This question might seem bizarre, but instead it stems from a sharp reflection of a McKinsey global...
Slippers and dressing gown: the outfit for medical congresses
The traditional congress moves from jacket and tie to slippers and dressing gown. Among the speeches heard at Eyeforpharma Barcelona 2015, Len Sternes' seemed to me one of the most interesting and educated, as it focused on the topicality of the relationship with the doctor. According to data quoted by Len, stand sales at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) - one of the most important and well-attended medical congresses in Europe - have dropped by 30 per cent since 2009.
The ESC case, however - as Len brilliantly points out - is even more interesting if one considers the number and type of visitors: 25,000 physical visitors and 25,000 virtual visitors, the latter having increased by 30% over the previous year. The increase in virtual visitors is something that is common to the most established international congresses. The transformation of traditional congresses into virtual congresses, to be complete, will require time and resources that are already available to leading organisations. This challenge, on the one hand, allows for greater financial sustainability and more visibility and impact for the same cost; but on the other hand, it also allows many physicians to participate in congresses, actively, while they are at home, comfortable, in their dressing gowns. And while companies are still in the phase of understanding the multichannel model and try to make their pharmaceutical representatives in Italy more effective by investing - at most - 20% of their budgets in digital, doctors are increasingly informing themselves on the internet, up to 90% according to the latest international research by Manhattan Research.
Doctors, Congresses and Pharma
While the doctor wants to receive information 365 days a year, the information he or she has suffered so far has been push, interrupted. While the doctor wants to be able to decide what to read and what to investigate, companies have always wanted to promote one-way communication. And so, while doctors have started to attend congresses virtually, pharmaceutical companies have withdrawn from sponsoring them, as congresses are too expensive, ineffective, not very measurable and above all no longer adapted to internal regulations. Today, the possibility of communicating with the doctor during congresses has grown, but the industries have not yet realised this. It is now possible to invite a doctor to attend a congress without transfer costs and with all convenience. Len Sternes, once again, offers us confirmation of how, only by interpreting the present, is it possible to match one's expenses and budget to the real needs of doctors. Today, even by promoting congresses and virtual participation in them, one can meet the network's need for networking and the physician's need for cultural transfer. If you don't want to look to the future, at least ride the present,' Len concludes, 'digital native doctors expect new communication models. And these - as Pharmaguy also noted - already exist, you just have to seize them.
Italian doctors and DottNet
Although I do not like to quote myself, we have already discussed this topic, some time ago, in the article Zero congresses or non-promotional marketing? and it is a certainty that comes from practice. Today on DottNet we have dwell times of over 7 minutes, excluding training, and a doctor's visit on DottNet actually lasts longer than a face-to-face visit. If need be, the latest well-founded confirmation comes from DottNet itself: one third of visits to the site take place between 8pm and 8am the following morning. I will try to tell Len: already today the Italian doctor updates on DottNet in his dressing gown.
Salvatore Ruggiero nasce a Napoli nel 1964, si definisce un imprenditore seriale. Oggi a capo del gruppo Merqurio, di cui è stato anche fondatore. Sposato con Giuseppina, ha due figli e nel tempo libero, tra un'escursione e un'altra, tra un film ed un altro, è alla ricerca della ricetta dei biscotti perfetti.