AvantSpeakDigital in Pharma

On Web or On-Site?

When was the last time you talked to a bank teller? How many purchases have you made in the last month without going into a store? These days, it seems human-to-human interaction in many cases has become superfluous, if not an outright inconvenience. It’s easier to do things virtually and this is especially true of advisory boards.

No matter what phase in the life cycle a brand might be, bringing in physician experts is crucial to developing or maintaining a solid brand strategy—in fact, 95% of HCPs seek out colleagues for information for their practice, serving as their number one source of information. But how do we decide whether to host a virtual or live advisory board? There are many things to consider.

On the Web

Virtual seems like a no-brainer. After all, by hosting a virtual advisory board, we’re simply meeting HCPs where they already are. Consider this—among HCPs

  • 71% use online conferencing to access information
  • 92% use a desktop/laptop, 87% use a smartphone, and 71% use a tablet
  • 69% use online conferences to access information
  • 64% use online professional message boards, communities, social networks, or blogs to access information
  • 70% of HCPs who use online conferencing find it influential or very influential on clinical decision-making

Additionally, virtual advisory boards are cheaper (no venue, no F&B) and more convenient—HCPs don’t have to travel and take time away from their practice and you can schedule them at any time or reschedule them easily if necessary. However, live advisory boards still have their place.

In the Room

Although great for quick updates or consults, virtual advisory boards don’t quite cut it when it comes to forming new partnerships. For brands at the beginning of their life-cycle, holding live advisory boards is crucial. Face-to-face meetings present an opportunity for brands to network more effectively with new advisors. They tend to feel clearer, more easily facilitate brainstorming, and leave a greater impression than virtual meetings. Thus, live advisory boards are necessary when forming new relationships with advisors.

Looking Forward

Despite all the obvious advantages of live advisory boards, new technology is helping virtual meetings feel more like live ones. Take Pando, for example. This platform utilizes a full studio production crew and a live moderator to give the feel of a live meeting experience. Additionally, attendees can see each other in a stacked view (think Hollywood Squares or the opening credits of the Brady Bunch). Early feedback on this technology demonstrates its immense promise.

So, virtual or live? Virtual is more convenient and cost-effective, but less conducive to relationship building and therefore better suited to advisory boards where attendees are already familiar with one another and the brand. Live advisory boards, while less convenient, are the standard-bearer when it comes to forming relationships. However, new advances in technology might be able to close the virtual-live gap, allowing for the best of both worlds.

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