Last week I had the privilege of attending IIRUSA’s ePharma Summit in Philadelphia. If you missed my live-blogging posts, they are here: Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday. (UPDATE – here is a summary post of pharma/social media issues, written for the MarketingProfs Daily Fix blog).
Here are some overall impressions of the event:
1. Organization of the event was excellent. Social media was used pre-event and during it to communicate and community-build. Planning and execution were smooth, things ran on time, and the inevitable little mid-course corrections were handled well. Each evening had a social mixer. There were plenty of opportunities to network. The organizers listened carefully to the Twitter back-channel talk about the need for more power outlets, and more afternoon coffee, and showed a readiness to learn and adapt.
2. The material in Day 1 (pre-event workshops) was a bit basic for my taste. And, there was an over-reliance on panel discussions during the conference. Needed a few more provocative and/or practical speakers showing case studies of what works, why, and how.
3. A couple presentations were off-base from the emphasis on eMarketing. Everyone who was there knows what I’m talking about.
4. As with all of these conferences over the years, there’s a lot of angst and risk-aversion regarding legal/regulatory issues. But that’s life in pharma-world. Baby steps are being taken. A growing number of people inside and just on the periphery of pharma companies “get it” and are pushing change.
5. The exhibits didn’t have anything too remarkable. But the massage booth sponsored by IMC2 was a very nice idea!
6. Attendance appeared to be about 250 or so during the two main conference days.
7. Josh Bernoff’s presentation was the best. The Wednesday afternoon overview of three award-winning marketing campaigns also was an audience favorite – there was some good stuff there.
8. For the panel in which I took part, regarding social media, I sought to underline the cultural aspects of social media communities, urging the marketers not to simply view these communication approaches as one more “tactic” aimed at a certain “demographic.” Hopefully, I didn’t come across too much as a Kool-Aid drinking idealist. I might have, though!
9. About 6-8 of us (including the conference organizers) were live-Twittering during the conference, interacting with a virtual global audience throughout. There was a LOT of back-channel interaction going on – it was a snapshot of how social media will increasingly be wrapped into events.
10. The venue – Hyatt at Penn’s Landing – was quite pleasant.
This event, like every conference I’ve been to, had some room for improvement, but it was well-executed overall, and the organizers were eager to hear how things can be better for next time. That bodes well for future events. The best conferences always end with an exhausted smile. By that measure, the ePharma Summit was a success.
PLUS – here is a collection of recent links on the topic of pharma eMarketing – enjoy!