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What are hybrid events?

Digital tools have been gaining more and more ground in the planning and development of face-to-face events, guaranteeing more interaction and a greater retention of information.

However, the need to break down physical boundaries and expand the scope of strategies, messages, and information, has driven different industries to think outside the box, reimagining the use of new technologies. In essence, we must have a variety of options available  when promoting a drug,  launching a new product or revealing a new study. By utilizing new technology, we increase viability when hosting conferences, forums, congresses, opinion panels, and other events.

Hybrid events are a global trend that highlight  the benefits of implementing novelties such as phygital experiences (Physical + Digital). These experiences have significantly impacted audiences by creating a more memorable experience, engaging viewers and educating them on specific drugs, their indications and usage.

What contributes to a successful hybrid event? Here is a closer look at hybrid events and how to leverage them to meet your goals.

What is meant by hybrid in the world of events?

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A hybrid event takes place physically and virtually simultaneously. It takes place in a physical space with  limited capacity -in most cases-but, with an audience that attends virtually. Both parties have a platform to interact with one another, engage in discussion, and access content immediately.

In the case of the virtual audience, it is important to emphasize that the experience is not limited to simply watching a presentation via streaming; it is necessary to have an online event platform that allows attendees to participate beyond asking questions- a platform that supports the inclusion of audiovisual resources.

Advantages of hybrid events

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Thanks to digital tools, events that were once held in person behind closed doors now expand their reach – becoming available to people all over the world who do not have to travel to attend live events. We’ve now disbarred the limitations of time and space.

Another advantage of this modality is the integration of gamification elements that generate interactive challenges and provide the satisfaction of achievements to the event attendees, either in person or virtually.

Also read: What is pharmaceutical marketing?

Gamification has made it possible to bring an element of entertainment and interaction to virtually every subject. Information is presented in a way that is both enjoyable and compelling. And while the goal remains to educate the audience, it is done in such a manner that makes learning entertaining.

The integration of digital and physical elements allows guests to be included in discussion panels and conferences. Through a hologram or holostreaming, it is possible for a speaker, anywhere in the world, to participate in an event. It is imperative that the quality of the transmission is available in real-time to ensure that attendees can interact with the speaker at any given time during the lecture.

Why are hybrid events trending in the pharmaceutical sector?

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After the COVID-19 pandemic and its variants, pharmaceutical research and development became more important than ever. Pharmaceutical companies have worked diligently to develop innovative treatments for COVID-19 while continuing to cure and treat other diseases.

Since the pandemic, there has been a paradigm shift in the interaction between patients and medical personnel as well as the way the medical community engages with one another. Therefore, it has become necessary to find an effective and efficient alternative that meets this demand. It’s imperative to adopt new communication channels with formats that facilitate the learning and training of medical advances and pharmaceutical innovations.

In response to this growing need to provide information and training, many alternatives have emerged. These approaches have been carried out through congresses, forums, conferences, and discussion panels and have marked a key impetus for hybrid events. These events facilitated the dissemination of information on scientific advances, new molecules, and innovative treatments, even amid the restrictions posed by self-care and biosecurity measures implanted globally.

The pharmaceutical industry, in recent years, has made strides in employing the strategic use of new technological tools to increase the propagation of its advances.

How to successfully conduct a hybrid event?

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As we have seen, there are several elements that we must consider for the success of a hybrid event for both face-to-face and virtual attendees. Implementing these strategies ensure that participants remain interested and engaged, feeling as if they are a valuable part of the event. Facilitators must stay committed to the virtual audience and provide an experience in line with in-person events.

You may also be interested in: Pharmaceutical marketing strategies

However, there are other aspects that we must not overlook in order to successfully implement this model. The first thing is to be sure to encourage a high level of engagement, turning traditional formats into dynamic and interactive spaces.

Leave behind long lectures with extensive objections and move to shorter, more impactful discussions, delivering information using audiovisual resources, augmented reality, virtual reality, games, questions and answers, surveys, and others, among other appealing elements that ensure greater participation.

Link hybrid events in pharmaceutical marketing strategy

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Healthcare professionals receive information from competing companies all the time. Only the brands and products that generate real engagement will make a lasting impression and stand out from the competition.

To achieve these results, prescribers must have a strong understanding of the drug’s benefits, scientific data, indications, and mechanism of action. Prescribers tend to write for drugs that they understand, feel comfortable with, and used previously. 

Knowing this during an initial visit with a prescriber can make the difference between creating a lasting impression and sense of urgency in writing  a product and falling by the wayside. We need to encourage ourselves to step away from traditional practices and challenge ourselves to add value to the prescriber by delivering helpful information in a way that will result in prescribers remembering and writing our drugs. By knowing our objectives before an initial visit and carefully crafting a message that meets the prescriber’s needs, we align our goals with the goals of the prescriber.

Related content: Benefits of Gamification

Hybrid events open doors by implementing tools that evoke the attendee’s interest and differentiate us from the competition. For example, physical experiences – which mix the digital world with the physical one – in hybrid events generate statistical data on the attendees, including their interests, their interactions, and the time they remain engaged with the tools. This allows us to know whether or not the attendees received the content if they recommended it and how they rated it.

These tools extend the possibility of implementing an interactive system where the user can be an active participant, whether they are physically or virtually in a location. This encourages greater engagement and ensures a cohesive message regardless of the channel being utilized.

Competitive advantages offered by igloolab for hybrid events

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In recent years, especially during the pandemic, we received information from prescribers who were underwhelmed by boring webinars and grew tired of connecting for hours via Zoom, Teams, or other platforms that limited interaction and reduced the opportunity to ask questions on the information that was being presented. At igloolab, we rose to the challenge to do something different- something innovative- and therefore worked tirelessly to create a host of solutions that would exonerate this obstacle, overcoming the restrictions of time, location, and physical distancing.

Our company has become strategic to the pharmaceutical industry. Thanks to our experience, we have managed to propose effective information channels and create spaces, formats, and content for brands to develop genuinely memorable experiences for their audiences.

As a result, we develop various platforms that adapt to our client’s objectives while working within the parameters that have been established.

Most used and reliable platforms

eCongress: For large-format events where our clients can find a commercial space, have an academic agenda and scientific material (micro-hub of contents) hosted on the platform for a specific time and available for subsequent access.

eWebinar: Designed for small events where it is unnecessary to have an agenda because the purpose is a single transmission.

Symposia: Recommended for medium events, with an academic agenda and commercial space (simple) that works as a content repository.

Match Zone / Med Talk / Who wants to be a millionaire: It is our choice for modern events, which generate more significant interactions between users through support/likes for speakers and an interactive forum for attendees. Each one has a different theme and physical assembly, but with the same ease of implementing the additional elements that the user requires.

Our ‘Match Zone’ model, which Cobre achieved in the Fepi 2021, is part of the new formats we created to educate after the pandemic. Through this model, our clients continue to manage the knowledge of their target audiences, respecting biosecurity measures without neglecting disruptive experiences.

With more than a decade of experience at igloolab, we are always looking for ways to make science simple. Therefore, we transform scientific and structured topics into dynamic, playful, and entertaining content which is easy to understand and sparks interest in continuous learning.

Luis Alfonso Ruíz                                                                                                 

Igloolab– CEO

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