Big pharma ready to sponsor live events, fuel event recovery

Recent survey by AIM Group International revealed a strong desire to return to in-person meetings.

Of the 200 pharmaceutical companies surveyed, 50% are ready to sponsor in-person events in Q3 2022.
Of the 200 pharmaceutical companies surveyed, 50% are ready to sponsor in-person events in Q3 2022. Photo Credit: Reed Exhibitions Japan Ltd

Big pharma is backing the return of face-to-face meetings, according to recent survey by AIM Group International, which revealed a keen interest to invest in live events.

The global meeting and event management organiser surveyed 200 representatives of pharmaceutical and biopharma companies from across all therapeutic areas.

Of these, half are ready to sponsor in-person events in Q3 2022. Just 16% exclude it as an option, while the remaining 37% opted to decide later.

For 2021, event budgets are mostly allocated to in-person or hybrid events (43%), while digital-only events are preferred by one in three companies (35%).

In that 43% mix — majority of votes still went to in-person participation (52%), or both in person and online (31%).

Just 17% of companies choose to attend fully virtual events and when it comes to sponsorship, pharmaceutical companies prefer short e-learning videos published before or after the event (60%), followed by television format scientific sessions with a professional moderator/presenter (50%), then Q&A sessions with key opinion leaders (48%) and also forms of gaming such as escape rooms and quizzes (38%).

“We clearly noticed a strong trend to return to in-person events, or at least to some sort of hybrid formats. In addition, we noted that enriching virtual aspects of meetings with new engagement tools was also considered important,” said Gaia Santoro, head of sponsorship unit.

Santoro noted that events in 2022 will "involve a move towards more sophisticated event features, which we are calling 'an augmented event".

"This combines some typical advantages of the online platform — such as access anywhere, any day and time and an expansion of the audience — combined with the strengths of in-persons events with an ability to involve delegates, transmit content more effectively and strengthen networking and relationships."

VP, Patrizia Semprebene Buongiorno, added that event planners and venues will need to think about "experimentation, innovation, flexibility" and adapting new formats to the specific needs of each target audience and client.

She added: "We are seeing several positive signs that suggest that, once the pandemic is over, events will emerge from the crisis stronger and even more effective [than before].”

For further analysis and to view the survey results, visit the AIM Group website.

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