a price as you can. Determine your budget before meeting a vendor and offer to pay 5-10% lower than this figure. Your vendor may put up a fight, but ultimately, they want to win your business if they can.
#7 – Pharma Code
The Pharma code of conduct and iHCP’s guidelines can restrict a Pharmaceutical event. It is important that you research and abide to these guidelines. If you have HCP’s attending from different countries they will have limits on meals, dinners, transport, accommodation etc. This cost can vary, this can also depend on which country the event is being held. It is important that you get a list of which countries are attending the event in the outset or as soon as possible so you can set the costs per attendee for your budget.
#8 – Venues
Due to the compliance you are restricted to cost and venue types. Meeting environments can be limiting – try and think out of the box for the meeting and dinner venue. Attendees are cooped up a lot of the time in meetings so food is very important and some fresh air. If you are limited to being at a hotel for the duration of the meeting due to time restrictions and location, be creative with the coffee breaks, lunches and food. If you have an off-site dinner, if compliant, again be creative with venue, transportation and food. Tie it in with the branding or subject matter.
#9 – Location
If attendees and speakers are coming from all over the world, think about hotels and venues that are easy to reach by plane and train for the countries attending the meeting.
#10 – Delivering Your Event
You have been planning meticulously and now the big day has arrived. It’s essential you have a master event plan, running order and a team briefing for everyone involved – your team, all the suppliers, venue, caterers, security and any other relevant parties. Remember the complexity of many events mean that challenges may occur during the course of the event and this is when a strong, skilled and most importantly, a well briefed team really comes into its own. Ensure that all team members know the decision-making structure and what to do in an emergency.
If you need help arranging your pharmaceutical event, please give us a ring and book in a chat.