Every year pharmaceutical manufacturers spend billions of dollars on marketing their products, so understanding healthcare professional (HCP) customers is essential to ensure their customer engagement is timely, meaningful and effective .
Congress meetings are key events in the year when HCPs come together from all over the world to learn about the latest trials, evaluate the latest data and network with their peers. As well as healthcare experts and health organisations, leading pharmaceutical companies also come seeking to showcase their developments and engage customers.
To maximise the opportunity presented at these gatherings we have previously highlighted 5 steps to make the most out of congress meetings and seen how social media can improve doctors’ congress experience.
Each congress meeting, however, also allows for learning to support marketing planning and strategies for the entire year. As a case study to show what can be learned, we used CREATION Pinpoint® to analyse the social media conversations of HCPs at AHA19*, the 2019 American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions in Philadelphia, between 16 – 18 December 2019. I identified 8 learnings from how HCPs engaged at the congress meeting.
8 lessons from tracking HCP engagement at pharma congress meetings
When you track the engagement of HCPs at congress meetings you can:
- Understand their views and interests.
- Monitor and learn from their digital behaviours.
- Identify their information needs and concerns about prescribing new products.
- Learn the language and messaging they are using.
- Gain competitive intelligence.
- Recognise strategic digital partnerships.
- Identify Digital Opinion Leaders.
- Establish resources that will add value beyond the meeting.
1. Understand their views and interests.
Understand what topics and presentations HCPs were most engaged with and how they reacted to new treatments. Know what HCPs perceived to be current gaps in treatment to create content and resources that really matter to them. At AHA 2019 ISCHEMIA, COLCOT and DAPA-HF were the most mentioned trials.
2. Monitor and learn from their digital behaviours.
Monitor HCP engagement and digital behaviours throughout the event to determine the best time to share online resources or release announcements. At AHA 2019, HCPs shared event announcements before the sessions started, expressed their interest in particular events, invited their colleagues to attend and took pictures of the auditorium expressing anticipation. During the sessions, HCPs shared online resources reflecting the session topic and took pictures of the slides. After the events, they discussed the impact of the trial outcomes, shared conclusions and summaries.
Identifying what content forms are gaining HCP traction will help develop a diverse yet focused content stream that can engage HCP customers outside the four walls of the congress exhibition hall. Easily shareable visuals, podcasts, Twitter polls and interviews like the one posted by Novartis were shared by HCPs at AHA 2019. Don’t forget that HCPs also like to laugh and have fun – they seemed to enjoy this ISCHEMIA bingo and a puppy snuggle zone created by Amgen.
3. Identify their information needs and concerns about prescribing new products.
Understand HCP information needs and concerns, including around prescribing new products based on the impact of trial data. What questions are HCPs asking one another? Do they anticipate changing, or have they changed, their practice in response to the data? At AHA 2019, HCPs responded to a Twitter poll about prescribing dapagliflozin to non-diabetic patients based on new data. Even though the majority of HCPs said they are prescribing it, some admitted they are waiting for the FDA indication or that new guidelines are needed.
4. Learn the language and messaging they are using.
Learn from the language, lexicon and hashtags that HCPs used to discuss and group certain topics. This will help your content better resonate with the HCP community and individuals and be heard in the midst of the social media noise. Cardiologists at AHA 2019 used the hashtag #CardioTwitter to connect with one another throughout the event and share updates and resources. It was evident that #CardioTwitter was more than just a hashtag, but rather a community. In a similar way, cardio-oncologists connected through the hashtags #CardioOnc, #CardioOncology and #AHACardioOnc.
5. Gain competitive intelligence.
Congress is a great time to gather competitive intelligence. How are HCPs responding to competitor data and announcements? Through this you can understand HCP expectations towards the new products disrupting your market and identify successful competitor HCP engagement tactics to replicate yourself throughout the year.
At AHA 2019 HCPs mentioned DAPA-HF trial 573 times often relating to positive trial outcomes and how this may change practice. Based on DAPA-HF trial results, UK cardiologist Mamas Mamas suggested that dapagliflozin should be standard of care.
6. Recognise strategic digital partnerships.
Identify both the most digitally active and the most engaged with information sources, such as research journals, congress organisations or patient advocacy groups. Working with these sources could amplify the content that you are planning to release throughout the year or at future congress meetings. For example, consider releasing trial results through a highly engaged with research journal at or around the time your results are being presented during the congress, or from the congress’ own online account. During AHA 2019 NEJM posts of released COLCOT and ISCHEMIA trial results received great interest from HCPs who either shared the original NEJM post or when posting their views linked to the NEJM paper.
7. Identify Digital Opinion Leaders.
When considering the role of partners, look beyond the KOL list. Identifying and profiling the most influential and engaged HCPs online, Digital Opinion Leaders (DOLs), can give you insight into how HCPs are actively influencing the conversation within a therapy area and how you can build meaningful relationships with them to enrich your partnership. US Cardiologist Martha Gulati posted 97 times, was reposted by HCPs 428 times and was mentioned 1,268 times by HCPs during the congress. Not far behind was a UK cardiologist Mamas Mamas. He posted 85 times, was retweeted by HCPs 257 times and mentioned by HCPs 1,191 times.
8. Establish resources that will add value beyond the meeting.
The latest corporate accomplishments tend to get less engagement from HCPs on social media. Understanding HCP needs and digital behaviours will allow you to not only offer an enriched congress experience for HCPs but add value beyond the meeting. During the AHA we saw HCPs actively sharing summaries of trials presented, a resource put together by AHA Meetings. HCPs also engaged with Boehringer Ingelheim’s educational post on the differentiation between randomized controlled trials and RWE. Both were an example of a resource that can be used and referred to by HCPs throughout the year.
This is just a glimpse of insights you can gain from direct customer intelligence. Analysing and tracking important congress events can help you gain HCPs insights to improve your marketing strategy. Get in touch to discuss how we can support you by tracking online HCP conversations at upcoming congress meetings.
- Data for this research was analysed using CREATION Pinpoint® from the online Twitter conversations of HCPs in English language (other languages are available), between Dec 16th – Dec 18th 2019.
- *CREATION acts independently as a provider of HCP insights and this analysis of HCP online AHA 2019 conversation does not imply any endorsement or relationship with AHA.