by Shelley Huez March 30th, 2023
When we hit milestones in life, they’re often accompanied by major celebrations. Take graduation for example. We like to gather those who helped us get there and take some time to appreciate both the efforts put in and the potential for the future. Pharmaceutical product launch events are similar. But the complexities that accompany pharma events can be daunting. How do you handle the complexities of compliance along with the desire to celebrate?
What Is a Pharmaceutical Launch Event?
Much like any product launch, a pharmaceutical launch event precedes the introduction of a new medication, technology, or device to the market. After what is often years of research, development, and clinical research, a pharmaceutical launch is a major event, a celebration, and an opportunity to recognize all of the hard work it takes to develop the product and move to market.
And yet, the launch is also the start of a new journey for the pharmaceutical product. So, while the event is a celebration, it’s also an educational and motivational opportunity. Launches need to celebrate a big win, but they also need to engage and excite the sales team. They need to include sessions that present pharmaceutical data and research in a digestible way that the sales team will be able to pass along to potential customers.
How Is a Pharmaceutical Launch Different from Other Pharmaceutical Events?
There are many different types of pharmaceutical meetings, and no two are exactly alike. However, up until the product launch, most of the meetings are focused on research and don’t yet include sales. Instead, they include the researchers as well as healthcare providers (HCPs) who are assisting with the clinical research. So one of the first ways a pharmaceutical launch differs is the audience, and that audience changes the tone of the event considerably.
While HCPs may be in attendance at a product launch, the event focuses far more on sales, marketing, and leadership. It is an opportunity to engage these individuals in the process and to educate them about a product that they may know little or nothing about. For that reason, launches likely feature a more festive tone, including entertainment and keynote speakers, as well as the potential for off-site activities and excursions. They may also be destination events, allowing the team time to escape the office and focus solely on the new product.
Because this is the first introduction of a new pharmaceutical to a larger audience, a product launch must be well executed. It sets the stage and lays the foundation for success moving forward. You want your sales team to leave the event feeling excited and motivated, and that means meticulous event planning with a team who has pharmaceutical experience.
Top Tips for a Pharmaceutical Product Launch Event
One of the biggest challenges for pharmaceutical launches is finding the balance between compliance and celebration. Because there may be HCPs in attendance, your event must still be mindful of the regulatory requirements regarding the Open Payments Program, and juggling HCPs during a largely celebratory event can be a challenge. But following the tips below can help you navigate your next pharmaceutical launch to ensure all of your attendees enjoy their time.
1. Work with an event planner who has pharmaceutical experience
While some event planning companies may have significant experience in planning and executing corporate events, that doesn’t mean they’re prepared to handle the challenges of HCPs and pharmaceutical events. You need a planner who can help you strategize and deliver the kind of event that communicates the selling points of your new product while generating enough buzz that your guests are excited to attend.
2. Stay focused on your goal
It’s easy to lose sight of an event’s goal, especially when a goal is multi-faceted. The goal of a pharmaceutical launch event is both to celebrate hard work and prepare for success. But that requires some balance, otherwise either the achievements or the mission ahead can get lost. During the planning process, both of these goals should take center stage, and everything from location and venue to theme and speakers should reflect both of those goals.
Too much focus on the celebration means you risk your sales and marketing team losing focus on how to move forward. Too much focus on educating and training means your team may leave frustrated and overwhelmed rather than energized. Balance is key.
3. Don’t lose sight of compliance
As mentioned above, you may have HCPs in attendance, and losing sight of compliance is dangerous. Not only do you need to keep meticulous records, but those records need to be available for years to come. During the planning stage, this means choosing venues and vendors who can help you with this very important aspect of the event.
4. Leverage communication and your marketing team
Other than national sales meetings (NSMs), this is likely one of the biggest (and among the most important) events your company will host. That means you want to ensure that you have everyone who is important to the product’s success in attendance. Using your marketing team, event apps, and more to help communicate what’s planned to build excitement is essential. The more attendees you have, the greater the buy-in, and that means more motivated people leaving your event to help your product succeed!
5. Utilize technology to include people
Over the past few years, hybrid events – those that feature an online attendance option – grew in popularity and established themselves as a valuable part of the event landscape. When it comes to your pharmaceutical product launch, being able to keep your employees and partners invested in the process is important. Providing opportunities to participate regardless of geography can expand your reach and potentially the reach of your product.
You want your new pharma product to be successful, and your launch can set the tone for that success. That’s why you want to choose the right event planning partner. Bishop-McCann has decades of experience in the pharma space and is ready to help you. As a pharmaceutical company, we know you do your research. Take a look at some of our pharma case studies, and reach out to our team today, so we can start planning!